ANNE GREENE here. Today I’m giving an autographed copy of my WWII Women Test Pilots book, ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS, to one person who answers a question at the bottom of this blog. So please leave a comment and your email for a chance to win.
Women played an important role in many jobs during World War II. One way women helped win that war to end all war was test piloting repaired combat planes. This was an especially dangerous job and thirty-eight WASPs died in the line of duty.
In 1942, the United States faced a severe pilot shortage. President Roosevelt made a life-altering decision that affected all women. He decided to train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could be released for combat overseas. Congress named the females the Women Airforce Service Pilots – WASPs. The ladies surprised the Army Air Force Commander General Hap Arnold who wasn’t sure a ‘slip of a girl could fight the controls of a B-17 in heavy weather. Neither were many officers and enlisted men in the Air Force. The ladies had to prove themselves. And prove themselves they did. With flying colors.
More than 1,100 lady civilian volunteers flew every type of military aircraft, including the B-26 and B-29 bombers, as part of the WASP program. They tested overhauled, crippled fighter planes, they towed targets to give inexperienced ground and air gunners training to shoot with live ammunition, and they ferried untested planes from factories to military bases across the country. The WASPs expected to become a branch of the military. Congress never passed that bill.
And along the way, they fell in love.
WASPs weren’t granted military status until the 1970s. Now 65 years after their service, President Obama signed a bill awarding the WASPs the Congressional Gold Medal.
The women who flew had moxie and an adventurous gene. In that 1940-1944 timeframe, most people had never travelled aboard a plane, much less flown one. Short, tall, slim, wide, women joined the WASP program knowing how to fly. Since flying lessons were expensive, most women came from wealthy families. The military trained male pilots from scratch, but not the female civilian volunteers.
Jacqueline Cochran, the driving force and head of the WASP program, was a pioneering aviator. But disbelieving men threatened the WASP program from the start. WASPs had to fight to remain in service. Men found the program unacceptable and hard to swallow, not believing that women could release men for combat and place themselves in danger. And these male voices were loud.
Yet, along the way, women fell in love.
After proving themselves above and beyond the call of duty, Commander Arnold said, “Let the record stand. Women can fly as well as men, and in many cases, better.”
Still, as war drew to a close in the summer of 1944, women’s flight training programs closed. Flight instructors didn’t want to lose their jobs to women, so they lobbied Washington for the WASPs’ jobs saying, “It’s unacceptable for women to replace men.” Men said they were heads of families and sole providers and as such needed the jobs more than women.
And yet, along the way, women fell in love.
In my book, ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS, about WASPs, you’ll discover a tumultuous romance, live through many of the adventures real American women experienced, and discover the answer to what happened to the WASPs. I hold WASPs in extremely high regard! Only a few of them remain alive today.
This month I’m giving an autographed copy of my historical romance, ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS, to one person who leaves a comment. I pick the name from a hat. So please answer the question: In my next book of the Women of Courage series, would you rather read about a lady spy, a lady nurse, a WAC, a WAVE, a donut dolly, a victory garden grower, or a Rosie the riveter?
ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGS is a World War II romance where Steel Magnolias meet Band of Brothers. While test flying planes as a Woman Air Service Pilot, WASP, Mandy McCabe escapes her dead-end life in Hangman’s Hollow, Tennessee. Major Harvey Applegate lost his wife to the WASP program, and he’s convinced Yankee Doodle Gals have no place flying in the war effort. He determines to protect the WASPs by sending them packing back to the home front. Will their new love survive the test? One love. Two goals. Someone has to give.
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. Enjoy her Women of Courage series spotlighting heroic women of World War II, first book Angel With Steel Wings. Read her Holly Garden Private Investigating series, first book Red Is For Rookie. Look for Anne’s newest novella, The Marriage Broker and The Mortician in the anthology The California Gold Rush Romance Collection. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy Anne’s books on http://www.Amazon.com. Visit Anne at AnneGreeneAuthor.com. and http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.