When most folks think of the 371st Fighter Group in World War II, they recall the men who went to fly, fight, and win the war against fascism in the European Theater of Operations. And they would be right to remember that.
But the full picture of the 371st at war is a little more colorful when we acknowledge and remember the contributions of the many women who helped and inspired Frisky in battle.
Who were these women, you ask? They were the all-important wives, sweethearts, mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, friends, teachers, co-workers and acquaintances of the men assigned or attached to the 371st Fighter Group. Their love and support across the miles was so important to the morale of the men serving in austere and dangerous conditions and situations far from home.
They were also the morale-boosting women who accompanied Frisky directly during his sojourn across the battlefields and skies of the ETO. Some were with the various USO or local national entertainment troupes who put on shows to cheer the men in their few short breaks from the unhappy task of making war. They were the local gals in Britain and on the continent who attended dances and parties in between the other “shows” which the group frequently put on – those serious shows starring the Republic P-47.
A few women served in the American Red Cross office attached to the group, under the direction of Katherine Binns of Minneapolis, and Nancy Orr of Chicago. Whether at the Aero Club with recreational activities for the men with a moment to relax, and/or serving up a steady supply of hot coffee and fresh doughnuts to the men toiling hard on the flightline to generate and operate the mighty Thunderbolt in battle, these women helped the men of the 371st Fighter Group to fly, fight, and win against a stubborn, capable and often deadly enemy.
In addition to all these women who directly and indirectly contributed to Frisky’s war effort, there was one more very special young lady associated with Frisky by the name of Yvette. To find out more about this “unofficial” but important relationship between Frisky and Yvette, see the newly posted article titled “The French Farm Girl of the Flying Field,” at the 142nd Fighter Wing website, at:
We men associated with Frisky give our thanks to all you women associated with the 371st Fighter Group. Your contributions to Frisky’s war effort can’t be measured in the numbers of sorties, tons of bombs, or the rounds of ammunition which the group expended. But we men know in our hearts the indelible impact of your love and support on our lives which enabled Frisky to do his duty in a difficult place and time. We salute you all!