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  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

LeadHERship Lessons From My Mom And The Women Airforce Service Pilots

Eileen with her Mother, Mary Reineberg, W.A.S.P. Veteran

The year was 1942 and the war had never looked bleaker. Every able-bodied pilot was needed to fly combat missions in the European and Pacific theaters. But if the male pilots left, who would do the domestic military flying? Who would ferry aircraft from coast to coast? Who would tow targets for gunnery practice with live ammunition? Who would test the planes coming off the assembly line?

Into that void stepped aviator Jacqueline Cochran with an idea for Colonel Hap Arnold. Women could take the place of men! After all, Nancy Harkness Love had already created a small ferrying squadron of women flying war planes to Britain.

With the agreement that the women would ultimately be rolled into the military, the call went out for women to enlist in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP WWII).

Thousands of women applied including a skinny podiatrist from York, PA. I know the story.

That podiatrist was my mom, Mary Reineberg.

You can the rest of the article in Leadership Excellence at

This excerpt reprinted with permission from

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