For Immediate Release
March 3, 2011
AFA Celebrates Women’s History Month
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association (AFA) today recognizes National Women’s History Month, a month set aside to highlight contributions of women to events in our history. The theme for March 2011 is, "Our History Is Our Strength." AFA is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month, using this time to reflect on significant moments in air power history made by women.
Established in 1929, the Ninety-Nines were an international organization for the advancement of women pilots. At this time in history, there were 117 women pilots in the US when 99 responded to this invitation to establish an organization. Amelia Earhart was elected the first president.
Women pilots began serving their country in 1942, when a shortage of combat pilots opened the door for women pilots. In September, 1942, Nancy Harkness Love recruited 28 civilian women pilots to fly ferrying missions for the Air Transport Command. The ATC then created a special squadron: Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron.
At the same time, in September, 1942, Jacqueline Cochran, with the approval of General Hap Arnold, the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, created a flying training program for women pilots comparable to the one being taken by the AAF cadets. By the end of the seven months of military training, 1,074 women pilots graduated, and flew every type military aircraft and every type mission any AAF pilot flew, except combat.
In August of 1943, under orders from Gen. Hap Arnold, the two groups were combined. The General named them ‘WASP’, Women Airforce Service Pilots. They flew over sixty million miles for their country. But on December 20, 1944, with the war winding down, the WASP were disbanded. AFA had the pleasure of honoring these extraordinary women during the 2010 Air & Space Conference with AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Countless extraordinary individuals help represent a proud heritage for women in the armed forces. We, at AFA, salute the many outstanding figures, as well as organizations, who have dedicated themselves to this country. We honor your service, we salute your dedication and we appreciate your sacrifices and perseverance.
The AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has over 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 120,000 members. Visit AFA www.AFA.org.
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