During World War II, Gertrude Thompkins Silver joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was mainly tasked with aiding the transport of planes from different bases throughout the United States.
In addition to ferrying the aircrafts, her specific sector was also dedicated to training pilots and testing plans. And the entire branch was made up of all women– allowing male pilots to fly overseas and take on combat roles.
Despite remaining in the continental U.S., however, the WASPs had the exact same responsibilities and training as male pilots during the 1940s. But, it was not until 1977 that they were officially recognized as veterans.
This meant that the WASPs’ contributions and sacrifices went largely unrecognized until former President Obama awarded Congressional Medals of Honor in 2009 to commemorate the WASPs’ war effort contributions.
The Disappearance Of Gertrude Thompkins Silver
While growing up in Pennsylvania, Gertrude was known to be quiet and shy. But, after she began dating her boyfriend Stanley Kolendorski, he sparked her interest in the aviation world.
Stanley had flown for the Royal Air Force during World War II. Tragically, though, Nazi forces shot down his plan, and he was killed.
But, this devastating loss only fueled Gertrude’s fire, and she wound up enrolling in the WASPs– the only military branch she was allowed to enlist in at the time.
Gertrude suffered from a debilitating stutter. However, while flying, she tried her hardest to mask it.
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