Today at 11am, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) will get their much deserved recognition when they receive the Congressional Gold Medal, 68 years after their honorable and noble service to this country during WWII.
Faced with a shortage of U.S. based pilots in 1942, the Air Force recruited 1100 civilian female pilots and had them fly military aircraft across the country, test newly developed aircraft (including the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan) and tow targets for ground and air target practice.
Despite serving their country for two years and losing 38 WASPs in the line of duty, the WASPs were not granted military status until 1977.
Yesterday, WASP survivors and family members gathered for a Remembrance Ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Memorial and a Salute Reception at the Women’s Memorial. Fewer than 300 WASPs are alive to receive the commendation and experience this truly historic event in U.S. women’s history.