The WASP were the first female military pilots received the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in the Capitol March 10, 2010. One of the highest honors given to civilians, this Congressional Gold Medal presented to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) represents the contributions of female pilots during World War II. Seventy-five years ago, on August 5, 1943, a remarkable group of women stepped into roles that would earn them the Congressional Gold Medal.
THE OBVERSE: It depicts the portrait of a WASP with three pilots in the foreground in flight uniforms walking toward their aircraft. The clean lines of the edge are strategically broken by the aircraft, the pilot, and the feet of the women pilots ‘crossing the boundaries’ and ‘breaking thru the barrier’ of the edge.
The AT-6 on this design, indicated by the number 264, represents the North America AT-6 “Texan” advanced trainer flown by pilots who went through Army Air Forces flight training. EVERY pilot had to master the AT-6 before graduating.
Inscriptions include ‘WOMEN AIRFORCE SERVICE PILOTS’ and ‘1942-1944’.
Designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz, and sculpted by U. S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill,
As the medal is turned over, the AT 6 (no. 264)
‘flies’ from the obverse to the reverse.
THE REVERSE: It features the three aircraft that are symbolic of the many types of airplanes flown by WASP: trainers, fighters, and bombers.
The AT-6 on this design, indicated by the number 264, is flying in formation and represents aircraft flown by WASP across America as engineering test pilots and other missions critical to the training of Army Air Forces pilots during World War II.
The P-51 “Mustang” was the fastest fighter aircraft in the Army Air Forces’ arsenal and represents the FERRY COMMAND.
The B-26 (Martin Marauder), indicated by the number 967, represents the TRAINING COMMAND and bomber pilots. WASP flew this twin-engine bomber initially as an experiment to prove to the male pilots that the plane was safe to fly, and then as a tow target aircraft for air- to-air target practice to train gunners for combat.
The WASP wings are depicted at the base of the design.
The inscriptions are: ‘THE FIRST WOMEN IN HISTORY TO FLY AMERICAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT’ and ‘ ACT OF CONGRESS, 2009’.
It was designed and sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart