| Helen M. Schaefer
HELEN M. SCHAEFER, born May 15, 1915 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Started employment in 1937 with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cincinnati branch. In 1940 started taking courses in aviation. Enrolled in Civilian Pilot Training (C-T) program sponsored by the U.S. government.
Ten scholarships were issued in this program but only one female was eligible in the top ten. Helen came in second with a grade of 98 and therefore won a scholarship which entitled her to free flying lessons and a private's pilot license when the flight course was successfully completed.
She was accepted into WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot's) program on Feb. 20, 1943 and was in the first class to start military flying training at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, TX. The only all girl military flying training field during World War II. Received primary, basic and advanced training at Sweetwater and after graduation was transferred to 5th Ferry Group, Love Field,Dallas, TX.
During her 16 months stationed in Dallas she flew 15 different types of aircraft. Took her pursuit training at Brownsville, TX. A P47 was the first fighter type aircraft she flew in Brownsville. That first flight she will well remember, as on that first flight in a beat up airplane she could only get one wheel up. The flight only lasted 20 minutes. As soon as she was able to get both wheels down she went back to the field and landed.
After deactivation of the WASP she returned to work for the Federal Reserve in Cincinnati. In 1947 she moved to California and continued her employment with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. In 1949 accepted an Air Force Reserve Commission. Spent most of her reserve time with the 349th Troop Carrier Wing and 349th Fighter Wing. Retired from the Federal Reserve Banking System after 23 years in 1960. Retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Lt. Colonel after 25 years service.
In 1960 started with the San Bruno Police Department in California as a police dispatcher. Retired from there in 1977 after 17 years service.