Women of Flight

By Lisa Cavanaugh

The civilian volunteers who made up the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) forever changed the role of women in aviation. This year, the Marconi-RCA Wireless Museum in North Chatham is hosting a special exhibit on the pioneering WASP, which included nine women who were stationed at Otis Field on what is now Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne.

The exhibit “Breaking Barriers—Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of WWII” tells the story of the more than 1,000 female pilots who were under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during the second World War. As male pilots were sent to combat duty in the European and Pacific theaters, WASP, all of whom had prior flight experience and certification, flew millions of miles in every type of military aircraft, including B-26 and B-29 bombers. They ferried planes around the country, as well as into the war zones; towed gunnery targets; transported equipment and personnel, and flight-tested aircraft.

The display, which is housed in the museum’s Wireless History Gallery, combines interactive elements, artifacts and informative panels, and features material from the National WASP Museum in Sweetwater, Texas, and the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, Georgia.

The Wireless History Gallery at Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, 831 Orleans Road, is open 1-4 p.m. every Friday through Dec. 1, with additional hours on Thanksgiving weekend and during Chatham’s Christmas stroll weekend. For more information, visit chathammarconi.org or call 508-945-8889.