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Filing Cabinet - Pearl Harbor

Nancy Love's Proposal for Air Transport Squadron

Nancy Harkness Love suggested a program for women aviatrixes to the U.S. Army Air Corps. In a letter to Lt. Col. Robert Olds, an officer in the Plans Division of the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, she stated:*

"I've been able to find forty-nine qualified women pilots I can rate as excellent material ... There are probably at least fifteen more of these whom I don't know about and so haven't starred. I really think this list is up to handling pretty complicated stuff. Most of them have in the neighborhood of a thousand hours or more -- mostly more, and have flown a great many types of ships."

Envisioned here was the use of a small number of exceptionally well qualified women pilots who apparently would need only a minimum amount of training.

The Plans Division in June 1940 was considering "a plan of using approximately 100 women pilots as co-pilots in transport squadrons and for ferrying single engine aircraft thereby releasing a number of pilots for the GHQ Air Force." It proposed that the Air Corps give them short refresher courses, and after necessary legislation had been obtained, commission them as second lieutenants in the Air Corps Reserve.

The Chief of the Air Corps, Maj. Gen. H. H. Arnold, turned down the proposal but suggested that women flyers, if used as co-pilots in commercial airliners, would release male pilots for Army Services.**

* Nancy H. Love to Lt. Col. Robert Olds, 21 May 1940, quoted in "History of Women Pilots in the Air Transport Command" "Women Pilots in the ATC", Mrs. Love was the wife of Robert M. Love, then president of the Intercity Airlines, Inc., of Boston, later Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Transport Command.

** R&R Plans Div. To Exec., OCAC, 24 June 1940, and attached memo slip, BKY Brig. Gen. B. K. Yount to Col. S., cited in ibid., 4.

Source: AAF Historical Study No. 55 prepared by CWO J. Merton England in 1946.

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