Jump to content

Really cool WASP Group - Elizabeth Gardner


stratasfan
 Share

Recommended Posts

Found this on eBay and thought I'd post it. From the pictures, it looks like a killer grouping! 

 

image.png

 

 

Here is the link to the auction.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_L._Gardner

 

image.png

 

 

Cool lady! Flew B-26s, trained as a test pilot and flight instructor. Post-War, she was a commercial pilot with Piper Airccraft. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some more pics from the listing:

 

image.png

 

image.png

 

image.png

 

TWO Caterpillar pins!

 

image.png

 

image.png

s-l1600-6.jpg

s-l1600-1.jpg

s-l1600-5.jpg

s-l1600-4.jpg

s-l1600-2.jpg

s-l1600.jpg

s-l1600-3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't it? I was just browsing looking at pilot groups and found it. :) Then I had to read up on the WASP herself! Then I thought I'd share it! -grin-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, jeff41st said:

Here is legit WASP class ring for comparison

Sorry, class wing not ring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is another thread here with a robust discussion about this lot including at least one opinion that the wing is genuine. You can find that here:

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rathbonemuseum.com

I note with interest these notes from her Wikipedia entry:

 

The Piper badge 

In December 1944, the government disbanded WASP, and Gardner returned to the private sector. She was a commercial pilot after World War II, flying for Piper Aircraft Corporation in Pennsylvania.[10][21] In that capacity, she became involved in public relations, using her piloting skills to ferry Piper customers, meeting with the Department of Defense, and writing all of William T. Piper's speeches.[21]

 

The two parachute award badges

Gardner worked as a test pilot after the war, including for General Textile Mills, which was working on an aircraft parachute that was intended to safely land aircraft that became disabled in flight. She participated in at least two tests with the device in December 1945, both of which forced her to bail out of the aircraft when the parachute became tangled in the test aircraft. During the second incident, the aircraft entered a dive when its elevators were jammed by the parachute; Gardner escaped from the cockpit, but she was only 500 ft (150 m) from the ground when her own parachute opened.[22]

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Are those in another auction? If so, maybe the seller broke up an even larger grouping.

Interesting how the private sector adopted the caterpillar pin even after the war.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

manayunkman

The seller says that the photos will be part of this auction.

 

But dont take my word for it ask them.

 

Apparently they have a bunch of civilian photos too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the 2" shirt wing (top left) cast? It appears to have a couple voids on the lozenge and the back looks pretty much like a cast pin. Maybe its just salty and I'm seeing things?

image.png.8597c2d0fc133f6892bdcabcdd12c4a3.png

image.png.5a52b0f92fe460f1459215fe64cdfb94.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those little wings are more than likely reunion pieces.  IIRC the WASPs didn't have 2 inch wings issued to them during the short time they were active.  I do believe that these small wings were made for and given out at post war reunions that started in the 60's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5thwingmarty

I think the big patch and the ring are both school related, the ring says I believe Rockford and the patch is a big R.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By mid-late 1930's a lot of high schools and colleges started offering basic flight training classes through the CAA program. Eventually many of these programs would provide initial flight training for pilots going into the military once WWII started for the US. What is interesting to me, is that in 1939 or so, these programs were opened up to not just to white males, but were specifically available to African Americans (many of whom went on to be Tuskegee airmen) and women pilots.  I suspect that in 1939 you could get a class ring with some sort of personalized decoration (say you were a letter man, you could get a football, baseball or running shoes) on your ring.  That would explain her ring.  If I had to guess, I would say our beautiful Ms Gardner was interested in flying in high school and had taken some CAA programs before going on to college and the WASPs.

 

Prior to the CAA forming in the 1930's, many women who became pilots often had rich/wealthy husbands or families that would support their flying habits. Many of these ladies, once bitten by the flight bug became avid avatrix... er avatrixesses.... aviatrices er... aviatrixes!  We all  know about the Amelia Earhearts and Nancy Loves and Jackie Cochranes. If you are really interested in learning about the early success of women pilots, there is a great deal of information about them--read up on the 99s. They used to publish newsletters, many of which can be found on line. They had a LOT of different chapters and were really dedicated to supporting young women pilots (and some older pilots as well).  They sponsored air races of all sorts, and offered scholarships to young ladies.

 

My point is that I often get the impression that many collectors kind of focus on the WASPs as the beginning and ending of women aviation in the US.  Actually, there was a pretty interesting and vibrant community of early aviatrices that contributed to early civilian (and military) aviation that likely started right when Orvil and WIlbur's sister Whilimina said "big deal, I can do that too, but I'll do it backwards and while wearing high heels!"  LOL.... not really, but you see my point.

 

The WASPs always did have excellent public relations!  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...