Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    In this August 1943 photo, Women Airforce Service Pilots -- better known as WASP -- check their map prior to flight in Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas. These first female U.S. Air Force pilots were honored today with the Congressional gold medal, the highest civilian honor next to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    The WASPs in Avenger Field celebrate their first year in service with a birthday cake. In a male dominated Army, some female Air Force pilots faced discrimination and social stigma. But they said all they wanted to do was fly and serve their country.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    Shilrey Slade, part of the Class of '43 in Harlingen AAF, Texas, trains for her flight. Sixty-six years after they served the country, the WASP were recognized today by Congress in an emotional ceremony. "On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who co-sponsored the legislation to grant the women the highest Congressional civilian award.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    Marylyn Myers Peyton is seen in this WASP "Class of '44" photograph. Peyton was among the 1,074 WASP who were awarded the Congressional gold medal today for their service to the United States. "I never thought it would happen," Peyton said of the recognition.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    Jacqueline Cochran, who is credited with developing the WASP and became the first American woman to enter Japan after World War II, and Brigadier General Stearley review female pilots of the Target-towing squadron, at Camp Davis AAF in North Carolina.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    The class of 1943 WASPs in Avenger Field -- Nancye Ruth Lowe Crout, Eileen Marjorie Roach Kesti, Mary Edith Engle, Isabel Madison Van Lom (Center), Virginia Malany Meloney, Virginia Hill Wood, Ruth Florey Underwood -- are seen here with their instructor. "You became trailblazers and true patriots," Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., told the nearly 300 WASPs who were present at today's ceremony on Capitol Hill.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    Viola Thompson, Mary Clifford and Lydia Lindner are shown in this photo at Camp Davis AAF in North Carolina. All three died years ago, but they were commemorated today for their work in World War II. These WASPs "remind us why we serve," Lt. Col. Nicole Malachowski, the first female pilot to fly with the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, said today.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    WASPs are shown here with the BT-15 Basic Trainer Vulte-Vibrator. The first female U.S. Air Force pilots flew all the planes men flew, but were not allowed to go into combat. Many say their trainers encouraged them, but men were not used to women being around the base.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    Mary Reineberg, Mary Retick, and an unknown classmate are seen in this photo from the WASP Class of 1944. The WASP program was launched in 1943 as the United States faced a shortage of male fighter pilots at the time when World War II was at its peak.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots Through the Years

    WASP Betty Jo Streff Reed poses with a Cessna 320. Reed flew this Cessna 320 from 1968-1970, and served with the WASPs during World War II. All combined, the 1,074 WASPs flew a total of 60 million miles and were stationed at 120 bases all over the world. Their duties involved everything from ferrying planes to training fighter pilots to chemical missions, but they were barred from taking part in actual combat.
    Photo Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
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