W.A.S.P. Training Base: Avenger Field (A Quater of a mile to the North)
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Location: From Sweetwater, take I-20 west about 4 miles to exit 240 -marker faces sign on north R.O.W.
Marker Text: Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) trained here in military aircraft during World War II, from February 21, 1943, through final graduation day, December 7, 1944.
Avenger Field first served as a training base for British Royal Air Force Cadets in 1942, then for U.S. Army Air Forces Cadets August 1942 - April 1943.
The WASP program was started under General H.H. ("Hap") Arnold to train women to fly every kind of mission short of combat, releasing male pilots for overseas duty. Jacqueline Cochran was director of women pilots; Ethel A. Sheehy, WASP staff field executive; Nancy Harness Love, WASP staff executive-ferrying division; and Leoti Clark Deaton, WASP staff executive-training bases. Of 25,000 girls who applied for WASP flight training. 1,830 were accepted; 1,074 won their silver wings. The WASPs flew 60 million miles on operational duty; 37 lost their lives serving their country. WASPs had civil service--not military--status, but were granted eligibility to apply for reserve commissions in the Air Corps after the WASP program ended when the allies were winning the war in Europe and the U.S.A. pilot shortage was past. Avenger Field was closed after a short post-WASP span of service as a missile base. (1972)
Marker No: 5667