This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Attack of the WASP women!
During WWII, women flew in the Air Force — they were the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. It was an elite group: only 1,830 of the 25,000 women who applied were accepted into the WASP training program — 1,074 graduated. 38 WASP died serving our country. They flew every craft being used by the Air Force (albiet never in combat) including the powerful B-24 Witchcraft, which had 130 combat missions at the hands of male Air Force pilots.
The Witchcraft is on display at the Long Beach Airport through Wednesday. It is fully restored and currently touring the southland with a B-17 and B-25, which were also piloted by WASP flyers. After Long Beach they go to Lancaster and San Luis Obispo; the complete schedule is online.
You'd think America would have been proud of its first chick pilots, but all records of the WASP program were classified for 30 years after the war. So for decades our first female Air Force pilots went unacknowledged — all of which is to say, if you happen by The Witchcraft, stop and give your regards.