Love at First Flight
Liz Strohfus shared her high-flying story of service as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II in March as part of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership’s spring lecture series.
“Love at First Flight: One Woman’s Experience as a WASP in World War II” explored Strohfus’ story of flight, and of overcoming the many obstacles she and her female comrades faced in climbing into the pilot’s seat.
Strohfus (then known as Betty Wall) grew up in Faribault, Minn., during the Great Depression. There she discovered her love of flying, even putting her bicycle up as collateral on a loan to buy a membership in the local flying club. In 1942, Strohfus applied for the WASP program, an experimental, pioneering program in which women were taught to fly military aircraft.
Of some 25,000 applicants, only 1,800 were accepted, and of those, Strohfus was one of only about 1,000 to earn their wings. In addition to flying military trainers such as the PT-19, BT-13, and AT-6 at the legendary Avenger Field in Texas, she went on to fly the B-26 Marauder and the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and the P-39 Airacobra fighter. For more information on Strohfus, visit www.viterbo.edu/ethics.
Strofus’ presentation was co-sponsored by the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership and by La Crosse Chapter 307 of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Other topics in the lecture series were military courage, end of life care, and the Holocaust.