1944, Vivian Cadman Eddy turned 23, and already qualified
to fly seventeen different models of airplanes, including
the hottest military fighter plane of that time, the famous
Born, raised, and schooled in Fullerton, California, Vivian
harbored an adventurous spirit. As a sophomore at Fullerton
Junior College she signed up for a government sponsored flight
training program, CPT, or Civilian Pilot Training where she
trained as the only girl among forty-eight boys. For five
months, she underwent an intensive period of ground training
and flight instruction. Then, in 1941, nineteen- year- old
Vivian was issued a pilot’s license. Oddly, she was
able to fly before she could drive. She did not yet have
a driver’s license.
After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military realized an extreme
pilot shortage, and experimented in training civilian women
pilots in military aircraft. This was 1942. The plan hoped
to release men for active duty while women took on the necessary
domestic flying. These WASPS, Women Air Force Service Pilots,
served under the direction of the famous aviatrix, Jackie
Immediately after her training, Vivian was assigned to
a ferry group at Love Field, Dallas, Texas where her first
orders were ferrying BT-9s, an obsolete trainer considered
dangerous, for the junkyard. Male pilots refused to fly
the derelicts, so the WASPS were assigned the job.
After performing her first assignment successfully, Vivian
went on to ferry numerous single and twin engine planes
from the factories to the training schools across the country
After 500 hours she was chosen to train in fighter planes
of that day, P-47, P-39, P-40, and the P-51. Admittedly,
the highlight was delivering those P-51s fresh from their
Los Angeles factory across the country to Newark, New Jersey
where they would then be prepared for shipment to England.
On December 20, 1944, Eddy’s military service reached
a halt. A bill to militarize the WASPS was defeated in congress.
All the women were to return home at their own expense.
Thirty-four years passed before the WASPS were recognized
for their contribution to the war effort. In 1978, Congress
enacted a law making them veterans.