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Aviator, Test PilotHanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was Germany's most famous female aviator and test pilot, starting in the early 1930s. During the Nazi era, she and Melitta von Stauffenberg flight tested many of the regime's new aircraft.
"Night Witches" (German: Nachthexen; Russian: Ночные ведьмы, Nochnye Vedmy) was a World War II German nickname for the women military aviators of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known later as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, of the Soviet Air Forces. Though women were initially barred from combat, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin issued an order on October 8, 1941 to deploy three women's air force units, including the 588th regiment. The regiment, formed by Colonel Marina Raskova and led by Major Yevdokia Bershanskaya, was made up entirely of women volunteers in their late teens and early twenties.
WOMEN IN AVIATION In early 1943, as World War II raged on, several different plans to utilize female aviators to help perform pilot duties (everything except combat) were consolidated at Avenger Field in Sweetwater. Known as the WASP (Women’s Air Force Service Pilots), the program introduced something the country had never seen before – women flying military planes. Heritage travelers can learn all about this highly successful program at the National Wasp World War II Museum, housed in Hangar 1. Inside you’ll find photos of WASP trainees, life-sized cutouts of the leaders of the program, and information exploring the seventy-seven different types of aircraft flown by the WASPs. Look for the WASP wings, designed especially for the WASPs with its center diamond symbolizing the shield of Athena, Greek goddess of war. At war’s end, all WASP records were classified and sealed, a policy that lasted for the next 35 years. The women who served finally received full military status in 1977 with