Do you have a W.A.S.P. in your tree? No, I’m not talking about the insect but about the women who served as pilots during world war 2.

While researching descendants of John Lewis Ricketts, I came across the Find a Grave site for Helen Lucille Ricketts Rownd. Since her obituary was included on the site, I discovered that Helen Ricketts was a member of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (W.A.S.P.)

Images of America: Hammond. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, c2015.

So far, Ancestry and Fold3 have failed to turn up records for Helen Ricketts’ service. However, Google turned up quite a bit of information about Helen Ricketts Hooks Rownd.

Helen Ricketts is listed as a member of Class 43-W-2 which reported to Dallas in June 1943.

Eleven women from Class 43-2 reported  to Dallas in June: Betty Bachman, Ruth Dailey, Frances Dias, Betty Eames, Jane Emerson, Kay Gott, Ross Kary, Avanell Pinkley, Helen Ricketts, Cappy Vail and Betty Whitlow. These women followed in the footsteps of the WAFS – who served as flight leaders for them – and of the “Guinea Pigs” who had graduated a month earlier.

Sarah Byrn Rickman, WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deed (Denton, Texas: University of North Texas, 2016), page 125; digital book, Google Books, https://www.google.com/books viewed online 22 November 2021.

The Woman’s Collection on the Texas Woman’s University Libraries web site has a list of the members of the WASP Class 43-W-2.


Dates: November 13, 1942-May 28, 1943

Number of Trainees: 51 trainees, 43 graduates

Place: Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas

This class completed training at the Houston Municipal Airport, Houston, Texas. They then flew to Sweetwater, Texas, in AT-6s and AT-17s which were being transferred from Houston. The exodus of this class marked the deactivation of the 318 th AAFFTD.

Graduation Speaker: Colonel J. H. Hills, Adjutant General and Executive Officer, AAF Flying Training Command, Fort Worth, Texas

Distinguished Guests: 

Jacqueline Cochran, Director of Women’s Flying Training Command
Major Francis Heasy, Public Relations Officer, AAFFTC
Captain H. G. Gibbons, Commanding Officer, 318th AAFFTD, Municipal Airport, Houston, Texas
Major L. J. Jurdan, AAFFTC

Band: Big Springs Bombardier School Band


Adie, Lewise Dorothy Coleman
Anderson, Ann Ross Kary
Boylan, Margaret E. Kerr
Bridge, Catherine Vail 
Brown, Marion Schorr
Buehner, Betty J. Bachman
Carter, Norma J. Emerson
Chaffey, Lois K. Gott
Critchell, Iris Cummings 
Darnell, Barbara Russell
de Bernard, Katherine
Dickerson, Patricia A.
Disney, Virginia Alleman
Erickson, Patricia A. Chadwick
Fillmore, Carol
Genaro, Marie Muccie
Gery, Ellen H
Gustavson, France Dias
Harden, Emily Hiester
Hawkins, Ruth R. Thompson
Helm, Ruth Dailey
Hill, Geraldine B. Masinter
Hinds, Alma Marie Jerman
Huber, Mary Darling
Joiner, Betty Eames
Lamer, Zelda
Loop, Paula
Maier, Melvina K.
McArdle, Rita Moynahan
McKay, Mary Catherine Johnson
Moffatt, Virginia
Nichols, Dorothy
O’Brien, Mary T. Trotman
Pinkley, Avanell 
Reynolds, Ruth Franckling
Roberson, Florence E. Lawler
Rownd, Helen Ricketts 
Rupley, Martha D. Wagenseil
Smith, Elizabeth Whitlow
Stone, Helen S.
Trees, Ruth G.
Tunner, Margaret Ann Hamilton
Vanderpoel, Lila B. C

Woman’s Collection: WASP Class 43-W-2 (: viewed online 22 November 2021), Rownd, Helen Ricketts.
Texas Woman’s University, Women Airforce Service Pilots – Official Archive (https://twudigital.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection : viewed online 22 November 2021), Helen Ricketts Rownd.