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‘The Best Kept Secret of WW2’

A conversation with WASP Nell Bright
By: Ms. Autumn Bernhard

Errin Phou: Can you tell me a little bit about your career path and what led you to becoming a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP)?

Nell Bright: I decided when I was eight years old that I wanted to learn to fly because my dad took me out to the pasture in West Texas where the World War One planes would come in, land and take people up. I got to go up in an open cockpit plane when I was 8 years old.

I finished college when I was 19, so I was ready to start taking flying lessons. In 1943, I saw an article that the military was going to train women to fly military airplanes, in what was then the Army Air Corps, for the first time in history. I already had my license and 75 hours of flying when I read this, and I applied and was accepted into the 7th class. We had the exact same training the men did. Of course, at that time of Pearl Harbor, the military was very short of pilots and needed all the pilots they could get.

So it was quite an honor for us, as women, to get to fly the military airplanes.

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