Original U.S. WWII Women Air Force Service Pilots Signed Playing Cards - 20 Cards, 7 Pilots - WASP

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set of 20 Available. This is a fantastic partial playing card set featuring 7 different “WASP” pilot signatures on 20 playing cards. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) (also Women's Army Service Pilots or Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots) was a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft, and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. Despite various members of the armed forces being involved in the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing.

WASP was preceded by the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). Both were organized separately in September 1942. They were pioneering organizations of civilian women pilots, who were attached to the United States Army Air Forces to fly military aircraft during World War II. On August 5, 1943, the WFTD and WAFS merged to create the WASP organization.

The WASP arrangement with the US Army Air Forces ended on December 20, 1944. During its period of operation, each member's service had freed a male pilot for military combat or other duties. They flew over 60 million miles; transported every type of military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one, Gertrude Tompkins, disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still unknown. In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were granted veteran status, and in 2009 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Signatures In This Lot:
- Dawn Seymour: Dawn Seymour (July 1, 1917-July 18, 2017) was a Women Airforce Service Pilot during World War II. She would later lobby for military status for the Women Airforce Service Pilots as well as encourage recognition of their contributions to the war effort during World War II. She was born in Rochester, New York on July 1, 1917. She was the first woman accepted into the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Cornell University. In 1939, she earned a bachelor's degree at Cornell University. During WWII, she was a Women's Airforce Service Pilot, or WASP at Buckingham Air Force Base in Florida. She actively campaigned for military status for the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Her 100th birthday party was celebrated at the opening reception of Women in Aviation International's 2017 annual conference. She died aged 100 on July 18, 2017.

- Ann G. Baumgartner Carl: Ann G. Baumgartner Carl (August 27, 1918-March 20, 2008) was an American aviator who became the first American woman to fly a United States Army Air Forces jet aircraft when she flew the Bell YP-59A jet fighter at Wright Field as a test pilot during World War II. She was assigned to Wright Field as an assistant operations officer in the fighter test section as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots program. Ann G. Baumgartner was born in the United States Army Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, on August 27, 1918. Her father was stationed in France, so her mother moved the family to New Jersey to live with her grandparents. After her father returned to the United States, her family relocated to Plainfield, New Jersey. Her father was an engineer and patent attorney. Her inspiration to fly came from a visit by Amelia Earhart to her grade school. She went to Newark Airport with her father to watch the mail planes come in at night. Baumgartner graduated from Walnut Hill High School in Natick, Massachusetts, and then attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts where she graduated in 1940 as a pre-med major. While working in the Eastern Airlines public relations department, Baumgartner learned to fly at Somerset Hills Airport in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Originally, Baumgartner reported to Houston, Texas in January 1943 to be in the Women Airforce Service Pilots Class of 43- W-3, but she became ill with the measles and thus graduated on July 3, 1943, with the fifth WASP class (43-W-5). After completing the training, Baumgartner was assigned to Camp Davis in North Carolina as a tow target pilot. Camp Davis was an artillery training base and the WASPs flew as visual and radar tracking targets, Baumgartner flew the Douglas A-24, Curtiss A-25, Lockheed B-34, Cessna UC-78 and Stinson L-5 while at Camp Davis. In February 1944, Baumgartner transferred to Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio for a temporary assignment to test aeromedical equipment being designed for the WASP program. While in Ohio, Baumgartner applied for an assignment in the Flight Test Division at Wright Field as an assistant operations officer. In March 1944 she was transferred to Wright Field as an assistant operations officer in the fighter test section. Originally her duties were primarily clerical but over time she was permitted to fly as a test pilot.

Additionally, Baumgartner was assigned to transport staff officers to other Army bases, and delivered planes as required. When Baumgartner worked in the bomber flight test division for a short time, she gained pilot and copilot experience in the B-17, B-24, B-29, the British de Havilland Mosquito, and the German Junkers Ju 88. After her reassignment back to the fighter test division, she flew America's first jet aircraft, the Bell YP-59A on October 14, 1944, becoming the first American woman to fly a jet. Her assignment as a fighter flight test pilot at Wright Field ended in December 1944 when the WASP program was disbanded.

