With the entry of the United States into World War II, many American women pilots longed to volunteer their skills to serve their country but were barred from flying for the US military due to their gender. Some American women pilots, including well-known racing pilot Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran, had already offered their services to the British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), ferrying aircraft from the manufacturers to and between air bases and freeing up male Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots for other duties. Cochran's experience with the ATA led her to lobby long and hard for a similar organization in the US. Initially, two organizations were formed to allow American women pilots to participate in the war effort. On September 10, 1942, the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), consisting of commercially licensed women pilots under the leadership of Nancy Harkness Love, was created as part of the US Army Air Corps' Air Transport Command. On November 16, 1942, a women pilot training program designed to supply pilots for the WAFS was begun under Cochran's leadership as the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). Initially based at Howard Hughes Municipal Airport in Houston, Texas, the WFTD was soon moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas. On August 5, 1943, the WAFS and the WFTD were merged to form the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), with Cochran as director of the WASP and its training division and Love as director of the ferrying division. Between November 17, 1942, and December 7, 1944, the 1,074 women who earned WASP wings flew 60 million miles for the US Army Air Corps. From light aircraft, the WASPs advanced quickly to fly every type of Air Corps aircraft in use at the time. Except for aerial gunnery and formation flying, these women received the same training as the male pilots. WASPs ferried planes, towed anti-aircraft artillery training targets, flew tracking, simulated bombing missions, performed radio control, flight tested aircraft, gave instrument instruction and performed many other duties. Their work allowed more men to participate in aviation combat roles. The Russian Civil War which followed the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 provided new opportunities for women in previously male-dominated areas; Marxist ideology considered men and women to be equal citizens in both rights and responsibilities. Aviation became increasingly popular in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) throughout the 1920s and 1930s, with many women receiving training alongside men in aviation and aircraft mechanics through local aero clubs. In September 1938, three Soviet women made a record-setting long distance flight across the Soviet Union in the Tupolev (ANT-37bis) DB-2B "Rodina" ("Motherland"). The previous year, Marina Raskova, navigator for the flight, had become the first female staff instructor at the Zhukhovski Air Academy; Raskova later trained as a pilot and became a popular role model for young women who went on to serve as military pilots and navigators during World War II. After the Nazis invaded the USSR in June 1941, Raskova was able to convince Soviet leaders that women were a valuable asset and could play a useful military role. Young women recruited to join the 122nd Composite Air Group were sent to the Engels Military Aviation School where they were divided into four groups to train as pilots, navigators, mechanics, or armorers, based on their previous experience. They received the same training as the male recruits. In early 1942, three regiments which had been formed out of the 122nd Composite Air Group were activated: the 586th Fighter Regiment (Air Defense), the 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment (later renamed as the 125th Guards Bomber Regiment), and the 588th Night Bomber Regiment (later renamed the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, also nicknamed by the Germans as die Nachthexen or "Night Witches"). By the end of the war the three regiments had flown a combined total of over 30,000 combat sorties, and many of the airwomen had been awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for their wartime service. Anne Noggle (1922--2005) was a fine art photographer recognized for her feminist artwork on women, aging, and self-portraiture. Noggle served as a Woman Airforce Service (WASP) pilot from 1943--1944, was a stunt pilot and crop duster after the war, and was a captain in the Air Force from 1953--1959. Noggle remained an active pilot throughout her lifetime. At 38 years old, Noggle pursued a college education and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art and art history, and a Master of Arts degree in photography from the University of New Mexico. She was the curator of photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art from 1970--1976 and taught photography as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico 1970--1984, which is recognized for their prestigious photography program. Noggle received numerous awards for her photographic work, including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Her work is in the permanent collections of the New Mexico Museum of Art, Albuquerque Museum, California Museum of Photography, Denver Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of the Art, the National Gallery of Canada, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Harn Museum at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Noggle also was the author of several books, including For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II, and A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II, which featured her portrait photography of the women fliers.
Arranged, described, and encoded by Patti Williams, 2021; revised and digitized by Melissa A. N. Keiser, 2022.
Noggle, Anne, 1922-
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Art Collection includes 117 print photographs created by photographer Anne Noggle.
Anne Noggle Foundation, Gift, 2021, NASM.2021.0014
0.28 Cubic feet (One flat box)
This collection consists of 35 reprints of historical images gathered for Anne Noggle's books, For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II (published 1990) and A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II (published 1994).
No restrictions on access
Photographs are arranged into two series; Series 1 consists of photographs relating to WASP training at Avanger Field, Sweetwater, Texas; Series 2 consists of Soviet World War II photographs. Folders containing photographs used in Noggle's books are arranged in page number order.
This collection consists of 35 large-format black and white photographic reprints of historical images gathered for Anne Noggle's books, For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II and A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II. From For God, Country and the Thrill of it there are 21 images (including nine not used in the book) relating to training of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) at Sweetwater, Texas. From A Dance with Death there are 12 images (including two not used in the book) relating to Soviet air personnel assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment (later renamed the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, also nicknamed by the Germans as die Nachthexen or "Night Witches"), the 125th Guards Bomber Regiment, and the 586th Fighter Regiment (Air Defense). Women pilots pictured include Marina Raskova, Lydia (Lilya) Litvyak, Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, and other Heroes of the Soviet Union.
Noggle, Anne. For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990. Noggle, Anne. A Dance With Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1994.
Women Airforce Service Pilots (U.S.)
World War, 1939-1945
Women -- Soviet Union -- History
Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) and Soviet Women Pilots Photographs [Noggle], Acc. NASM.2021.0014, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives