Virginia Sweet, 88, daring pilot in WWII
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Inspired by a story she read as a young girl about Amelia Earhart’s trans-Atlantic flight, Virginia Sweet became a pioneering female aviator in her own right.
She was a pilot with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, ferrying every imaginable type of military aircraft from factories to air bases during World War II to free male pilots for combat overseas.
Sometimes Ms. Sweet was assigned to fly shot-up, barely functional aircraft in for repair. Thirty-eight of her fellow female fliers were killed during duty.
After the war, when these Rosie the Riveters of the skies no longer were needed, the nation essentially turned its back on Ms. Sweet and hundreds of Women’s Airforce Service Pilots like her.
The longtime Schenectady resident died July 12 at 88, two weeks after President Obama signed a law that offered recognition and Congressional Gold Medals, the highest award Congress can give to a civilian, to the WASP fliers.
Ms. Sweet prided herself on a five-decade flying record without an accident.