Baumgartner married Major William Carl on May 2, 1945. She met Carl, who designed the Twin Mustang P-82, while flight testing the plane. Carl continued his career as an engineer and later designed and built hydrofoil boats for the United States Navy and Grumman Aerospace. Together they had two children. With her husband she sailed the Atlantic twice and cruised the Mediterranean, the British Isles, and the French Canals. While her children were young, she worked in flight instruction and for United Airlines and third pilots at Zahn's Airport on Long Island. Her flight ratings included private, commercial, instrument, multi-engine, flight instruction and instrument. Later she became a journalist who specialized in science. During the final years of her life, Baumgartner (then Carl) resided in Kilmarnock, Virginia, with her husband. She continued writing, and authored A WASP among Eagles: a woman military test pilot in World War II that discussed her experience as an experimental test pilot in World War II. She also wrote "The Small World of Long Distance Sailors". Carl died at a nursing home in Kilmarnock on March 20, 2008. She was preceded in death by her husband on February 19, 2008.

- (3 Cards) Violet “Vi” Cowden: Violet "Vi" Cowden (October 1, 1916-April 10, 2011) was an American aviator who served as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. Cowden was one of the surviving members of the 1,074 WASPs, who were the first women to fly American military planes. Cowden was born Violet Thurn and raised on a farm in Bowdle, South Dakota. She taught first grade students in Spearfish, South Dakota. Cowden was issued her pilot's license before the United States entered World War II. She initially enlisted in the a volunteer women's emergency service program following the Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. However, before her basic training began, Cowden joined another all women's program created by Jacqueline Cochran and General Hap Arnold through the Army Air Corps, which came to be called the Women Airforce Service Pilots. or WASP. However, Cowden who weighed only 92 pounds and stood at just 5-feet- 2-inches tall at the time, was too short and too light to join the WASPs. To quickly gain weight she ate bananas and drank milk and to make herself taller she tied a wrap in her hair. She successfully gained the eight additional pounds and two inches needed to enlist. Cowden was commissioned as a member of the WASPS in March 1943. She successfully flew her first solo flight on March 5, 1943. The WASPs, including Cowden, became the first women in US history to pilot American military planes. Cowden and other members of WASP did not see combat during World War II. Their mission was to fly military planes from domestic military factories to training sites or military bases in the United States. Cowden became one of only 114 WASP to fly the fighter planes during the war, including the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-39 AiraCobra, P-63 Kingcobra, and her favorite and the "love of her life," the P-51 Mustang. Cowden, a long-time resident of Huntington Beach, California, remained very active in community affairs throughout her life. She served as the Grand Marshal of Huntington Beach's Independence Day parade. Cowden was also a member of the board of directors for the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and participated in the city's Veterans Day celebration and beach restorations. She participated in "Living History" in which World War II veterans gave speeches and presentations at high schools in southern California and was on the Board of Directors at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California where they display many of the fighter planes that she flew during World War II and now display her WASP uniform. Cowden was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010, as one of only 300 surviving members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Supporters had lobbied for the recognition for WASP for more than a decade. She was also the subject of the 2010 independent film, Wings of Silver. The Vi Cowden Story, directed by Mark & Christine Bonn. Among the 10 awards that her film won was the Audience Award for short films at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2010. (in less than a year it won 5 Audience Awards and 5 Best Documentary Short awards from film festivals around North America). Cowden went skydiving with the elite Army Golden Knights when she was 89 years old. On her 90th birthday she decided to go paragliding. In 2010, Cowden took part in an aerial mock dogfight over Fullerton Municipal Airport in Orange County, California. And in 2009 she again flew in the Collings Foundation P-51c Mustang, co- piloting and taking the stick for take off, landing & some fast flying in between. Violet Cowden died at 8:34 p.m. on April 10, 2011, at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, at the age of 94.

