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Debbie Douglas on: Jackie Cochran's Second Proposal
Debbie Douglas So, Cochran denied, picks up on her second idea which is to take a group of American women to Britain, and she formulates a proposal and a plan to recruit about 25 women in the plan - train them and then send them to England. And she undergoes elaborate search process, really scans through the names at the Bureau of Commerce Records and then she sends out telegrams to several women, most of whom accept her offer. They come to New York, they're interviewed. She really hand-picks a group of women that she sees as elite, highly skilled pilots, very talented. She wants women who will succeed. She does not want to send a group of women to Britain that are going to wash out in their training program.

So, she sends out the letters. Ultimately 23 women get sent in that group; 24 go, one washes out in Canada and comes home before she even gets to Britain. That program is very successful. In the summer of `42 they really are going into Britain and are a big help. Cochran goes over to Britain in the late summer to check up and see how they're doing. It's at precisely this moment that Colonel Tunner, who is the head of the ferrying division, has pushed through Nancy Love's proposal that he'd solicited earlier in the summer, in June, for the use of women pilots. Tunner doesn't know anything about Cochran's proposal. What Tunner knows is that he needs pilots and he needs them fast and he needs them from any source. He's hiring them off the street, he's hiring them as civilians, he's recruiting them in the military - any way he can get pilots, he does. He likes Nancy, and he really likes Bob Love, who works for him. So he has some expectations that what Nancy has proposed is doable and that she could oversee a successful effort. Proposals get sent to Hap Arnold at the end of the summer, in fact in the beginning of September they're sent to Hap Arnold.

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