Women in the Air Force and Coast Guard

This photograph shows Lieutenant Virginia N. Justy looking at documents at a table in the United States 8th Air Force headquarters operations room, possibly outside London, England during World War II.
Source: Library of Congress. Frissell, Toni, photographer. Lt. Virginia N. Justy, 502 1/2 South Ogden St., Los Angeles, Calif., in front of Airdrome status map in ops. room. England, 1945. [January] Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017646161/.

Continuing our focus on women in the armed forces, this post will delve into women in the Air Force and Coast Guard.

Air Force—Much like the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (WAC) for the Army during World War II, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) provided essential support to the United States’ war effort. Women pilots who had been trained by WASP flew 80 percent of all ferrying missions, delivering over 12,000 aircraft. Stationed at air bases across the U.S. during the war, they proved their worth time and time again.

Coast Guard women honor World War heroes of U.S. Coast Guard. The members of the United States Coast Guard who gave their lives during the World War were signally honored in Washington today by the League of Coast Guard Women when they journeyed to Arlington National Cemetery to place a wreath on the Coast Guard Memorial. Mrs I.W. Buckalow, of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, is shown placing the wreath Delegates from the various units of the League of Coast Guard Women in all parts of the country are also shown in the photograph.
Source: Library of Congress. Harris & Ewing, photographer. United States United States, 1928. November 9. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2016889083/.

Coast Guard—
A few women served in the Naval Coastal Defense Reserve during World War I, but World War II saw a much larger group of women join them. Formed around the same time as the other auxiliaries during World War II, the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve welcomed a total of 11,868 enlisted women and 978 female officers throughout the course of the war, paving the way for women in the Coast Guard up through today.


Cole, Jean Hascall and Wendy Cole, (1992). Women Pilots of World War II. University of Utah Press. 

Tilley, John A., (1992). A History of Women in the Coast Guard.