Dr. Byrd Howell Granger played a key role in getting the WASP recognized as military veterans. Her publication, On Final Approach, (which took 12 years to complete), recounts in meticulous detail, every terrifying, funny, and poignant story of the 1104 women, of which she was one. Their efforts freed American male pilots for battle, and Granger's efforts to make their story known helped the WASP finally achieve veteran's status in 1977. It is her book that FlyGirls is based upon, and we salute her today!
Granger became one of the first cadets to graduate from the WASP training program. She was eventually Commanding Officer of the Air Transport Command (ATC) in Palm Springs, the unit responsible for transporting everything from trainers to bombers to locations throughout the United States.
An exhausted Jackie Cochran explained to Granger that she believed the WASP will never be militarized under her command. "Byrd I want you to take over my position."
Steadfast in her loyalty, Granger replied:
"Jackie please understand...I can't possibly do that. You honor me and I appreciate your trust ....Please understand now that no matter what happens, whether WASP sink or swim, without you there can be no WASP."
And without Dr. Granger's efforts in 1977, when she presented Congress with a dossier that she had compiled of more than 100 pages of documents showing that the WASPs were subject to military discipline, that they were assigned to top secret missions, and that many of them received service ribbons after their units were disbanded, without these efforts, the WASP may never have been officially recognized by the U.S. Government.