Due to work by the city inside the building we will be opening at 1230pm on our Resident's Free Tuesday on May 14th.

World War II

During World War II, Cochran participated in Wings for Britain, an organization that supplied aircraft to Great Britain. As a result, she became the first female to fly a bomber aircraft, specifically a Lockheed Hudson V, over the Atlantic Ocean.

Hudsons on the assembly line at Lockheed's Burbank plant.

While she was in Great Britain, Cochran worked for the British Transport Auxiliary as a recruiter. She reached out to other female pilots in the United States and brought them back to Great Britain to serve the organization. About 10% of the organization’s pilots were female and they earned the same wages as male pilots. 

TOP: Jackie Cochran in her Air Transport Auxiliary uniform. Bottom: Cochran's ATA uniform in the SDASM collection.

Cochran’s work for the organization earned her the rank of Flight Captain. She proposed a similar program for the United States that would train females to pilot military aircraft for transport. Simultaneously, fellow pilot Nancy Love was proposing a program that organized experienced female pilots to transport military aircraft immediately. As a result, two organizations emerged out of World War II: the Women’s Flying Training Detachment directed by Cochran and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron directed by Love. 

Cochran and a P-51 deliver a strong message.

Based at Avenger Field in Texas, Cochran’s program began with military instructors providing military aircraft flight training to females. Upon completion, the newly trained female pilots would enroll in Love’s program. Eventually, both programs combined to create the Women Air Force Service Pilots, or WASP, with Cochran as the director. During the final year of the war, over 1,000 female pilots flew about 12,650 aircraft more than 60 million miles. 

Wasps approach a Douglas Dauntless divebomber.

Video presented at the 2009 Gala for the WASPs induction into the SDASM's International Air & Space Hall of Fame.

Wasps prepare to pilot North American O-47s.

Top: Jackie Cochran's WASP wings and pin from the SDASM Curatorial collection, which can be seen in the lower photo.

Jackie Cochran's War Correspondent uniform, currenlty on loan from SDASM to the Palm Springs Air Museum.

However, the end of the war brought the WASP program to a close. Still, Cochran received the Distinguished Service Medal for her direction of the program. In addition to her work with the WASPS, Cochran was a correspondent for "Liberty" magazine.

One of the many awards presented to Jackie Cochran in the SDASM collection.

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San Diego Air & Space Museum

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