Thanks to my brother and this CNN article, I was informed this morning that some well deserved women were being honored, finally, for their brave acts during World War II. Many of those women trained and graduated at Avenger Village in Sweetwater, TX…..my hometown.
Can you imagine civilian women learning to fly (with no military benefits mind you) to help aid the US so that the men could be moved upfront to combat in the war. More than 25,000 women applied for the program but less than 1900 were accepted and 38 ended up dying as pilots. They endured four months of military flight training, with just over 1000 earning their wings.
With the winding down of the war in 1944, the program closed. At the end of the WASP program there were 916 women pilots on duted air forces in the Continental United States, 11 to the Weather Wing, 9 to the technical commands, and one to the y with the AAF, with 620 assigned to the Training Command, 141 to the Air Transport Command, 133 to the number Troop Carrier Command.
The WASP records have been sealed and classified for 35 years which meant their contributions went unrecognized for way too long. I’m extremely proud of these women and am ecstatic to see them finally getting that recognition.
If you’re ever in Sweetwater, TX, you really must stop by and visit the WASP Museum and explore the many hidden gems of this small town. In fact, maybe I need to rediscover the amazing things that have played out over the years here in Sweetwater.