Saved from Official Fate
Time, April 3, 1944
A gallant old boy, General Henry H. Arnold, chief of the Army Air Forces, last week saved the official lives of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots.
Fortnight ago the WASPs were wondering whether they were going to become unwanted women. Congressmen muttered among themselves about abolishing the WASPs now that the Civil Aeronautics Administration program is winding up, releasing at least 900 experience men flyers who might be used as ferry pilots. But General Arnold announced that the men were needed elsewhere, that he needed more WASPs.
Special to the New York Times
May 4, 1944 -- The War Department favors continuation of its corps of
women fliers and militarization of their organization, known as the Wasp,
. . . Mr. Stimson thus gave the first official statement of the Army's
position in a controversy which has gone on for several months. . . He
said the women pilots, nineteen of whom had been killed, "are performing
valuable service" but did not have "the rights, privileges and benefits
available to comparable military personnel."
York Times, Tuesday, June 20, 1944
New York Times, June 28, 1944
Many Women Pilots
Protest Steps Order by Congress Toward Liquidation Special to the New
York Times WASHINGTON, June 27--This was wash-out day for the Wasp training
program, with Army orders carrying out the closing-down legislated by
Congress. . . . As specified by Congress, Wasps in training will be allowed
to complete their courses, and Wasps in service will continue their work.
was just opening, and was told there would not be any. . . . . The Wasp public relations officer said that her office had been swamped with messages from people expressing appreciation of the work of the Wasp and that public relations of fields where they operate, had reported that the women fliers have a strong feeling of having been unfairly attacked. .
October 16, 1944
. . . .Last week, with appropriate regrets, General "Hap" Arnold, boss of the USAAF, announced that the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) would be disband on Dec. 20.
In a way, the WASPs who had done a man-sized job of flying for the Army, had asked for it. . . . they had demanded the same military status as the WACS, WAVES, SPARs and Women Marines. In spite of Hap Arnold's earnest support of the plan. . .Congress had turned thumbs down.
Then the Air Force ladies, . . . gave their ultimatum. . . .the WASPs should get military status or be washed out altogether. As Congress showed no disposition to change, there was no choice for Hap Arnold. . . .
is where most WASPs will land, according to Mrs. Hazel Taylor, their public-relations
officer, who predicted: "Their careers will be marriage." . . . But airmen
who heard such intimations of renunciation wondered. Flying is a habit
hard to break.
After struggling with defective landing gear for more than two hours while she circled country airport, Wasp Nancy Batson, 24, grimly radioed the word to "get the crash truck out" and then nosed her P-38 pursuit plane down to the landing field. . . .
Miss Batson hit the runway with her fuselage landing wheels and kept the nose of the plane high, fearful that the nose wheel had not locked properly.
Gingerly she settled--and the wheel didn't fold up. . . .she. . .said simply, "I'm sorry to have caused all this trouble."
Captain Jack Clay of the Air Transport Command, who had instructed the plucky Wasp by radio how to adjust the faulty gear, grinned. "You're calmer than a lot of the men this has happened to," he said. . . .
After it was all over, Miss Batson did the thing any woman -- not necessarily a Wasp -- would do. With hands blistered from pumping the landing gear, she proceeded to freshen her lipstick.