For God, Country, and the Thrill of It by Limited Online Accecss. American women pilots garnered much attention during the Gulf War, but American women were in fact military pilots as far back as World War II. Anne Noggle, now a photographer and author based in Albuquerque, has captured the spirit of these dynamic aviation pioneers in her photographic book For God, Country, and the Thrill of It. In 1943-44 Noggle was a WASP--a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots group, the country's first women military pilots. She and her colleagues disproved assertions that women would be too emotional or high-strung to fly military aircraft. They flew every type of plane in use at the time, initially ferrying aircraft wherever they were needed and later serving as test pilots and "enemy" in training maneuvers for male combat flyers. Earning $50 a month less than male counterparts in noncombatant roles, WASPs were called on several times to test planes, such as the P-39, that male flyers had declared "flying coffins." The women flyers had better records and adhered to flight regulations, and after their test flights the military declared that the planes were indeed safe to fly--if flown properly. Still, thirty-eight WASPs did lose their lives on active duty. Not until 1979, however, did Congress affirm that these women had been in active military service and were thus eligible for veterans' benefits. Women Airforce Service Pilots had been abruptly dismissed in December 1944, when it was decided that they were no longer needed. Since 1944 Anne Noggle has been a flight instructor, a crop duster, and an air show pilot. More recently she has turned her considerable energy and enthusiasm toward photography and serves on the arts faculty at the University of New Mexico. It was at the 1986 WASP reunion at their old training ground on the flat prairies of Sweetwater, Texas, that Anne Noggle made the stunning photographs of these military pioneers. The Chicago Tribune reported that "the portraits, taken against a neutral background that focuses attention on the women themselves, are the heart of the book. . . . Pride and confidence are hallmarks of these pictures. Some women wear their uniforms and the rest wear every manner of civilian dress. But all of them wear their wings and their age with the distinct bearing of people who challenged their own strength of character and won." The WASP portraits have been exhibited across the country. Ms. Noggle's interest in photography on women's experiences in the military took her to Moscow three times, even as the Soviet Union dissolved. Her forthcoming book, A Dance with Death (fall 1994), presents the stories of the Soviet Union's female combat pilots in World War II, along with historic photographs and contemporary portraits by Noggle.
Call Number: WilmU Print OVERSIZE D790 .N64 1990
Publication Date: 1990-05-01