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Wish These WASP a Happy Birthday

Dallas, TX (June 7, 2023) - Join us in wishing WASP, Nell Bright 43-W-7 and Shirley J. Chase Kruse 44-W-6, a happy birthday this month! Nell Bright will be celebrating her 102nd birthday on June 20, 2023 and Shirley J. Chase Kruse will celebrate her 101st birthday on June 22, 2023.

You can wish them a happy birthday by mailing individual cards to the Development Office at Commemorative Air Force Headquarters by June 16!

Commemorative Air Force
c/o Devlopment
P.O. Box 764769
Dallas, TX

About Nell Bright:

Nell learned to fly when she and nine others purchased a Taylorcraft in 1941. She started flying shortly thereafter at English Field, Amarillo, Texas. By the end of 1942, she had her private license plus 75 hours flying time, mostly in a Taylorcraft.

While waiting to fly one day at English Field, she saw an article in Flying Magazine that Jacqueline Cochran was interviewing women pilots to train on the Army Air Corps. She wrote to the address listed and received a letter to come to Fort Worth, Texas for an interview. Jacqueline Cochran interviewed her and she received a letter of acceptance to report to Sweetwater, Texas for WASP training – May 1943 – Class 43-7.

About Shirley J. Chase Kruse:

Shirley Kruse’s passion and interest in aviation began as a child. It was a family tradition to go on Sunday drives, and on one such occasion, the family passed the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. Kruse saw a sign advertising $5 airplane rides, and asked her father if she could have one for her 10th birthday present. Her father responded, saying “Girls don’t fly.” Her mother, however, said “Shirley, if you want to fly, you will fly.”

It would take nearly a decade before another flying opportunity would present itself. While visiting friends in New York State, Shirley would get a taste of flight in a Piper Cub. Soon after Kruse began flying lessons on weekends in Newburgh, New York.

While Kruse was taking flying lessons, she learned about the WASP program. Kruse sent in her application, and was accepted to be part of class 44-W-6. Like the other WASP, Kruse was trained at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.

To learn more about the WASP and read their profiles: CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP.

If you are interested in joining the CAF WASP Squadron click here.

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