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Thursday, October 5, 2017

In CHASING DRAGONS ( and THE LAST RAJAH (, co-pilot Edwina "Eddie" Watt is a former WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Their mission was to free male pilots for combat roles by employing qualified female pilots to ferry aircraft from factories to military bases and to tow drones and aerial targets. Each WASP candidate already had a pilot's license. They were trained to fly "the Army way" by the U.S. Army Air Forces at Avenger Fie...ld in Sweetwater, Texas. More than 25,000 women applied for the WASP, and fewer than 1,900 were accepted. After completing four months of military flight training, 1,074 of them earned their wings and became the first women to fly American military aircraft. WASP were stationed at 122 air bases across the U.S., assuming numerous flight-related missions, and relieving male pilots for combat duty. They flew sixty million miles of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. Women in these roles flew almost every type of aircraft flown by the USAAF during World War II. Pictured here is Elizabeth Gardner in a B-26 Marauder. Change her hair to blonde and she could be Eddie!