We see many photos of our fallen heros being circulated these days but no matter how many soldiers die, there never seems to be an end to war somewhere. What is the point of war? It never really solves anything. More importantly is the problem of our government not being able to thank our returning soldiers enough and in some circumstances, no compensation at all. This problem has been going on since World War II.
This past June we had the 70th Anniversary of D-Day when the allies invaded Normandy and opened a western front in World War II. Chances are the troops would have faced an even tougher fight if not for special pilots in the initial run of the attack. On June 6, 1944 as the allied troops fought and died on the beaches of Normandy, thousands of United States war planes lent vital support. Those planes were there in part thanks to the efforts of a little known band of women far from the front lines. Women like Lucile Wise. She is 93 years old and one of the few left to tell her story of being a pilot of United States war planes.
In 1942 the United States built thousands of war planes in its war factories each month. They needed to be delivered to air force bases but pilots were in short supply. In the summer of 1943 a call went out for women to do the flying. 25 thousand women applied and 11 hundred were chosen to be WASPS. Women Air force Service Pilots. They were trained just like the male pilots; slept in metal cots, worked out, marched and followed strict flying procedures. They proved that they could fly those war planes just as well as the men could.
The women proved their abilities over and over again by logging in more than 60 Million miles in over 12 thousand aircraft. They flew B17s, B24s and P54 Mustangs that helped win the war. While other women like Rosie the Riveters who worked in war factories lived on in our memories these women have been forgotten by our military might. It is the latest and yet one of the oldest forgotten soldier war stories. Every American should know about what these women sacrificed for their country at a time when women weren’t even respected as competent workers in “men’s occupations” and more importantly they never got paid for their service properly.
There is a documentary out there released in 2013 called We Served Too describing the WASPs and their service to this country. There is under 200 women still alive. There should be a sense of urgency to get their story out and finally pay these women for their service to this country. 38 women died in crashes. Why were these important military women classified as civilians? Again the brass idiots dropped the ball on yet another military blunder. Neither they or their families received military benefits. The surviving women do not receive benefits.
In 1976 the first female Cadets arrived to the military and admitted to the Air Force. The WASPS took notes and demanded that they be recognized for their service. It was 33 years later that they finally get recognized and in 1977 they were re-classified as Military Veterans. And granted full benefits but for the remaining women, real recognition came in 2009 when President Obama finally signed a Bill awarding the WASPS the Congressional Gold Medal.
Today more than 60,000 women serve in the United States Air Force. How could anyone forget a brave woman that serves this country? Give them retroactive pay that they deserved for the 30 or so past years where they received nothing.