"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 ever weapon possible. WOMEN PILOTS, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used." - Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942
In the early 1940s, it was extremely rare for women to be pilots, let alone serve in the U.S. military, but upon entering World War II, women began flying
BT-13, Commonly flown by female pilots in WWII
non-combat missions in the military to allow men to serve on the front lines.
This was pivotal in women's aviation history and Cornelia was among the first of WASP to serve her country.
Author Amy Nathan captured the stories of Cornelia and other female pilots of WWII in her book, Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of WWII published by National Geographic. You can hear Amy read an account of Cornelia's December 7th experience here.
These women dedicated their lives to aviation and proudly served their country but were never truly honored for their sacrifices until 2009, when President Obama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Women Airforce Service Pilots.
To learn more about other female aviators who served during WWII, you can watch Amy share the fascinating history of women of WASP by tuning in to NonFictionMinute.
You can also learn about researching Ancestry's WWII record collections here.
Find our other notable women here, Elizabeth BlackwellSojourner TruthAda LovelaceHedy LamarrMadam C.J. Walker