1914 : Nancy Harkness Love Born; First Commander of the WASPS During WWII

February 14, 2024 all-day

Mrs. Nancy Harkness Love, 28, director of the U.S. Women's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron, adjusts her helmet in the cockpit of an Army plane before taking off from an eastern United States base. The women under her command will ferry planes from factories to coastal airports, from which they will be flown to overseas battle fronts, courtesy of the Wikipedia Commons

On this day, Nancy Harkness Love of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots was born in Houghton, Michigan. Overcoming great odds, she was instrumental in the opening of military aviation to women. After receiving her pilot’s license at age sixteen, she began her aviation career in government service by marking the roofs of large buildings with directions for pilots. She also did extensive test piloting work, particularly in the design of tricycle landing gear. In 1942 she convinced the United States Air Force to use women in the capacity of pilots to ferry aircraft from the factories to the military airfields in the U.S. This group was known as the WAF’s (Women’s Auxiliary Ferry) and later the WASP’s (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) with Mrs. Love as commander.

Source : Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University