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102-year-old WASP Honored with Living Legend Award

SUWANEE, Ga., January 16, 2024 - A member of the WWII Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), Jerrie Phillips Badger, was recognized for her bravery and honored at her assisted living home in Suwanee, Georgia, with the Living Legend Award. Badger, 102, was a member off the Aloe AFF in Victoria, Texas, Class 44-W-10. Then Jerrie Philips, was one of 1,074 women who would wear WASP wings.

More than 25,000 women applied; just 1,074 women earned the coveted silver wings, becoming official members of the WASP program. The WASP training classes lasted 4 months. The women were required to pay for some of their own expenses and to make their own uniforms. For the early classes, there wasn’t even a fire truck on the field in case of an accident. Despite these conditions, 1,074 women would earn their silver wings, becoming full-fledged WASP.

To relieve as many male pilots as possible, the WASP were scattered around the United States to perform many essential tasks and flew more than 80 types of aircraft. They towed targets in live fire exercises, ferried more than 12,650 aircraft for more than sixty million miles, and even tested rocket and jet-powered aircraft, as well as drones.

Even though these women had proven themselves extremely capable, the program was shut down in 1944 amid a hail of controversy about the cost of training women pilots. With the conclusion of the War, the program was classified, and its records were sealed. Having been left out of many history books and World War II remembrances, it would be 35 years before the remarkable stories of the WASP could be told.

Main Photo - Aloe AAF, Victoria, Texas, 1944. Class 44-W-10 , L-R Top – Francis Gimble, Betty Stabler, Patricia Houran, Henrietta Spreckles, Elizabeth Phillips. Bottom – Jerrie Philips, Ruth Glaser, Barbara Searles. Image courtesy of The WASP Archive, The TWU Libraries’ Woman’s Collection, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas

Story and Information Published by Atlanta News First. You can check out the full article by clicking here.

Additional Information About the WASP, can be found at the CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP website; click here, for more information.

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