Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager
hear General Yegar
The United States' entrance into the second World War gave
rise to many challenges and some far reaching changes in our labor forces. manpower
needs were at their highest in our history. The need for military pilots especially
This is Chuck Yeager speaking and I'd like to share with you a little known fact in
history. That need for pilots was answered by enactment of the Women Airforce
Service Pilots Program.
One thousand and seventy-four well trained and well qualified women pilots joined this war
effort, voluntarily, to release male pilots for combat duty. Public law then, and
still today, prevents women pilots from flying combat.
The WASP as they were known, flew more than sixty million miles in 78 different types of
military aircraft, ferrying them from the manufactuer to points of debarkation for
overseas and operational squadrons. They flew war weary aircraft to repair depots;
they instructed male pilots and flew military aircraft on navigational training flights.
The WASP performed routine testing of military aircraft; flew administrative
missions; towed targets for live gunnery practice and in total flew every type mission
They were based in more than a hundred different bases in the United States.
Jacqueline Cochran, a very good friend of mine and one of the world's most
accomplished pilots, male or female, was Director of the WASP.
Nancy Harkness Love, a pioneer in developing the use of women ferrying pilots was Staff
Executive, Ferrying Division of the air Transport Command.
This pioneering experimental program far exceeded what had been expected of it. In
the words of General Hap Arnold, Commander of the Army Air Forces during World War II, said the WASP proved that they could fly wing tip to wing tip with their
brothers in the sky at a time of critical need
in our country. They paved the way and became role models for women military pilots
Brig Gen USAF Ret
This audio was copied with
permission from the
"Historical W.W.II Medley of WASP Songs & Verse"