The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was a paramilitary aviation organization. In 1942, the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) were the pioneering organizations of civilian female pilots, employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The WFTD and WAFS were merged on August 5, 1943, to create the WASP organization. The female pilots of the WASP freed male pilots for combat service and duties. They flew over 60 million miles in every type of military aircraft.
Some 25,000 women applied to join the WASP, but only 1,830 were accepted and took the oath. Only 1,074 of them passed the training and joined. After training, the WASPs were stationed at 120 air bases across the U.S., assuming numerous flight-related missions, and relieving male pilots for combat duty. They flew sixty million miles of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. Thirty-eight WASP fliers lost their lives while serving during the war –- all in accidents—eleven in training and twenty-seven on active duty. Because they were not considered military under the existing guidelines, a fallen WASP was sent home at family expense without traditional military honors or note of heroism. The army would not even allow the U.S. flag to be placed on the coffin of the fallen WASP.
It was not until 1977 that the WASPs were granted veteran status, and their full recognition would not come until 2009 when they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Learn more about these brave heroes at http://waspmuseum.org.
Linda Maloney, one of the first women in U.S. history to join a combat military flying squadron, is a retired military aviator and officer and a recipient of numerous military awards, including the distinguished air medal for combat, awarded for flights flown over Southern Iraq in support of the no-fly zone during her deployment to the Arabian Gulf.
Ms. Maloney recently finished authoring the book Military Fly Moms ~ Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope, a biographical collection of the inspiring true stories and photographs of seventy women who shared the same two dreams—becoming aviators in the military, and being moms. Military Fly Moms was published by Tannenbaum Publishing on February 28, 2012.
Her affiliations include Girls with Wings (www.girlswithwings.com), Women Military Aviators (www.womenmilitaryaviators.org), Women in Aviation International (http://www.wai.org/), Academy Women Organization (www.academywomen.org), and Military Officers Association of America (http://www.moaa.org/), among others.
For more information, visit www.lindaheidmaloney.com
Veterans Moving Forward is committed to transforming the lives of physically and mentally challenged veterans, helping them assimilate into society and lead productive and fulfilling lives. Veterans Moving Forward has a unique plan to serve this deserving community – to provide “service” dogs to those who have served our country and who are now in need.
Over 750,000 veterans either currently need or could benefit dramatically from having an assistance/service dog to mitigate his/her disability, and this number will grow. Additionally, strong evidence points to a significant reduction in therapy time, effort and money when dogs are introduced into therapy during recovery and rehabilitation.
Training an assistance/service dog starting today means the dog will be ready for assignment in about two years. Veterans Moving Forward trains dogs to the highest possible level (to serve as either a service, facility, therapy or comfort dog) and then assigns it to a veteran based on the dog’s aptitude and training and on and the veteran’s degree of need at the time of placement or engagement.
Veterans who have partnered successfully with a service dog and recover to greater functionality will be offered an opportunity to work for VMF to serve other veterans in need.
Karen D. Jeffries, president and co-founder of the non-profit Veterans Moving Forward, Inc., is also a management consultant with more than 25 years experience working directly for senior leaders of the federal government and chief executives of commercial corporations in the Washington, DC area. Ms. Jeffries is a retired naval officer and owner of Jeffries Communications Group LLC, a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned, Small Business (SDVOSB) specializing in marketing, business development and communications
For information on how you can help, visit www.vetsfwd.org
Military Mom Talk Radio is co-hosted by Sandra Beck and Robin Boyd, hosted by Toginet Radio and powered by Motherhood Incorporated. Military Mom Talk Radio supports and helps bring information to the families, moms and wives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and is dedicated to serving our friends and family in the Armed Service. We are proud supporters and members of the Military Writers Society of America as well as proud supporters of Operation Gratitude, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS),Shining Service Worldwide, Fisher House and the Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America.