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Debbie Douglas on: The Formation of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS)
Debbie Douglas September 2, Tunner forwards his plan to Hap Arnold. It's not known whether Hap Arnold saw the plan, whether he acted on it, whether he gave a thumbs up. There's no written record of his reaction to the plan on that date but he must have given some kind of affirmative signal because Tunner and his superior officer George, General George, decide to go ahead and implement the plan.

And they schedule an announcement of this new training program for September 10. It's pretty widely known that this is going to happen. Eleanor Roosevelt writes a column on September 5 advocating again the use of women pilots in the military.

This is a proposal which is being circulated in the top corridors in Washington. It's not a secret. What we don't know is what Hap Arnold thought at that particular moment. We assume that it was an affirmative response because General George, Colonel Tunner authorized Nancy Love to send telegrams out to a group of women pilots to be . . .to come to Wilmington, Delaware and participate in a special ferrying squadron composed of women pilots. The announcement is set to take place on September 10th from Hap Arnold's office. On the 10th, Love and Tunner arrive to make the public announcement and are greeted not by Hap Arnold but the Secretary of the War, Henry Stimpson. Hap Arnold was called out of the office at that day, the Secretary of War makes the formal public announcement that the United States is going to recruit a small, elite group of women pilots to participate in the war effort. That group is known as the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron or WAFS.

And the announcement is made. It hits the newspapers and coincidentally, Jackie Cochran is returning from Britain that very day and she picks up the newspapers, looks at the headlines - which announce the formation of this squadron - and she's outraged because she had been proposing this idea for about three years and everyone had assured her that if there was to be a proposed, if there was to be a group of women pilots, she would be in charge of them.

Jackie Cochran storms into Hap Arnold's office the next day, the 11th and says What is this? What is going on? According to Cochran, Arnold claims that he knew nothing of it; that it was done underneath him, that he had no knowledge of this plan and that he was just as mad as she was and they would certainly do something about it. What that something was, nobody knew but within a matter of days what grew out of that angry encounter between Jacquelyn Cochran and Hap Arnold was a training program for women pilots - what became known as the Women's Flying Training Detachment, with the awkward name Woof-teds or Woof-Teddies, as they sometimes called themselves. This was to be a program that would train less experienced women pilots to fly for the WAFS program, to fly for the ferrying division. At this point, Jackie had taken 23, 24 pilots over to Britain; Nancy Love had sent out telegrams to 27. That was about it for the real elite pilots in the nation. Women who had more than 500 hours of flying time, who flew multi-engines, who had commercial ratings - there just wasn't that many more women who had skills at that level. So what Cochran proposed was a training program for women who were still experienced, who had 200 hours, who were high school graduates, preferably college graduates, mature women. That she would bring them in and that she would, with some additional training, get them to the level of that elite 50 or 60 that had been recruited to serve in England and with Nancy Love's group, the WAFS.

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