The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Southwestern Hzstorzcal Quarterly

pay, Vogel relates them in an "it was tough, but we loved it" manner. One could
hardly expect otherwise from a book that begins: "It was a school, an athletic
club, an orphan's home, and a boy's camp all rolled together.. ." (p. 3).
The most interesting issue is one that Vogel skirts: the reaction of the Old
Army to the New. How did the old hands feel about the sudden influx of re-
cruits and draftees? Vogel suggests radical changes occurred, but ends the
book without exploring them.
Soldiers is an interesting and sometimes illuminating book. Because of its small
scope and its undocumented, anecdotal style, it is of limited value to the histo-
rian. It does, however, provide a colorful glimpse of a time all but forgotten.
Ohio State University MARK PITCAVAGE
For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II.
By Anne Noggle. Introduction by Dora Dougherty Strother. (College Sta-
tion: Texas A&M University Press, 1990. Pp. xi+160o. Preface, acknowl-
edgments, introduction, black-and-white photos. $29.95-)
This is the history in text and photograph of the Women Airforce Service
Pilots who served with the United States military during World War II. Gen.
Hap Arnold stated, "Frankly, I didn't know in 1941 whether a slip of a young
girl could fight the controls of a B-17 in the heavy weather they would naturally
encounter in operational flying" (p. 13). He did not hesitate, however, at the
graduation exercises of the last class in December 1944, to state, ". .. we haven't
been able to build an airplane you can't handle. From AT-6s to B-29s .... One
of the WASPs has even test-flown our new jet plane" (p. 13). On occasion the
WASPs led their male counterparts by example. When male ferry pilots had a
disparaging attitude toward the hot P-39 pursuit plane and high accident rates
in it, WASPs were assigned, handling it with aplomb and ending the male com-
plaints. It was not until 1979, however, that Congress retroactively granted the
WASPs credit for active military service. Dora Dougherty Strother, former
WASP, provides a succinct chronology of their history and sets the stage for the
pictures and remembrance that follow.
Anne Noggle "wondered if we all perhaps shared similar traits of character
that made us go do it. . . . Could you tell . .. that we came out of the Wild Blue
Yonder?" (p. ix). She photographed the WASPs at their 1986 reunion in Sweet-
water, Texas, at Avenger Field. Slipped in between the history and her por-
traits are old photographs showing meager quarters, sleeping outside on a hot
summer night, physical training, ground school, solo flights, flight gear, air-
craft, graduation-day parade, pinning of wings, tow pilots, ferry pilots, and
times of fun. The remembrance by Noggle paints the picture of a maverick pi-
lot who loved to buzz trains and cows, of instructors, of hazards, of women who
formed an incredible bond with each other during an experience that changed
them all forever.
And yes, Noggle, one who looks imaginatively at your work can perceive you
and your colleagues coming out of the "Wild Blue Yonder." Texas A&M Uni-
versity Press is to be commended for beginning their Charles and Elizabeth

416

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed October 1, 2014.