Others found work ferrying rickety planes for private firms in the States. Transcontinental and Western Air Incorporated (later Trans World Airlines, TWA) offered employment to the former WASPs, and even established a WASP Procurement Office. The list of positions open to the former fliers included only one cockpit-related job, Link trainer operator. The women who had flown for the AAF were barred from commercial cockpits .38 Only one member of the WASP remained on duty
within the AAF after deactivation - Jacqueline Cochran. As the Director of Women Pilots it was her job to submit a final report and assist in preparing historical documents. Many of the WASP questioned how Cochran could stay on duty when they had been shoved aside. What they did not know or appreciate was that Cochran was fighting to protect the WASP in the final official reports of their achievements. 39 The history of the women pilots of World War II, as presented by AAF historical section, was rather negative and left many questions unresolved. Cochran read the report and was concerned about the image which the report gave of the WASPs. She was not pleased and responded strongly to specific statements and charges in the report. She went a step further to add balance to the "uncomplimentary tone of he Air Transport Command's WASP history. "40 She took a copy of the Air Transport Command report to the Training Command and pointed out some particular passages. The led the Training Command to prepare a report of its own about
the work of the women pilots who had served within it jurisdiction. This was an extraordinary document, in part a refutation of the official report of another agency of the AAF. In this second report the achievements of the WASPs were placed in a more positive light. This would not have happened without the effort of Cochran who steadfastly protected the image of the WASPs for the public and posterity .41 The service of the women pilots of World War II was short, but through their sorrow, bitterness or confused reactions, they could echo the remarks of WAFS Cornelia Fort, who died for her country. "I, for one, am profoundly grateful that my one talent, my only knowledge, flying, happened to be of use to my country when it was needed. That's all the luck I ever hope to have." 42 In the end, the pride and dedication of the WASPs of World War II could not satisfactorily negate the most basic argument raised against their service. Representative Edward Rees of Kansas stated the essence of the political response to the WASP and their continued service: "I just do not believe we
ought to continue to recruit women for pilot service until we have utilized the service of men who are qualified to do the work." 43 EPILOGUE Just prior to deactivation in December, 1944, WASPs stationed at Maxwell Field, Alabama formed a group called the Order of Fifinella. This organization of ex-WASPs served as a source of contact for the women fliers. Originally the Order of Fifinella was a social group, but it provided the nucleus for political activities of the WASPs in the 1970's to gain veterans' recognition for themselves.
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- Fall '19
- Women Airforce Service Pilots, Jacqueline Cochran