Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II

Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II

by Amy Goodpaster Strebe

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Overview

During the Second World War, women pilots were given the opportunity to fly military aircraft for the first time. In the United States, famed aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran formed the Women Airforce Service Pilots program, where over one thousand women flyers ferried aircraft from factories to airbases throughout the United States and Canada from 1942 to 1944. The WASP operated from 110 facilities and flew more than 60 million miles in 78 different types of aircraft, from the smallest trainers to the fastest fighters and the largest bombers. The WASP performed every duty inside the cockpit as did their male counterparts, except combat, and 38 women pilots gave their lives in the service of their country. Yet, notwithstanding their outward appearance as official members of the U.S. Army Air Forces, the WASP were considered civil servants during the war. Despite a highly publicized attempt to militarize in 1944, the women pilots would not be granted veteran status until 1977. In the Soviet Union, Marina Raskova, Russia's "Amelia Earhart," famous for her historic Far East flight in 1938, formed the USSR's first all-female aviation regiments that flew combat missions along the Eastern Front.

A little over one thousand women flew a combined total of more than 30 thousand combat sorties, producing at least 30 Heroes of the Soviet Union. Included in their ranks were at least two fighter aces. More than 50 women pilots were killed in action. Sharing both patriotism and a mutual love of aviation, these pioneering women flyers faced similar obstacles while challenging assumptions of male supremacy in wartime culture. Despite experiencing discrimination from male aircrews during the war, these intrepid airwomen ultimately earned their respect. The pilots' exploits and their courageous story, told so convincingly here, continue to inspire future generations of women in aviation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781567206722
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/30/2007
Series: Praeger Security International Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 728,253
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Amy Goodpaster Strebe is a journalist and historian. She is the author of Desert Dogs: The Marines of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004). Strebe holds a master's degree in history from San Jose State University. She has written extensively on the U.S. armed forces and is one of the leading experts on the women military pilots of World War II.

Table of Contents


Foreword   Trish Beckman     ix
Acknowledgments     xv
Abbreviations     xvii
Introduction     1
America's First Women Military Pilots     4
Marina Raskova and Her Soviet Aviation Regiments     15
Patriotism and a Love of Flying     29
Gender Issues     37
The Ties That Bind     51
The WASP Are Disbanded     59
Demobilization of the Soviet Airwomen     70
Conclusion     75
Notes     85
Bibliography     97
Index     105

What People are Saying About This

Peggy Chabrian

"Amy Goodpaster Strebe has done an outstanding job researching and writing about the invaluable contributions made by women pilots in the Second World War. As pioneers in military aviation, the WASP proved to the world that they were indeed capable of flying both fighter and bomber aircraft. In the case of the Soviet women aviators who saw combat along the Eastern Front, their indomitable spirit and heroism in battle have made them legendary. A book depicting the combined achievements of these intrepid military airwomen is long overdue. I highly recommend it."--(Dr. Peggy Chabrian, President and Founder, Women in Aviation, International)

Mary Pickering

"Strebe's book offers a beautifully written, well-researched account of a little known but fascinating aspect of World War II. Her story of these women aviators in the U.S. and USSR is both dramatic and moving. Their courage is truly remarkable. Equally amazing is the way they were treated by their respective governments because of their gender. Strebe's book is not to be missed by anyone interested in women's history and military history."--(Dr. Mary Pickering, Professor of History, San Jose State University)

Chuck Yeager

"I really enjoyed the book. It tells the true story of how women were involved in aviation during the war."--(General Chuck Yeager, General Chuck Yeager Foundation)

Gen. Chuck Yeager

"I really enjoyed the book. It tells the true story of how women were involved in aviation during the war."

Dr. Peggy Chabrian

"Amy Goodpaster Strebe has done an outstanding job researching and writing about the invaluable contributions made by women pilots in the Second World War. As pioneers in military aviation, the WASP proved to the world that they were indeed capable of flying both fighter and bomber aircraft. In the case of the Soviet women aviators who saw combat along the Eastern Front, their indomitable spirit and heroism in battle have made them legendary. A book depicting the combined achievements of these intrepid military airwomen is long overdue. I highly recommend it."

Deanie Bishop Parrish

"Before reading Flying for Her Country, I never imagined that the Russian women military pilots of WWII had the same values (honor, integrity, courage, commitment, faith, patriotism, service and sacrifice) as America's WWII women pilots. This fascinating book portrays a significant chapter in history that is not found in most history books. It is educational, motivational and inspirational as it chronicles the history of how these young women military pilots proved that, no matter the challenge, no matter your nationality, and no matter how difficult the mission, you can do anything, if it's the right thing to do and you put your mind to it. Flying for Her Country corroborates what I have known since my early childhood, With God's help, nothing is impossible."

Dr. Mary Pickering

"Strebe's book offers a beautifully written, well-researched account of a little known but fascinating aspect of World War II. Her story of these women aviators in the U.S. and USSR is both dramatic and moving. Their courage is truly remarkable. Equally amazing is the way they were treated by their respective governments because of their gender. Strebe's book is not to be missed by anyone interested in women's history and military history."

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Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
barbgarwood More than 1 year ago
I was familiar with the WASPS and their patriotic service during WWII, however, the somewhat parallel story of Soviet women fighter pilots was absolutely fascinating and unknown to me. The fight of both groups to be taken seriously by mostly male counterparts in their respective countries is a story that Ms. Strebe has told exceptionally well. As a woman military pilot in the 70's and 80's, I clearly remember what we faced; but the smear tactics against the WASPS when they were disbanded and the suppression of the Soviet women fighter pilots after WWII is a story everyone should read. --Barbara Garwood, former USAF pilot, one of the founding members of the Women Military Aviators, Inc. and American Airlines pilot