Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Those Amazing Women and Their Flying Machines

Seventy-five years ago this month, the Women’s Air Service Pilots organization was disbanded. A federal organization, the WASPs was formed seventeen months earlier by merging the Women’s Flying Training Detachment and the Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, both created in September 1942. 

As civilians, members of the WASPs were not in the military, however, in June 1944 the House considered HR 4219, a bill that would grant them military status. It was defeated 188 to 169. Two weeks prior, the House Committee on the Civil Service (Ramspeck Committee) reported that it deemed the WASPs “unnecessary” and “unjustifiably expensive,” having cost the government $50 million. They recommended the program be halted. 

During its period of operation, each member’s service had freed a male pilot for combat or other duties. The women flew over sixty million miles, transported every type of military aircraft, towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo.

More than 25,000 women applied to the WASPs. Qualifications were that the applicant must be between 21 and 35 years old, at least 5’2” tall, in good health, hold a pilot’s license, and have a minimum of 500 hours of flight time. Over 1,800 were accepted, the majority of whom were Caucasian. There were two Chinese-Americans, two Mexican-Americans, and one Native American.

Of those accepted, 1,074 completed the training. Although they were not trained for combat, their course of instruction was almost the same as male aviation cadets. The women received no gunnery training and very little formation and aerobatic flying, but they did go through the maneuvers necessary to be able to recover from any position. By graduation, WASPs had 560 hours of ground school and 210 hours of flight training. In addition, they knew Morse code, meteorology, military law, physics, aircraft mechanics, and navigation. 

On December 7, 1944 (Pearl Harbor Day), the last class of WASP pilots graduated from training, despite the plan to disband the organization. After the announcement was made, nearly two dozen women offered to continue the work at a salary of $1.00 per year, but the offer was rejected. Following the group’s disbandment, some WASP members were allowed to fly on board government aircraft as long as room was available and no additional expenses were incurred. The other had to arrange and pay for their own transportation home.

Several times during the 1970s efforts were made to gain recognition for the WASPs, but it was not until 1977 that President Jimmy Carter signed legislation P.L. 95-202 providing that service as a WASP would be considered active duty for the purposes of programs administered by the Veterans Administration. In 1984, each WASP was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, and those who served more than one year received the American Theater Ribbon/American Campaign Medical.

Would you ever consider learning to fly?


Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone's throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII. Find out more about Linda and her books on her website. Receive a free short story when you sign up for her newsletter. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Holiday Secret by Kathryn Springer

The Holiday SecretFamily’s all Ellery Marshall wants for Christmas. To connect with her long-lost brothers, she travels to Castle Falls and instantly falls for the innkeeper’s five-year-old granddaughter, Bea. Carter Bristow—Bea’s handsome father—has given up on love. But Bea hasn’t given up on him, and Ellery could be the answer to her holiday wish to make Daddy happy again.

Heidi here. Let me just say that I adore Kathryn Springer's writing. Not only is The Holiday Secret an amazing premise, but Ellery & Carter have deep and painful wounds that they work on throughout the novel. I love how Ellery meets Bea before she realizes that Carter is Bea's father. So, of course, Ellery falls for sweet Bea ~ who wouldn't?

The plot is superb, The Holiday Secret keeps moving with no lags anywhere. All the plot points intersect at just the right times. I specifically liked the horse-drawn carriage ride on the evening of the parade. The atmosphere. The uncertainty of Ellery before they stepped into the carriage. Carter's surprise (and shock?) to see his daughter at the parade he could not attend. Carter's willingness to take part in the remaining carriage ride.

Superlative writing. Satisfying Christmas read. Buy your copy of The Holiday Secret today (as I am writing this, the kindle version is only $1.99).

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Time to Be Thankful

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:19b-20 (NIV)
This month I've been sharing mostly random things on my personal and author Facebook pages that I'm thankful for. Things like hot water, that I don't have to wash our clothes by hand, that we have a dishwasher. November is a great time to cultivate a heart of thankfulness.
When asked what you're thankful for... I think most would immediately say their family, friends, job, etc. It's not that I don't appreciate those too and am tremendously blessed to have them in my life. But I can't help but think that there are so many things in our lives that we are to be thankful for... that we often overlook. Even those difficult times we experience. Those times that bring us to our knees because we know that progress will only be made if God intervenes in the situation.
I challenge you to cultivate a heart of thankfulness, especially as we'll soon be moving into the season where we celebrate the birth of our beloved Savior. We have SO many things that we can thank the Lord for.
How about you? What are you grateful for today? 

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.