Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Memorial Day/ I wish to honor a member of the WASP - Women Airforce Service Pilots.



This person was a part of making U.S. history.  She was one of 1,830 women accepted as a pilot as part of the Army Air Force from September 1942 to December 1944.  Because of the demand for male combat pilots and warplanes left the Air Transport Command with a shortage of experienced pilots to ferry planes from factories to points of embarkation a program was approved that would train a large group of women to serve as ferry pilots. 
(Taken from the Woman's Collection, Blagg -Huey Library)

I don’t know what ‘Tommy’s personal experiences were while serving in the Women’s Army Airforce but I did find out that she was a Squadron Commander.  And that she “graduated with class 43-6 and was one of the only a few WASP selected to attend officers training in Orlando, Florida.  She was also stationed at Love Field, Dallas Texas with the Ferry Command.”  (Taken from a personal letter to me by an employer of The Woman’s Collection TWU Blagg-Huey Library)

Just a few facts I found very interesting.  Of the 1,074 that graduated 38 died while in the WASP program.  60,000,000 miles flown.
WASP earned $150 per month while in training, and $250 per month after graduation.  They paid for their own uniforms, lodging, and personal travel to and from home.  

Important quote:
You and more than 900 of your sisters have shown that you can fly wingtip to wingtip with your brothers. If ever there was a doubt in anyone’s mind that women can become skillful pilots, the WASPs have dispelled that doubt.”

- Gen. Hap Arnold, AAF, in a speech to the last class of WASPs, before the program was disbanded in December 1944.

Evelyn's maiden name is Burdette.  She was the second wife of my grandfather George Wherrett Tomlinson.  I do not have the exact marriage date/about 1936/37.  She didn't live with Grandfather long and never divorced him.  He died in 1959. Tommy died in 1973.  More will be told about their lives at a later date. 

She did a service for our country contributing to our freedoms we have today. She should be remembered for her good deeds.   Thank You Tommy.