Photos of WWII WASP & WAF Pilots

WASP pilot Ruth Dailey climbs into a P-38

Resulting from a shortage of male pilots in World War II, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program was created in August 1943, made up of female civilian pilots serving under military command. These women pilots were used to fly planes within the US, to free up male combat pilots for overseas duty. They had the privileges of officers, but were never formally adopted into the Army Air Force (AAF) even though they had been led to believe this would happen. They remained civil service employees without injury or death benefits. Several attempts to militarize the WASPs failed. However, in November 1977, president Carter signed a bill granting WWII veterans' status for former WASPs.

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WASP pilots receive final instructions as they chart a cross-country course

Four members of the United States Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) receive final instructions as they chart a cross-country course on the flight line of U.S. airport.

WASP pilot takes a look around before sending her plane streaking down the runway

Harlingen Army Air Field, Texas--Elizabeth L. Gardner of Rockford, Illinois, WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilot) pilot, takes a look around before sending her plane streaking down the runway at the air base.

WASP Pilot Betty Bachman

WASP Pilot Betty Bachman.

WASP Pilot Ann Criswell

WASP Pilot Ann Criswell.

WASP Pilot Betty Jo Streff

WASP Pilot Betty Jo Streff.

WASP pilot receives Air Medal

Barbara Erickson became the first WASP to receive the Air Medal for Meritorious Achievement as a Pilot.

Instructor with two WASP trainees

Instructor with two WASP trainees.

WASP pilot Florence Shutsy

WASP pilot Florence Shutsy.

WASP pilot Anita Paul

WASP pilot Anita Paul.

WASP pilots ready to fly

WASP pilots ready to fly.

Jackie Cochran visits WASPs at Avenger Field

Jackie Cochran visits WASPs at Avenger Field.

Shirley Slade, WASP Trainee--Life Magazine Feature Story

Shirley Slade, WASP Trainee - Life Magazine Feature Story, 1943.

WASPs undergo ground school training on engines

WASP pilots undergo ground school training on engines.

More ground school training on engines

More ground school training on engines.

The altitude chamber at the WASP ground school

The altitude chamber at the WASP ground school.