by Celeste Graves



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 4/26/2004

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 342
ISBN : 9781418428914
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 342
ISBN : 9781418428907
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : E-Book
Page Count : 342
ISBN : 9781410779021

About the Book

In 1997 an instructor mentioned to me that he would like to know what happened to his women students after World War II.  What started out as a “booklet” turned into a “book” with profiles of the first three classes of the 319th AAFWFTD (Army Air Force Women’s Flight Training Detachment).  Those who trained at Municipal Airport had many hardships that future classes did not encounter.    They were not given the same military privileges as the men and had to pay their own way to the training facilities.  They were required to have at least 200 hours of flying time and had to pay all of their own expenses while training.  Some were trained by instructors who had less experience flying than they had. 

Quite a few books have been written about the WASP in Sweetwater, Texas but very few about the Houston group.  They were known as the 319th AAFWFTD and were not named WASP until August of 1943.  My job was to keep up with their flying time to submit reports to the government for payment.  My office was called “The Doghouse” and was a glass building sitting near the runway.  I was completely in awe thinking what these ladies had to go through in order to serve their country.  They have since been recognized by the military, but it took many years to obtain that status.

About the Author

Celeste Graves was born in Magnolia, Texas August 30, 1919.  She graduated from high school in 1935 at the age of 15.  There were only eight in her graduating class.  After leaving Magnolia for short periods of time for college and then during World War II and the Korean War to join her husband, a radio operator, at several military bases in California, she always returned to Magnolia.  They finally settled there and raised two children.

Celeste is a believer in preserving history for future generations.  In 1993 she published a 600 page book called “Magnolia Memories.”  Her dad was a photography buff and had many photos of early Magnolia.  Many of these are in the book, which also recorded biographies of early settlers.  She is secretary-treasurer of the Historical Committee in Magnolia.  As their main project, an old depot that was built in 1902 was purchased and  renovated and  has a small museum in its freight room.  A historical marker was obtained and the building was dedicated this year.

During World War II she was a dispatcher for the Civilian Pilot Training Program for Aviation Enterprises at Municipal Airport.  A contract was awarded the company to train women pilots and Celeste stayed on as dispatcher.