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WASP Frances J Smith

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This was a nice snapshot of a WASP pilot. Thankfully, her name was written on the back. It is a great picture of all the WASP insignia.

 

FRANCES J. SMITH (Tuchband)

 

WASP Class 44-2

Graduated 13 March 1944 (Gen. H.H. Arnold, Presiding)

 

b. March 16, 1922 in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Her father was an early airmail pilot, and in 1929, moved family to China to help start CNAC (China National Aviation Corp.). Became personal pilot for General Chiang Kai-Shek, for three years, but died of typhus and was buried in China.

 

Saved money and paid for flying lessons as soon as financially able, and soloed just before WWII started. As a WASP she was assigned to Dodge City, Kansas for B-26 training, and then to Boise, Idaho where she towed targets. Twice had to land B-26 on one engine.

 

I wonder if she would be shocked to learn that today the combined worth of her wings, uniform and insignia would be as valuable as it is today?

post-1519-1225421212.jpg

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Patrick, there was quite a clutch of WASP pilots living around the LAX area when I lived there in the sixties. One of them was Fran Bera who was flying for a FBO at the Long Beach Airport into the seventies or maybe even later. Fran was an FAA designated inspector for budding civilian pilots, rode with me for my instrument rating, and I don't think she ever missed flying in the Powder Puff Derby for years. I don't recall any other names at the moment, but knew of her through my flight instructor, Margaret Callaway, who was a friend of Fran's, but not a WASP herself--think her husband was an AAF pilot. Would be interesting to see if you could reconstruct which other pilots were in Fran's circle--suspect a number of them were WASPs.

 

Paul S.

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Patrick, there was quite a clutch of WASP pilots living around the LAX area when I lived there in the sixties. One of them was Fran Bera who was flying for a FBO at the Long Beach Airport into the seventies or maybe even later. Fran was an FAA designated inspector for budding civilian pilots, rode with me for my instrument rating, and I don't think she ever missed flying in the Powder Puff Derby for years. I don't recall any other names at the moment, but knew of her through my flight instructor, Margaret Callaway, who was a friend of Fran's, but not a WASP herself--think her husband was an AAF pilot. Would be interesting to see if you could reconstruct which other pilots were in Fran's circle--suspect a number of them were WASPs.

 

Paul S.

 

Interesting information Paul. The info I have for Mrs. Smith was supplied by David Hill, who I believe has spent not some inconsiderable time talking with surviving WASPs.

 

Patrick

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Nice photo patrick and thanks for posting.

 

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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