Academic journal article Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military

Molly Merryman. Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II

Academic journal article Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military

Molly Merryman. Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II

Article excerpt

New York: University Press, 1998. 237 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, and index. $20.00 (paper) ISBN 0-8124-75568-2.

Reviewed for MINERVA by Rhonda L. Smith, Department of History, Eastern Kentucky University

Women Airforce Service Pilots and the Gender Issue

When the United States entered World War II, its military service and its industry faced the need to find and train workers and servicemen to meet the unprecedented demands of mobilizing the American economy and fighting a two front war. One way of meeting these demands was to hire, enlist, and train women for hobs once deemed "men's work." Millions of women left home for work in factories, hospitals, and military bases. Another 350,000 either enlisted in the Army or Navy or joined a military auxiliary service. Of these 350,000, 1,104 were women who flew military aircraft for the Women's Air Service Pilots (WASPs). These women delivered airplanes, helped train gunnery recruits, taxied officials, and tested aircraft. They put on men's flying coveralls, and learned to fly the army way. In 1942, over 25,000 women applied to the new women's pilot training program. 1,830 were accepted and 1100 graduated.

The WASP program has inspired several books including Sally van Wagner Keil's Those Wonderful Women in Their Flying Machines, Jean Hascall Cole's Women Pilots of World War II, and, Byrd Howell Granger's On Final Approach. Most of the works on the WASPs are either memoirs or popular histories, and even fiction. Janet Dailey's Silver Wings, Santiago Blue is a fictionalized account of the WASP program, written in the romance genre. One of the more scholarly books on the WASPs is Molly Merryman's Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of Worm War II.

Clipped Wings examines the WASP program from its development in September 1942 through its disbandment in December, 1944. Merryman analyzes the role of women pilots and their contribution to World War II. As Merryman pointed out the WASPs "performed an essential role" in America's war effort. They flew every type of airplane the Army Air Corps possessed and released hundreds of men for combat. Despite their success, however,

the WASPs were unappreciated and their contributions unrecognized. A civilian organization, the WASPs were not considered military personnel. After disbandment, WASPs were not recognized as veterans and could not receive benefits. The thirty-eight women pilots killed during service to their country, were ineligible for military funerals. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.