Lacey Opdycke

Date Approved


Degree Type

Campus Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

History and Philosophy

Committee Member

Steven Ramold, Ph.D, Chair

Committee Member

Jesse Kauffman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John McCurdy, Ph.D.


The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were a group of 1,102 women trained by the Army Air Forces (AAF) for the purpose of freeing male AAF pilots for combat duties overseas. From the inception of the WASP program in 1943, it was understood that the women would gain a militarized status. However, they were never militarized, and were disbanded in December of 1944. This thesis addresses how the WASP were discriminated against based on their status as women, and how this unjust discrimination impacted their ability to become militarized and gain eventual veterans’ status in the late 1970s. It also aims to widen and expand upon the sparse historiography of the WASP and women’s military history as a whole, provides insight on women’s roles within the armed forces, and the unique struggles they faced, and serves as a new insightful approach to the social history of the Second World War. iii