Thursday, January 2, 2014

World War II Museum Seeking More Women Airforce Service Pilots Artifacts

National World War II Museum seeks help filling holes in artifact collections
The Associated Press
Published: January 1, 2014

Even with enough artifacts to fill a growing number of buildings, the National World War II Museum's collections have some gaping holes. Those include items from the Holocaust, the first U.S. engagement with German troops, and the women who flew military airplanes to the front, freeing male pilots to fight.

Although the museum's 100,000-plus artifacts include belongings from about 900 women in other services and the home front, its only illustration of the Women Airforce Service Pilots is a single shoulder patch embroidered with a winged Disney character. It came from a patch collector, without information about the pilot who wore it, said Toni M. Kiser, assistant director of collections and exhibits.

What she'd like is a uniform, a log book, a flight jacket or other artifact with information about its owner. "We like to collect the personal story that goes along with any gear, any uniform, any helmet," she said.

The WASP trained more than 1,000 pilots starting in November 1942; the last graduation was in December 1944.

"There just weren't nearly as many WASP as there were women in other service branches. They also weren't recognized as a service branch for a long time. They had to really fight to be recognized for their work," Kizer said.
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