Opal Ferguson Woodward McClung
August 12, 1912- August 11, 1980
Class: WAFS
Training Location: New Castle Army Air Base (Wilmington, Del.)
Planes flown: PT-19, PT-22, BT-13, A-20, AT-6, AT-9, AT-17, P-63, P-40, P-39, C-47
Assigned bases:
New Castle Army Air Base (Wilmington, Del.) and Love Field (Dallas, Tex)

Petite, blond, blue-eyed Opal “Betsy” Ferguson grew up on a farm near Coffeyville, Kansas. She and her sister Sally, dubbed “The Flying Sisters” by newspapers in their home state, got their private pilot’s licenses the same day in 1937. Betsy went on to obtain her commercial licenses, followed by her instructor’s rating, and taught Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) and War Pilot Training (WPT) to male student pilots before joining the WAFS with 873 hours. She was number twenty-three of the Originals.

Betsy was transferred to Dallas Love Field and the 5th Ferrying Group on January 1, 1943. In September 1944, she was sent to Alamogordo AAB in New Mexico. Five WASP were then assigned to Walker AAB in Victoria, Kansas after October 7, 1944, including Betsy. Their duties were listed as: engineering/test; administrative; co-pilot. They flew the L-5, C-47 and the B-17.

Both Dorothy Scott and Delphine Bohn write of Betsy’s emergency appendectomy in later summer/early fall of 1943 with her possible leave of absence. Betsy’s transfer out of the Ferrying Division and into the Training Command in mid-1944 is in line with the wholesale transfer of WASP not ferrying pursuit aircraft out of the ATC and into other areas of the AAF beginning in August 1944.

Betsy is listed in Jacqulyn Cochran’s final report as having served until deactivation. No other information is currently known other than she married a man named Woodward.

Sarah Byrn Rickman
Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas. WASP collection


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