Three veterans of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) program were present during the Collings Foundation visit to Love Field - Dallas, April 6-11, 2006. WASP Marion Stegeman Hodgson (class 43-5), Betty Jo Streff Reed (class 44-7), and Jo Myers Wheelis (class 43-5) were present visiting with the public, and gave a presentation on women in aviation.
The WASP were formed in 1943. WASP were based at airfields around the country for various duties, including acting as test pilots and ferrying aircraft within the continental United States. Dallas Love Field was the base for the 5th Ferrying Wing, including the 601st Women's Army Service Pilots (WASP). Out of nearly 25,000 applicants, 1,830 women were accepted into WASP training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. (Of that 1,830, only 1,074 women finished the training and earned their wings. Thirty-eight WASP died in service to their country. Although deemed highly successful, the WASP program was disbanded in December of 1944. Since the WASP were never officially a part of the US military, there were no discharges or veteran's benefits. On November 3, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into legislation a bill that finally provided military veteran status for the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
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