At Sun 'n Fun, the secret pilots of World War II - FOX 13 News

At Sun 'n Fun, the secret pilots of World War II

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The secret is out, and a group of women, mostly in their 90s now, have gone from unknown to wildly popular.

They are the "WASPs": Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II.

Back in the early 40s, the government started their unit as an experiment to see if women could learn to fly. They ended up flying every type of aircraft men did.

"We were given the same training as the male cadets," explained WASP Nell Bright. "Except we finished our program in six months and it usually took the guys nine months."

They flew every kind of mission the guys did, but not in combat.

Two and a half years into the program, though, Congress voted against making the WASPS part of the military. The program was scrapped, and the records documenting their existence were sealed.

Their history faded, and pretty much completely disappeared.

Until the late 70s when the air force announced it was training the first females pilots.

That's when the WASPS stepped forward, and were finally recognized. Now they are mostly in their 90s.

About two dozen are at Sun 'n Fun this weekend, where they are commemorating their 70th anniversary. They are surrounded by younger people asking for their autograph, or to have a picture taken with them.

A far cry from the sealed documents and secrecy of decades ago.

"We always said we were the best kept secret of World War II."


Read more about the WASPs here:



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