Dorothy A. Avery
WASP Class 43-W-7
Feb 12, 1917- Dec 29, 1999
Dorothy Arlene “Dottie” Avery was born in Salt Lake City, UT to Marlene L Matthews and Chester Avery. She had a twin brother, Chester. Dottie joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots) in May 1943, training to fly Army Air Corps planes at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, TX. Upon graduation in November 1943, she was sent to Mather Field near Sacramento, CA for advanced training. She was then stationed at March Field near Riverside, CA. After the WASP disbanded, she worked as an inspector at the Navy Lockheed Service Center, a maintenance facility for military aircraft in Riverside, CA.
Dottie was most often called by her nickname, Sunny. She described how she got that name in a letter to her friend Eunice, date 1943:
“The name “Sunny” was derived years ago by someone at the field I used to fly at. So on the field they called me Sunny. Since then I have always had that word engraved on my crash bracelets if you remember. It is sort of an inspiration word for me. Every time I look at my bracelet the word Sunny flashes through my mind and reminds me of Blue skys [sic] & sunshine and happiness so it is constantly keeping up my spirits because I always want to be happy and not get low or those around me in low spirits. Anyway the girls saw it on my bracelet and since there are to [sic] many Dorothy’s and Dotties they call me (Sunny) sometimes (Sandy). ”
Several of Dottie’s letters, as well as photographs of her time in the WASP, can be found at the Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC. Found in her group are some great wartime WASP photo’s, wartime paperwork file with some very interesting reading, ID card, a $2 ‘shortsnorter’ she and other’s signed, a ‘real’ WASP reunion wing, reunion badges, her Fifinella pin, discharge button, and the USAAF Honorable Discharge she was finally granted in 1979 with accompanying paperwork.An interesting and sometimes sad look at WWII American aviation.