Guadalupe is no different than any other town its size on the California Central Coast, with its whistle stop ambiance, sparse population and vibrant collection of personalities. Guadalupe is a haven to those who recognize a lucrative opportunity when they see it. Jonah Quentin and long-time friends, Mel and Ona Archer, came to the fertile Santa Maria Valley to set up shop as the valley’s first crop dusting company, the latest concept in agricultural pest control, and were an instant success. On the Forth of July 1926, Jonah wants nothing more than to cap off a night of celebration with a shot of whiskey and a beer at the Bésame Bar & Grille, but first he must step over a dirty little girl, around the age of four sitting on the gin mill’s steps. Jonah, a devote bachelor, has no idea that that night their lives would merge forever. By the time Anna Lea turns seven a deep love for flying already smolders deep inside her. At age ten she’s hooked when she holds the controls for the first time in flight. By her seventeenth birthday Anna Lea is flying tracks five feet above long rows of crops. December 7, 1941, the United States plunges headfirst into World War II. But even with manpower stretched dangerously thin, America holds fast to the narrow-minded notion that women are the weaker, inferior sex. But dismal initial progress of the war forces the country to turn its eyes to the other half of its populace that for generations has been ignored as a viable contributing force. Influenced by Nancy Harkness Love, an affluent aviatrix from Houghton, Michigan, and Jacqueline Cochran, a successful self-made businesswoman and pilot from the Florida panhandle, General of the Air Force Henry “Hap” Arnold finally agrees that the Army Air Force would benefit from hiring women ferrying pilots—something the Royal Air Force had been doing since 1939 with the advent of the Air Transport Auxiliary—and the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or “WASP,” take to the sky. Anna Lea sets her eyes on the WASP after reading in the local paper that the Army Air Force is hiring women civilian pilots. But nobody tells her that the demanding, intensely paced training would be the easy part. SEND ME AN ANGEL is a fictionalized account of the 1,074 women of the Women Airforce Service Pilots who became fully operational WASP.
About Samuel Santana
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Published September 11, 2012
History, Literature & Fiction, War.