Letters Home: 1944-1945
Women Airforce Service Pilots
by Bernice ‘Bee’ Falk Haydu
In February of 1944 Bernice Falk was accepted into the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II (WASP). Her mother saved the letters Bee wrote home describing her training and tour of active duty. They tell a fascinating storyof her military experiences and some of the problems she had to overcome in order to become and remain a professional pilot. She explains how aviation and piloting continued to be an important part of her life while rearing a family who all learned to love flying. She also chronicles the WASP struggle to be recognized as veterans during her term as president of their organization.
I was having a difficult time finding a book to share after finishing my thesis last week and starting Camp NaNoWriMo this week. I wanted something uplifting and inspirational for the 4th of July and then I remembered a gem that holds a cherished spot on my shelves.
I purchased my copy of Letters Home from Bee Haydu at the EAA Airventure Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin a few years ago. I was inspired by the eighty year old woman and her flight stories. Letters Home is a collection of personal letters from Bee to her mother during her flight training with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs. The WASPs were ferry pilots for the United States during World War II and Bee includes informational passages about the WASPs, World War II aviation, and the role of female pilots. She provides readers with a detailed description of life during the early 1940s, when these women were fighting against social norms to fly. Letters Home documents how Bee followed her dreams into the sky and the life of flight that followed.
Her story is an inspiration to me because I am a fellow female aviator, but I believe non-pilots would enjoy this spunky woman’s story. I have been blessed to speak with Bee Haydu on multiple occasions, and have heard more stories each time. Haydu and her fellow veterans are part of America’s greatest generation and her story is a perfect read on America’s Independence Day. Letters Home can be found on Amazon and please visit the WASP Museum to learn more about the daring female pilots of World War II.
Let me know if you have any questions about the WASPs and aviation. Happy Fourth of July everyone!