WASP Flew into History – Even If Few Knew

Mildren Jane Doyle (middle of back row) poses with fellow classmates in Sweetwater, Texas.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (November 20, 2017) – Mildred (Jane) Doyle, a resident of Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, is one of last living members of Women Airforce Service Pilots program (WASP).

She was one of 1,072 women recruited by the U.S. Army Air Forces to fly Stateside during World War II in order to free up male pilots to serve in combat overseas.

Several years ago Doyle, who is 96, and some other WASPs received the Congressional Gold Medal for their service. The medal bears the inscription “The first women in history to fly American Military Aircraft.” They are credited with opening the doors to opportunities for women to serve in the military.

An article in the Detroit Free Press featuring Doyle notes that she and the other WASP pilots flew 60,000,000 miles of operation flights between 1942 and 1944 and piloted 78 types of aircraft.

Doyle told the paper, “The first time I got up, I felt like an angel looking down on the Earth. It was so interesting, the patterns of everything, and you’d see things from above that you never even noticed on the ground, and yet things that were important on the ground were insignificant when you were flying. And so, I just loved it.”

Covenant Village of the Great Lakes is administered by Ccovenant Retirement Communities on behalf of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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