September 10, 1942
The Army Air Forces announced the formation of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), a group of licensed and experienced women flyers who would be employed in ferrying new aircraft from airplane factories to air bases across the country, thus freeing for other duties airmen currently performing this task. The new squadron was the idea of its commander, Nancy Harkness Love ’35, who flown planes since before she came to Vassar. While in college, she earned extra money taking other students for plane rides in rented aircraft.
Unlike the women serving in the WAVES, the WAFS remained non-commissioned civilians and received pay as civil servants. In 1943, the WAFS merged with another women’s unit to become the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the WASPs, under Mrs. Love’s direction. Over 300 women served as WAFS or WASPs during the war.
In the spring of 1944, 22 students organized the Vassar Flying Club. The group consisted of three already licensed pilots and 19 students learning to fly at the Lime Ridge Airport near Pawling, NY. Their goal was either to gain commercial licenses or to take the training necessary for admission to the WASPs.