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women in the military
Women in
Military Service

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jean mallary WASP

In the photo on the left, WASP Jean Mallary prepares for her flight.

In the photo on the right, Margaret Hurlburt and Anne Bartholf, two members of a group of WASP receiving transition flying training at Dodge City Army Air Field, Kansas, examine the front wheel mechanism of a Marauder during a classroom session at the field’s technical training department. 

Margaret Hurlburg WASP
Jacqueline Cochrane
Jacqueline Cochran (left) was a famed pilot when she volunteered for war duty and by the time of her death in 1980, Cochran held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any other male or female pilot in aviation history.  Cochran established a successful cosmetics business in 1935 and flew around the country promoting sales.  After the war, she served as a mentor for a new generation of pilots while her business grew.

Hazel Ying Lee (right), born in Portland, Oregon, became a licensed pilot in 1932. After becoming a member of the WASP, she flew fighter aircraft to their destinations as they poured out of American factories.

Hazel wrote her sister: "Flying Pursuit [fighter aircraft] keeps me very busy; we are on a 7 day work week."

On Thanksgiving Day 1944, while piloting a P-63 Fighter, Hazel Ying Lee was killed in a mid-air collision. She was 32 years old.

Hazel Ying Lee

Members of the WASP logged more than 60 million miles delivering new planes, instructing male cadet pilots, training troops for antiaircraft gunnery, simulating bombing and strafing runs, testing new and repaired planes, breaking in new engines, delivering planes in need of repair to maintenance facilities, and transporting government officials. WASP pilots were permitted to wear uniforms, but they were civilian contract employees who had to pay for room and board at military facilities.

During the course of the war, women pilots flew over 70 different kinds of aircraft. In 1977, Congress passed legislation giving members of the WASP veteran status.

To the left is a poster, "WASP Victory," 1977 by David F. Strand


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 Photo Credits (L to R): #1: The National Archives #2: The Women's Memorial, #6: The National Archives,
#3: ... #4: Courtesy Alan H. Rosenberg, #5: U.S. Air Force

(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007