I was a woman pilot in 1945: a memoir of a WASP trainee: A day to day account of the experiences of Winnie LoPinto as a WASP trainee at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas


Winnie LoPinto wrote "Go Home Little Fifinella" as a young woman after returning from Texas in 1944 from her training as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). She had great dreams of becoming a pilot then and that is why she volunteered to serve at the risk of her own life with the WASP, just for the chance to fly.

Her biographical account of her experiences as a WASP trainee in Sweetwater Texas is full of the language and favor of the time. Her lively style allow us relive those times along with her. The exhilaration and the adventure of youth and the disappointments that follow. It has delighted thousands of visitors who originally downloaded it from her web site and brought tears to the eyes of those who knew her.

Winnie is a young woman with great dreams of becoming a pilot. She joins the WASP in hope of serving her country and do what she loved since she was a little girl, fly! Winnie was a slight woman, barely 100 pounds. Her legs didn't reach the brakes in certain models and she often loosened her seatbelt to try to slide down, at great risk of her life. In one occasion she nearly fell out, and in another her hands were so cold riding in an open cabin in 32 degree whether, they did not respond and she almost lost control. According to the instructors, that kind of whether would ground male pilots, but the WASP were tested to the absolute limit for reasons revealed in the book.

One of Winnie's friends from the WASP was browsing the web and found this book. She sent a wonderful letter where she clarified that at one point, women needed only 30 hours of flight time to join toward the end of the program! So that these gals had to make up 250 hours in only a few weeks!  Trainees were working as hard as the graduates.


We begin to understand, through this story, the profound effect the WASP program had on the women's right movement of the 70's and the backlash that followed. The experience as a WASP trainee changed Winnie's life for ever.


Tonight I was reading your Aunt's book. I just sat there and cried because it brought back so many memories as a young boy 10 yrs old growing up everyday watching and listening to the drone of training planes flying over day and night. I lived on the west side of Sweetwater. My dreams were to fly myself but I never qualified to fly and so I became a gunner on B-29 in Korea. I hurt so much when there was a crash at Avenger Field. These women were SO courageous and SO determined that I never forgot and always wanted to wanted to praise them. Thank for sharing.

--Patrick Purcell, Dallas/Grand Prairie, TX.

WOW! This blew me away! I'm fascinated! My name is Susan Hansen. I happened to see a public TV program here about the Wasps2 years ago. I have been so fascinated with their stories. Thank you for this very precious story. I will treasure it forever. I've been looking and looking for more info. Not enough is published about the girls. I've even been up to EAA in Oshgosh.

--Susie Hansen

Beautifully written window into a WWII era woman pilot's aspirations and the WASP trainee experience Winnie LoPinto is the firsthand author who wrote this piece shortly after her WASP training. Her narrative depicts a young woman with a sense of duty, integrity, innocence and great sense of humor. The dialogue between her and her fellow trainees brings to life this historical work. There was much to be learned by reading this book, and along the way I found myself taken in by the both humble and awe-inspiring woman who tells the story.

-- Carla Khoury

...The fact that these girls, many of them still so young, had to come up against such nonsense is just despicable. The thing that bothers me so much about the whole thing is that they got away with it. They got away with discharging all those women not because they really couldn't perform but all in the name of money. All in all, a good read, but if you get emotionally involved in books you read as I do, it'll leave you feeling angry for all the young women who had to face some of those people and go through what they went through. It'll leave you with more respect for them, even if they never got to fly missions

--Julie Morales

From the Publisher

" I was a Woman Pilot and a WASP trainee in 1945" is a true account of a woman pilot who also became a W.A.S.P. Trainee during World War II and what the government didn't tell you about the program!

We might think the times when women need to prove themselves in careers previously dominated by men are gone. In fields like engineering, medicine and law, we are making great strides toward equality--although not there yet. There are still those retrogressive forces actively working against women in these positions and diligently trying to prove that there are gender differences that prevent women from doing certain jobs, like piloting airplanes. Almost every industry reports gender salary gaps for women in technical and non-technical professions.

Women today can only overcome the remaining obstacles to gender equity if they understand the lessons from the past and that is why books like this, that describe real struggles are so important to young women. So they will not forget.

When I first met Winnie LoPinto, the author of Go Home Little Fifinella, I had no idea she was a pioneer woman pilot. When I visited my husband's aunt, I was a young woman engineer in the 70's, struggling myself in a male dominated career. She was elderly and living quietly at home with her dogs and grand-nephews visiting regularly. Her book was molding in the basement and she hardly spoke of her days as a pilot and working woman. It took some interviewing of Winnie and other women in the LoPinto family to discover that these women of the 40's were the pioneers that sparked the women's movement of my generation. Because they held "men's" jobs during the war they got a taste of independence for a while. They wanted very much to contribute to the end of the conflict and they never were truly happy returning to their roles as housewives or working in a world where women were still not compensated equally. They were angry at the inequalities of the day and passed this anger on to the women that fueled the women's movement in the 70's.

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