Winning My Wings

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Winning My Wings

Winning My Wings

by Marion Stegeman Hodgson

Author Information:Marion Stegeman Hodgson was born in Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia and flight school with the 318th Army Air Force's Flying Training Detachment. She is a World War II Veteran and has received the Congressional Gold Medal along with her fellow WASPs. She was married to the late Ned Hodgson and has three children. She lived in Fort Worth, Texas for many years and now resides in Wichita Falls. She was inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame and the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.

Historical Background:The story takes place during World War II in 1941 to 1944. There was a shortage of pilots, so the Army allowed women to train to become pilots. Two female pilots, Nancy Love and Jaqueline Cochran, started two groups of female pilots. Love estaplished the WAFS, or Women's Auxilary Ferrying Squadron. Cochran established the WASPs, or Women Airforce Service Pilots. The WAFS eventually merged with the WASPs, and Cochran was in charge of it all. Nancy Love remained in charge of the Ferry Command. Marion joined the WAFS program in 1943.

Characters:Marion "Scarlett" Stegeman: Marion is the author. She was determined to become a pilot so that she could help her country and be near the action. She learned to fly because she wanted to conquer her childhood fear of airplanes.Edward "Ned" Hodgson: Ned was a Marine pilot that Marion grew up with. He was in an airplane accident and was badly burned, so Marion wrote to him to cheer him up. He eventually married Marion. Marjorie "Sandy" Sanford: Sandy was a schoolteacher turned WASP that trained with and befriended Marion at Sweetwater. She was assigned to Dallas Love Field with Marion but then transferred to Dodge City, Kansas to learn to fly twin-engine and four-engine bombers. Shirley Slade: A WASP that trained with Marion at Sweetwater. The Shirley, Sandy and Marion became very close friends. She was also assigned to Love Field then transferred to Dodge City. She was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine.

Plot: Problem:Marion wants to be a ferry pilot for the Army, but she has to go through training and face the sexist attitude of the Army and her instructors.Rising Action:Marion decided to apply for flight school in her senior year at the University of Georgia. In 1943, she had enough flying hours to apply for WAFS training in Sweetwater, Texas. She trained at Sweetwater for six months before graduating. Many of her friends dying during training.Climax:Marion graduated from Sweetwater and become a ferry pilot. She was assigned to ferry from Love Field.Falling Action:Marion worked at Love Field and ferried planes across the country. She fell in love with Ned. Resolution:She resigned from the Army and married Ned.

Themes:Sexism:Many male pilots did not think women were capable of flying airplanes and wanted to fail them. Many instructors were purposefully rude to the WASPs. Many people had not heard of the WASPs and thought she was impersonating a soldier.Some WASPs were arrested for this.By the end of May 1944, there were enough male pilots that the WASPs were not needed. Many people thought that WASPs were taking the men’s jobs. The WASPs either resigned or were forced into the Army where they would not fly planes but work desk jobs.Patriotism:Marion joined the WASPs because there weren’t enough pilots in the U.S. She wanted to help her country.

Conflict:Man vs. Society: Facing the sexism of the Army and instructorsMan vs. Self: Marion facing her fears and flying airplanes


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