WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) trained in Southeastern North Carolina. (Source: John Moseley)
The WASP towed target sleeves on long cables behind their planes for anti-aircraft firing training. (Source: John Moseley)
FORT FISHER, NC (WECT) -
March is Women’s History Month. John Moseley from the Fort Fisher State Historic Site joined us on WECT News First at Four to highlight the contributions women made to World War II, specifically the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) team, which trained in Southeastern North Carolina.
At the urging of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and women’s groups, General George Marshall supported the idea of introducing a women’s service branch into the Army.
In 1942, Congress instituted the roles for women in all branches of the military, which led to the creation of the WASP team.
In their few years of existence, WASP was credited with flying 60 million miles of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases.
The women were required to complete the same training courses as male Army Airforce pilots.
The WASP towed target sleeves on long cables behind their planes back and forth above the beaches of Fort Fisher and Camp Davis' other anti-aircraft firing ranges for training exercises.
The WASP program was officially canceled Dec. 20, 1944.
In 1977, WASP was formally recognized as members of the military and eligible to receive military benefits.