Winning My Wings: A Woman Airforce Service Pilot in World War II
One of the First Women in the United States to train as a military pilot, the author was part of a little-known World War II experiment called the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) program, which gave young women the then unheard-of opportunity to fly military aircraft. Marion Hodgson tells an exuberant story of the time back in 1943 when she and other WASPs earned their hard-won wings. They learned to fly everything from open-cockpit primary trainers to P-51 Mustangs, B-26 Marauders, and B-29 Superfortresses, and their stateside missions freed their male counterparts for combat duty overseas. An unlikely volunteer, Hodgson was at first terrified of flying, but she and other WASPs succeeded not only in winning their wings but in breaking the barriers against women in military cockpits. This is an action-packed story, often humorous and sometimes harrowing, told mostly through letters Hodgson wrote to a Marine pilot fighting for his life after a fiery crash. Some of her letters describe the crashes their killed thirty-eight WASPs. Others reveal what it was like for these pioneering women as they ferried planes from factories to airfields, test-flew repaired aircraft, and performed a variety of other duties traditionally assigned to men. On a more personal level, the book is a coming-of-age story and a love story - Hodgson married the Marine pilot.