Schaefer, Helen M., Lt Col

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 770-Airplane Pilot
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1949-1975, 349th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium
Service Years
1943 - 1975
Officer Collar Insignia
Lieutenant Colonel

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by A3C Michael S. Bell to remember Schaefer, Helen M., Lt Col.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
San Bruno, CA

Date of Passing
Jan 01, 1997
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Air Force Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

US Air Force Honorable Discharge

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
This Remembrance is based upon and credited to research done by USMF member "Jack's Son" (user name) which may be seen at this link:

Helen Schaefer, a member of the elite group of female fliers who flew military aircraft during World War II, died Friday after a brief illness at Seton Hospital in Daly City. She was 81.
The retired lieutenant colonel was one of 1,074 women civilian pilots who flew for the U.S. Army Air Corps as Women Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs. Ms. Schaefer had been fascinated by flying since she was a girl, but it was not until 1940, when the government established a civilian pilot training program, that she was able to realize her ambition. Finishing second out of 55 in her ground-training class, she was awarded a scholarship for flight training -- and won her private pilot's license in three months.

In February 1943, with only 100 hours of flying time to her credit, she volunteered for the WASPs. After intensive training, she was assigned to the 5th Ferrying Group at Love Field, Dallas, where she transported planes from factories to training bases and points of embarkation.

In 1949, Ms. Schaefer received a direct commission as a first lieutenant in the Air Force. In 1975, she retired as a lieutenant colonel.

A San Bruno resident for 50 years, she worked for the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco and later as a dispatcher for the San Bruno Police Department.

She is survived by her sisters, Mary Du Pre of Millbrae and Dorothy Rogalsky of San Bruno, four nephews and one niece.

Other Comments:
Helen M. Schaefer

Picture of Helen 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.


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Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Badge
Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Air ForceAir Corps Ferrying Command Women's Airforce Service Pilot Squadron, USAAF Flying Training CommandUS Air Force
  1943-1946, 5th Ferrying Group
  1943-1946, Air Corps Ferrying Command
  1943-1949, Women's Airforce Service Pilot Squadron, USAAF Flying Training Command
  1949-1975, 349th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)  C-45 Expeditor  F-80/P-80 Shooting Star  F-84 Thunderjet  
C-119 Flying Boxcar  C-141 Starlifter  KC-10 Extender  C-5 Galaxy  
AT-6 Texan  AT-11 Kansan  PT-13 Stearman  PT-22 Recruit  
PT-17 Kaydet  PT-19 Trainer  L-3 Grasshopper  
  2003-2003, P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)
  2003-2003, C-45 Expeditor
  2003-2003, F-80/P-80 Shooting Star
  2003-2003, F-84 Thunderjet
  2003-2003, C-119 Flying Boxcar
  2003-2003, C-141 Starlifter
  2003-2003, KC-10 Extender
  2003-2003, C-5 Galaxy
  2003-2003, AT-6 Texan
  2003-2003, AT-11 Kansan
  2003-2003, PT-13 Stearman
  2003-2003, PT-22 Recruit
  2003-2003, PT-17 Kaydet
  2003-2003, PT-19 Trainer
  2003-2003, L-3 Grasshopper
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