Two Aspen women earn recognition as WWII pilots |

Two Aspen women earn recognition as WWII pilots

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Two Aspen women, Ruth Brown and Elizabeth Pfister, are among 10 women from Colorado who will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for their service during World War II as Women Airforce Service Pilots.

The ceremony will take place March 10 at the U.S. Capitol. Nearly 70 years since their service, the WASP will be honored for their trailblazing efforts as the first civilian female pilots to fly military aircraft under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Forces. Of 1,102 WASP, fewer than 300 survive today, according to officials in Washington, D.C.

Nearly half of the survivors and more than 1,000 family members are expected to travel to Washington for the ceremony.

Through their heroic and patriotic actions, the WASP helped pave the way for the women military aviators of today. Not granted military status until 1977, the women pilots had to pay their own way to training, set up collections to help send fallen WASP home, and after the program was terminated, pay their own way home.

The Congressional Gold Medal ceremony is expected to be attended by special guests, including retired Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, the first woman to serve as a presidential military aide and a pioneering Coast Guard aviator; retired Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman astronaut to command a space shuttle; and Major Nicole Malachowski, who initiated legislation to recognize the WASP and was the first female to serve as an Air Force Thunderbird pilot.

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