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An Initiative of the Fayette County Cultural  Trust                                                   
 

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Florence Shutsy-Renolds - During WWII, a select group of young women became pilots, pioneers, heroes,and role models for our entire nation.  They were the WASP - Women Air force Service Pilots, the first women in history to fly American military aircraft.  It's important to note that this was a military experiment to learn if women were capable of flying high-performance aircraft.

The very first woman to earn a pilot's license from Connellsville became the only Fayette County, Pennsylvania,, member of the WASP.  This brave lady was Florence Shutsy-Renolds of Dunbar Township.  "When war broke out, I knew I wanted to do something to serve my country."

According to WASP history, 1,830 candidates were accepted, and 1,074 graduated from the training program.

Florence received her pilot's license in 1941.  Then, on December 1943, at the age of 20, she joined the WASP.  "My journey began
via train to Sweetwater, which is in West Texas, where I would soon become a trainee at Avenger Field."

WASP's were used to free men up for combat.  They flew military personnel,  cargo, ordnance,  and they flew military planes from the factories to the bases.  Some WASP were instructors; others towed targets for live ammunition ground crews.  Still others were involved in top-secret projects.  They also conducted countless test flights.  There were, at the time, seventy-eight different types of military aircraft,,and WASP collectively flew them all.

Since the WASP were not given military status as part of the Armed Forces until 1977, the 38 women who gave their fullest measure of themselves during WWII,, were not given military honors when they died.




The WASP Flag was designed by Florence Shutsy-Renolds and was officially adopted by the WASP in 1986.

The Silver Wings, on the WASP Flag and on their official pin, represent the Wings of Athena.  Athena is the goddess of war, but, unlike her male counterpart, she is also the goddess of wisdom.  The diamond in the center of the wings represents feminine valor and honor.  The thirty-eight gold stars, against the field of Santiago Blue, represent the thirty-eight WASP who gave their lives during WWII.