When the WASP first began flying, they often wore ill-fitting men’s uniforms. These coveralls, especially designed for them, were a much-appreciated improvement. Made in the WASP color, Santiago blue, these cotton coveralls feature a convenient drop seat. The coveralls were donated by WASP, Virginia “Scotty” Gough, Class 44-W-7.
In September 1942, U.S. Army Air Forces commanding general, General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold agreed to allow qualified women pilots to ferry aircraft. Two groups were formed: The Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) led by Nancy Harkness-Love and the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) led by Jackie Cochran. The WAFS enlisted already-qualified women pilots to transport training aircraft from factories to training bases while the WFTD oversaw an intensive training program to increase the number of women who could fly for the Ferrying Division. On 5 August 1943, the WAFS and WFTD merged into a single unit for all women pilots who were rapidly extending their qualifications to every type of aircraft in service. This new group called itself the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).
Training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, the program graduated 1,074 pilots. Combined with the original 28 WAFS, the total number of WASPs was 1,102. During the war, WASPs ferried over 50% of the combat aircraft within the United States at 126 bases across the U.S. They also towed targets for gunnery training and served as instrument instructors for the Eastern Flying Training Command.
Twenty-seven women died during missions and 11 while in training. The final WASP class graduated 7 December 1944.