Love’s Prominence Essay

1006 words - 5 pages

Nancy Harkness Love was one of the most influential women in aviation history. Born in 1914, the Houghton, Michigan native was the daughter of Dr. Robert and Alice Harkness. She studied at Milton Academy and Vassar, and had had her pilot’s license since the age of sixteen, while in high school. When at Milton Academy, a school that was strict about driving policies but did not have any rules against flying, she flew through a boy’s school’s campus as a prank, and got into trouble for it. When she left college, she took jobs in Beechcraft and Waco selling aircrafts before working for Inter-City Air Lines, owned and run by a young Princeton and MIT alumnus named Robert Love, whom ...view middle of the document...

At the age of twenty-eight, Love was the director of the Women's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS) where she commanded 25 experienced female pilots. Their first operation of transferring liaison planes was in October of1942.
In August of 1942, the WAFS had more than 225 women, and was taken over by Jackie Cochran and her Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Love commanded the transport missions, and the women under her command flew nearly all types of military aircraft in use at the time. They also were called upon to demonstrate the safety and proper use of certain airplanes, moist notably the “flying coffin’, the high-speed P-39 pursuit plane.
At the time, the air force had decreed that women could only fly the delicate, simple aircraft. Love was the first woman to fly all of the military-grade aircraft including multi-engine attack aircraft, medium bombers, and transports. Other WAFS and female pilots followed in her footsteps. In April 1944, her ferrying division consisted of 300 pilots and completed one half of all aircraft transportation. In December of the same year, WASP was disbanded. In 1945, Love received an Air Medal signed by President Truman. Before her death from cancer in 1976 at the age of 62, she was awarded “woman of the year” by the WASP alumni group, Fifiella. Thirteen years after she died, she was immortalized in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. Now, she is also in the National Aviation hall of Fame.
Nancy Harkness Love is, in my opinion, an incredible woman. She was an avid, but not attention-seeking feminist; she was a deft pilot, and an ace commander. She had aviation skills far exceeding those of most men, and she built a position for women in the Army Air Force. Love chose pilots with a high success rate, who all had the hopes of their entire gender resting on their shoulders, the skills top back up their claims to a woman’s worth in the...

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