Mary Thoits

Salute! A Service Woman

The WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) were a groundbreaking organization of women pilots hired to fly military aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The WASP pilots numbered over 1000 women, and flew over 60 million miles. In 1977, were given veteran status. Twenty-two years later they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their patriotic and courageous service to the United States


I just turned 18 when Pearl Harbor happened. I did have my pilots license, but was under age and wrong height for the Women’s  Airforce  Service Pilots program under Jackie  Cochran (See, Jackie Cochran Feature). 

The program started in 1942 and ended in 1944. In May 1944, I was accepted for training at Sweetwater, Texas. Ours was the LAST class as Congress vetoed the program and closed the training in December, 1944. I had the training in AT-6 aircraft but did not ferry any planes as did many WASPS .

After the program closed, I received my commercial license and instructors rating. I taught land and sea aircraft for some time, and then in then in 1946-47, I attended Durham University England.

From 1952 to 1969, I worked in Germany and Korea for the AIRFORCE and Army.

I have been teaching and running the Senior Studies program at Long beach City College for over 32 years,.

However, I was in the WASPs a short time and did not ferry planes. Some WASPs are still around that did ferry planes from factory to Port of Embarkation.

Photo of Mary taken in 1944.

For more information on WASPS see,