The Forgotten Female Pilots of WWII
During World War II, it became apparent pilots were desperately needed to ferry supplies, troops, and planes. General Hap Arnold had opposed using women pilots, but quickly saw they would be needed. 1,108 women made it through the grueling training (WASPS). These women flew 60 million miles, ferrying troops and supplies, and 38 of them died in service. They also trained the male pilots on the varieties of planes. American women weren't allowed in combat, but the Soviet women were. They were so fierce that the Germans called them the Night Witches. After the war, the Department of Defense classified their work and so it remained hidden until 1977, when Senator Barry Goldwater fought in Congress to give them the recognition they deserved. These brave women hadn't even been allowed to received the perks of others in the military, like the GI Bill. Come hear about and give recognition to this remarkable group of women pilots in a talk led by Lorelei Kraft. She flew to the WASP reunion of the remaining living women pilots of World War II in 2012 in Sweetwater, TX where they had trained. She will share many of the personal stories of this courageous group of women, who were flying in an era where many women didn't even have drivers' licenses, and whose contributions are mostly left out of history books.