WOMEN AIRFORCE SERVICE PILOTS PHOTOS

May Ball Pietz Behrend
May 3, 1920 – July 27, 2008
WASP Class 43-W-8

Planes flown: PT-19, BT-13, UC-78, AT-6, AT-18
Assigned bases: Scott Army Air Base (Gary, Ind.)

Born on May 3, 1920, in Clintonville, WI, May Ball Pietz Behrend was quickly introduced to adventure by her father at his airfield near Sturgeon Bay, where his musical vaudeville act often entertained at early air shows. Later, after her parents moved to the Quad Cities, May enrolled at Augustana College.  Before morning classes, her father drove May to the Moline, IL airport for flying lessons, which soon earned her an opportunity to enter the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) program at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, TX, where she flew many planes including a B-24 after graduation.

May was then stationed at Scott Field where she flew AT-6s, and DC-3s while radio operators trained on her flights.

During college days, May helped earn her tuition by dancing with the Dot Carlson’s Ballet Jubilesta group who entertained at state fairs and theatres. Dancing and music, especially jazz, remained passions throughout her life.

During May’s marriage to Vernon Pietz, she enrolled her three children at National College of Education (National Lewis) while she was earning a Masters Degree in Education. Her first teaching job was at Golf Junior High School, Skokie, IL, where she became interested in film. This led her to further studies at Columbia College and a Masters Degree of Fine Arts in Film. Next, she taught at Niles North High School, also in Skokie, and expanded the filmmaking and film appreciation courses with some literature classes before retiring in 1985. In 1991 May became director of Facets Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, later writing film reviews, directing part of the Media Arts Camp and also the selection jury at Facets. Other passions May pursued included sailing out of Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago and the North Channel Yacht Club in Ontario, Canada. Also, as an enthusiastic student at Alliance Francais, May often traveled to France and studied there while pursuing her love of good wine and fashion.

Sources:
Texas Womens University
WASP Final Flight Blog

Share:

More Posts

Beryl Owens Paschich

Beryl Marjorie Owens Paschich June 25, 1920 – May 12, 1990 Class: 44-W-3 Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.) Assigned Bases: Dodge City Army Air Base (Kan.) and Majors Army Air Field (Greenville, Tex.) Planes

Read More »

Gloria W. Heath

Gloria Whitton Heath May 7, 1922 – December 16, 2017 Class: 44-W-5 Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.) Assigned Bases: Freeman Army Air Field (Seymour, Ind.), Pocatello Army Air Base (Idaho), and Dalhart Army Air

Read More »

David Showell

David Anthony Showell October 14, 1921-December 23, 1955 Unit: 617th Bombardment Squadron of the 477th Bombardment Group David Showell, one of seven children, was born on October 14, 1924. He spent his childhood at 816 Madison Ave.

Read More »

Lois L. Nash

Lois L. Nash April 12, 1921- April 24, 2011 Class: 43-W-8 Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.) Assigned Bases: Hondo Army Air Field (Tex.), Dodge City Army Air Base (Kan.), Pueblo Army Air Base (Colo.)

Read More »

Send Us A Message