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Jackie Cochran and the Origin of the WASPs
It took three years for pilot Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Cochran to convince the U.S. military that qualified women pilots could free men for combat duty by performing non-combat missions. Supported by Eleanor Roosevelt and Army aviation chief General Henry H. ‘Hap’ Arnold, Cochran’s goal was achieved in 1943 with the formation of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). Before deactivation on December 20, 1944, 1,074 WASPs logged 60 million miles flying for the U.S. Army Air Forces.

This 1957 photo shows Jacqueline Cochran standing next to her plane, with Chuck Yeager and Bill Longhurst, at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Image: Air Force Flight Test Center History Office