With a critical shortage of qualified aviators, WASPs ferried thousands of planes from factories to the coasts for eventual use in combat. They also towed training targets and worked as test pilots. Their role was to free up as many male pilots as possible for overseas duty. An attempt to make WASP part of the military was defeated in Congress in 1944, which meant the women did not qualify for veterans' benefits or honors. The unit was quietly disbanded at the end of the war.
Not until 1977 were WASPs officially recognized as veterans; last year they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Of the approximately 1,000 WASP pilots, about 300 are still living.
"They flew 60 million air miles in every type of aircraft the Army Air Force had -- from the fastest to the heaviest, they flew it and they proved that women could do it," said Schroeder, Minnesota AMVETS Department chaplain.
Schroeder has campaigned for memorial services for several of the 38 WASPs killed in the line of duty and contacted Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs officials to arrange Seip's service. At noon Thursday at Seip's grave at Forest Home Cemetery, an Air Force honor guard will unfold and fold an American flag to present to her brother. An American Legion post rifle detail will fire a salute. Taps will be played. And Margaret Seip will finally be recognized for her sacrifice.
The graveside memorial service for Margaret Seip, who died in a plane crash while training for the Women Airforce Service Pilots, will be held at noon Thursday at Forest Home Cemetery, 2405 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee.
-- Mar. 11--A group of women who fought to become America's first military pilots, and who were later barred from military and commercial cockpits, Wednesday received the highest civilian...
Aviation attraction celebrates Women's History Month by honoring Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) March 27-28.
-- Oct. 29--MURDOCK -- Sonia Lineback recalls her 1950s quest to become a pilot. "A project of my youth," she calls it. As "Amelia," the Hollywood film about Kansas aviatrix...