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The Bad Girls of World War II - The Women Airforce Service Pilots

World War II WASP’s (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Facing a severe shortage of pilots, 1100 women stepped up to serve during the war.

In 1942, the United States was faced with a severe shortage of pilots, and leaders gambled on an experimental program to help fill the void: Train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could be released for combat duty overseas.

The group of female pilots was called the Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASP for short.

A few more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, flew almost every type of military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 bombers — as part of the WASP program.

They ferried new planes long distances from factories to military bases and departure points across the country. They tested newly overhauled planes. And they towed targets to give ground and air gunners training shooting — with live ammunition.

They flew over 60 million miles; transported every type of military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still unknown as of 2019.

In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were granted veteran status and in 2009 President Obama awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal.

These women are the bad girls of World War II.

Source: NPR article which dives into the lives of four of these women.

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