You probably won’t find any mention of them in your history textbook, but during World War II over 1,000 women trained as combat pilots, flying all the same aircraft and types of assignments as male pilots (except for combat). As the war neared its end, however, the women were sent home with no recognition, their military records sealed and filed away for more than 30 years.
Baylor alumna Nancy Parrish’s mother was one of those pilots, known as a WASP – Women Airforce Service Pilots. (Another was 1937 Baylor grad Ruth Helm.) With help from the university, Parrish has begun a project to document the stories of those WASP still living. Among the project’s benefactors are Dr. Michael Korpi and Dr. Corey Carbonara from the film and digital media department, who over the years have loaned Parrish (a TV producer by trade) equipment to record the interviews. Perhaps her biggest supporter was former President Herbert Reynolds, who she says will forever remain the project’s honorary chairman.
Through January, you can see an exhibit on the WASP and Parrish’s group, Wings Across America, at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum. For more on Parrish and Wings Across America, read the Baylor Alumni Association’s recent Q&A with Parrish or visit their website, wingsacrossamerica.org.
Sic ’em, Wings Across America!