Women in Aviation International members will be #HonoringTheWASP over Memorial Day weekend by visiting their graves and leaving an appropriate decoration in the form of flowers or other remembrances.
Texas Woman’s University, the repository of the Women Airforce Service Pilots Archive, has provided WAI with a database of WASP gravesites which may be downloaded at https://www.wai.org/pioneers/1993/women-airforce-service-pilots-wasp. WAI members are urged to check the database for WASP graves in their local area and visit and decorate the grave as part of Memorial Day activities.
“We invite everyone in the aviation community to join us in this effort,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “You don’t have to be a WAI member to participate; you just have to feel as we do about the WASP -- that they are aviation pioneers who used their love of flying to aid the war effort while opening the door for future women military aviators.”
Participants are asked to photograph the decorated grave along with information on who and where and tweet it all using the hashtag #HonoringTheWASP. WAI will retweet all of them to its thousands of Twitter followers.
“Of course, we are an international organization so we encourage WAI members and others outside of the United States to honor their own country’s women aviation military heroes and veterans,” adds Dr. Chabrian. “We have a contingent of WAI members ready to decorate all WASP graves in Arlington National Cemetery.”
The database of WASP graves was sent to WAI with this message from the WASP Archive: Our hearts smile with the love that WAI and its members have for these amazing women. On behalf of all us at the WASP Archive, it is with gratitude and appreciation for this wonderful project that honors these women and their service this Memorial Day.
About the WASP: The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were inducted into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1993. The WASP was formed in August of 1943 as an adjunct to the Army Air Forces' war effort. The organization was made up of two civilian-flying groups: the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron and the Women's Flying Training Detachment. Under the guidance of Jacqueline Cochran, the WASP became involved in all aspects of military flying operations, with the exception of combat and overseas ferrying. More than 1,000 WASP pilots flew over 70 million miles and delivered 12,650 airplanes across the country during their time of operation. The WASP program was suspended in December 1944.