“This is not a time when women should be patient. We are in a war and we need to fight it
with all our ability and every weapon possible. Women pilots, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt~
The time: Late Autumn, 1944.
The place: The tarmac of the Lockheed Aircraft Plant in Burbank, CA
A group of four Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) are gathered around their flight leader.
She is kneeling and pointing to a significant rendezvous point on an aerial map, reinforcing the
path of the WASP flight plan. Their mission is to ferry five P-38 Lightning fighters to a port of
embarkation where the planes will be shipped to bases overseas.
During WWII the WASP organization was largely made up of the Women’s Flying Training
Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAF). It was formed
to free male pilots for combat duty overseas. Of the 25,000 women who applied, fewer
than 1,900 were accepted. In addition to ferrying aircraft from factories, their duties included
towing targets for anti-aircraft practice, simulated strafing and transporting cargo. During this
time they flew nearly every type of military aircraft. In the course of performing their duties,
38 women lost their lives.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, several defense plants on the U.S. West Coast, including
Lockheed, were heavily camouflaged with netting and artificial foliage to resemble bucolic
farmland as seen from the air.
A beautiful new gicleé of this painting is now available in an edition of only 50 prints on artist’s canvas ready for mounting and framing. Each print has been glazed by the artist with an acrylic gel to simulate the brush strokes of the original painting.