Lt. Robert Williams briefs pilot Lorena Daily

A woman and a man look at a document, which appears to be balanced on an airplane.

When military leaders agreed and approved the creation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), about 25,000 American women applied to be an auxiliary part of the home-front army. A fraction of the applicants — 1,820 in total —were accepted into the program, and 1,074 graduated. The WASP flew 60 million miles in all types of military aircraft, including fighters and B-17 and B-29 bombers, and paved the way for today’s fully vested female military pilots. These women ferried aircraft, cargo and personnel; tested aircraft; and towed targets throughout the 48 states, filling in gaps left by male pilots who had been sent to war. 

Here, Lt. Robert Williams, a maintenance officer, briefs Lorena Daily, a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) before she departs with a Beechcraft C-45 assigned to the Royal Air Force (probably for multiengine training). Daily had learned to fly from famed barnstormer “Tex” Rankin. She joined the WASP in 1943 and ferried a range of aircraft across the U.S., including the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.