102-year-old Women’s Airforce Service Pilot recognized with Living Legend Award

SUWANEE, Ga. (WANF/Gray News) – A 102-year-old member of the WWII Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) is being recognized for her bravery.

Jerrie Phillips Badger is a woman who has always had her heart set on the skies. She has loved to fly and loved the challenge. Badger is 102 years old now, but during her younger years, she was one of 1,074 women who would wear WASP wings.

The female pilots flew between 126 bases across the U.S. at a time when women weren’t always welcome in the air.

According to Texas Women’s University Libraries, they volunteered as “civilian pilots in an experimental Army Air Corp program to see if women could serve as pilots and relieve men for overseas duty.”

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a law granting former WASP members veteran status with benefits.

“It is just an honor to be around her. I was saying earlier, we are a little star-struck,” Martina Schmidt, with the She Served Initiative, said.

The She Served Initiative works to tell the stories of female veterans so they are not forgotten. The nonprofit, founded by a veteran, highlights veterans across the country on their platforms, documenting them to keep their stories alive.

“We photograph all women veterans, from all services and all generations. We are to this day, unfortunately, invisible sometimes to the public,” Martina Schmidt, with the She Served Initiative, said.

She Served is highlighting Badger for her magazine; sharing with readers some of her greatest accomplishments and her best stories.

Badger was honored Monday at her assisted living home in Suwanee with the Living Legend Award.

Even at 102 years old, Badger still has fight left in her. She is trying to make sure no one forgets the accomplishments of the WASP.

“Don’t let us be lost. Women are so often taken for granted, assuming that they are the underdog and they are not,” Badger said