The Great WASP: Hazel Ying Lee

Most of the events that happened in the world war brought the limelight to men. However, there was an outstanding Chinese American woman that left a mark after World War II (WW2).

Women during the World War were acknowledged by being nurses, cooks, factory workers and other "women capable tasks" during that stereotypical time. However, females who put their life on the line, flying aircrafts were mildly mentioned.
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

One of the outstanding Chinese American of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Program was Hazel Lee.

Hazel Ying Lee had lots of hardships (even before) engaging in the World War, she was mistaken for a Japanese enemy, she was discriminated against gender (female in flying aircrafts), and she was highly discriminated against for her race as well.

She first attempted to join the Chinese Air Force but was turned down due to gender and was judged to be weak to fly planes, returning to America, she applied for WASP.

WASP was a program opened for female trainees, test pilots, and feyers. After the proposal of females participating in the war was approved, Pilot Jacqueline Cochran persuaded the head of the U.S. Air Force in 1942 when the service was struggling to find enough male pilots to support the war effort at home.

The Army Air Force was appealing for female pilots. 25,000 or more women applied. Those admitted into flight training numbered 1,830. 1,074 of them finished the training.

Among the said number were Lee. She was also one of the 132 pilots chosen to operate pursuit planes or fighter aircrafts.

During her line in duty, one time an emergency landing was necessary. Lee landed on a wheat field in Kansas and was chased with a pitchfork by a farmer that had mistaken her for a Japanese enemy that landed.

Photo Courtesy: The New York Times

Hazel Ying Lee was an elevator operator before she saved up to learn to fly aircrafts. She became the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States Military Efforts.

The main responsibility was to maneuver aircrafts from base to base, test brand new aircrafts, and fly aircrafts in need of maintenance and repair back to bases.

The day she lost her life in line of service was due to multiple number of aircrafts in the air and runway all at once. Her plane was just too close to another.

She lost her life on the 25th of November 1944 after a number of serious injuries from a collision in a runway at Great Falls, Montana.

During the World War, thirty-eighth women died serving and Hazel Ying Lee was the 38th, and last of them.

Written by: Ellyssa van Schaijk

Ellyssa van Schaijk is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is a 3rd-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from Batangas State University-Arasof Nasugbu Campus, Philippines.



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The Great WASP: Hazel Ying Lee
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