WASP Beginning

While Jackie and Nancy were proposing basically the same ideas about women flying for the military, women across the country were gearing up to earn flight hours. After all, this was the age of aviation discovery and women were proving themselves in the skies. Amelia Earhart had opened the doors for women as young female fliers were following her feats in the skies.  Earhart had demonstrated that women could fly and that there was more than enough room in the skies for both male and female pilots.  At the same time, experienced women flyers like Teresa James were barnstorming across the country and Cornelia Fort was teaching others how to fly.

By the spring of 1942, a growing manpower shortage, particularly in jobs women were already doing in civilian life like clerks, typists, and switchboard operators forced a change in thinking. Male enlistments were starting to drop. Every community in the nation turned to draft boards to secure young men for the armed services.

The United States was building its air power and military presence in anticipation of direct involvement in the war and began to expand its enlistment of male cadets. This period had led to a dramatic increase in activity for the US Army Air Forces, and revealed obvious gaps in manpower that could be filled by women. However, it was not until after the attack on Pearl Harbor that it became evident that there were not enough male pilots. Something would have to change.