Talks in Liberty Twp. highlight World War II female pilots

Local News

It is a part of a series of talks offered by the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society

LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – There was a talk Saturday in Liberty Township to highlight the brave female pilots in World War II, who organizers say often go unnoticed.

It is a part of a series of talks offered by the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society.

Marilyn Mong has been researching the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) for over 30 years.

On Saturday, she led a discussion at Kravitz Deli, putting the spotlight on women with ties to the area.

WASP is women pilot’s organization formed in 1943, when America had a shortage of pilots for World War II.

“Women could fly non-combat missions in the United States and free up the men for combat,” said Mong.

There were just over 1,000 women in this group. One of those women was Marie Barret Marsh from Youngstown.

Marsh joined WASP after completing the civilian pilot program at the former Youngstown College, now YSU.

During the war, she was stationed in North Carolina.

“After the war, she and her husband had a small grass air strip in Vienna,” said Mong.

“I was a teenager in World War II. My dad entered the army and we moved to New Jersey,” said Margaret Grace from Liberty Twp.

Grace’s personal connection to the war makes her interested in any of its history. She came to learn more about women’s involvement because of that and she’s passing down encouragement to younger women she knows.

“I think this gives us an opportunity to share some of what she said to younger people who might have very interesting dreams but aren’t sure they can go after them,” Grace said.

Other former WASP members with local ties include Margaret Kirchner, Nadine Harris Bluhm, Donna Spellick and Wilda Winfield.

These women were not able to gain “war veteran” status until a bill was passed in 1977.

“It took, what, 40 years, but it finally came to pass. The women pilots of today have shown they are just as competent as the male pilots,” Mong said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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