- (3 Cards) Florence Miller Watson: Florene Miller Watson (December 7, 1920- February 4, 2014) was an American aviator and educator from Texas. Watson was one of the first Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) volunteers. She went on to fly for the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) throughout World War II. During that time, she worked as a trainer, ferried aircraft and was a test pilot. Watson was born as Florene Miller in San Angelo, Texas on December 7, 1920. Her first airplane ride was at the age of 8 when she had the chance to ride in a WWI Barnstormer. She started attending Baylor College in 1938. She and her father both enjoyed airplanes and when she was in her second year of college, her father bought a Luscombe airplane so he and his family could learn to fly. Watson went home to learn to fly with her father. Watson finished flight school and had her first solo fight by age 19. She went on to earn her commercial pilot's license, her ground-school and flight instructor ratings and also learned aerobatics. She started teaching men to fly in the War Training Program in Odessa. Her father and her brother died in a plane crash on July 4, 1941. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, she volunteered for the Army Air Corps. In 1942, Watson became one of the 25 women who were qualified for the original Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) which later became the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). In January 1943, she became the Commanding officer of the WASPS stationed at Love Field, Dallas. The next year, she started working as a test pilot. Watson got the chance to fly all of the aircraft used by the Air Corps during the war, with her favorite being the American P-51 Mustang. After the war, Watson chose not to fly again. She felt that she had flown every plane she wanted to and that being a pilot would take money away from her family. She said, "I had accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish." Watson married Chris Watson, a former flight student of hers and together they raised two daughters. Watson attended Lamar State College of Technology, where she majored in secretarial science. She earned her MBA from the University of Houston (UH). She taught college for 30 years, working at UH, Howard College and Frank Phillips College. Watson was featured in the 1993 documentary, Women of Courage, shown on PBS. She became the first woman to be inducted into the Panhandle Veterans Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2001, Watson was part of the Gathering of Eagles. She was inducted into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2005. She died on February 4, 2014.

- (4 Cards) Clarice Siddall Bergeman: Clarice Siddall Bergeman, WASP 44-W-2 She was born on July 10, 1918 in Watford, Ontario, Canada. She graduated from Alliance High School in 1936 and from Sargent College, Boston University Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1940, with a degree in health and physical education. She started flying lessons at McKinley Airport in Piper J-3's and J-5 Cub and got her pilot's license in 1943. She saw an announcement in the local paper that women pilots were being accepted for training in military aircraft so she applied and was accepted into the WASP class of 44-2. Upon graduation she was assigned to B-26 school and then went to Victoria Texas to tow targets for P-47 gunnery practice and then to Waco, Texas to test BT-13's. After the war she returned home and became a flight instructor at Miller Airport in North Benton, Ohio where she met and married William E. Bergemann, one of her student pilots. Clarice and Bill had four children William E; Christena Ann: Jennie Louise; and Nancy Jo Snee. Clarice Siddall Bergemann passed away Oct 26 2004.

- (4 Cards) Doris Lockness: Doris Lockness (February 2, 1910-January 30, 2017) was a pioneering American aviator. Lockness was born in Pennsylvania in 1910 and began flying in 1939 and worked as a liaison engineer at Douglas Aircraft Company. She left in 1943 to join the Women Air Force Service Pilots. After the war she continued in aviation, working as a flight instructor and performing at air shows. In 1996 Lockness was awarded a Whirly Girls Livingston Award and in 1997 she was awarded the NAA's Katherine Wright Memorial Trophy. Also in 1997, a biography of Lockness was included in a "Women and Flight" exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum. Lockness died in 2017, three days before her 107th birthday.

- (4 Cards) Madge Leon Moore: Madge Leon Moore (January 22, 1922 December 22, 2016) was an American aviator. She served in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. Moore ferried planes during the war and after the dissolution of WASP, lived as a homemaker. She received the Congressional Gold Medal for her service in 2010. Moore was born in Rule, Texas and was raised in Haskell, Texas. Moore went to Haskell High School. Moore's early flight instruction included learning to trust the airplane itself. She recalled that her flight instructor told her "to take her hands and feet off the controls" so that she could see that the plane would stay in the air on its own. One of her first flight passengers was her mother. Moore graduated from Southern Methodist University and attended Texas State College for Women. She began training in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) on November 1, 1943 at Avenger Field. Her parents, who supported her desire to serve, drove her to training. She graduated from her WASP training on May 23, 1944. Moore was stationed at Perrin Field. As a WASP, she ferried planes, some of which no longer had functioning instruments, forcing her to use dead reckoning. Many of the planes she flew were from Kelly Field, which was closing and she most often ferried BT-13s and AT-6s. She also tested planes after they were repaired. Moore married Captain Stanley L. Moore in 1945 and the couple settled in Sherman, Texas where Stanley was stationed. She went on to live as a homemaker and stay at home mother. In 2010, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her service as a WASP.

A lovely deck of cards packed full of research potential! Comes more than ready for further research and display.

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