1943 – The first trainees of what would become the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) arrived at Sweetwater Army Airfield (better known as Avenger Field).
Under the direction of famed aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran, experienced women pilots in civil-service status were trained to fly army planes to relieve men for World War II combat duty. In April 1943, Avenger Field became the “only all-female air base in history,” except for the male instructors and support crews.
Fourteen classes, totaling 1,074 pilots, earned their wings in every type of army plane before the WASPs were disbanded on December 20, 1944. The WASPs flew sixty million miles for the AAF and received high praises from their commanders; thirty-eight pilots died in service.
“No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.” Elmer Kelto