Honoring the original Fly Girls
Photo from NPR
We're not even two weeks into March and I'm proud to say that DC has two major accomplishments under its belt this month: same-sex marriages are now allowed and women pilots from WWII are finally getting the thanks they deserve. More specifically, the WASPs - or Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew military planes during WWII - will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.
During their service in the war, the WASPs were considered civilians, with no military status or benefits. Of the more than 1,000 women who volunteered for the training and duty, 38 WASPs died in service, though none were given military funerals, meaning their families were responsible for the expenses even to get the bodies back. These women were finally granted military status in 1977 under President Carter, but - almost three decades after their service - came close to being a by-gone of history.
Miss Fifinella, the WASPs official mascot (designed by Walt Disney!), appeared on their shoulder patches:
It's a really fascinating story of how the WASP program came to be and the background of some of these amazing women. You can read or listen to the full NPR story, as well as see photos of the WASPs, here.
My full congratulations go out to these daring women. I'm glad they're being acknowledged today.