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Wing Scouts

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The early objectives of the Wing Scout Program for Senior Girl Scouts were:

  • Meet the needs of the air-minded girls

  • Be aware of the importance of air supremacy for the United States

  • Explore the careers available in aviation

  • Prepare for community service in the field of aviation

1946

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1946 Catalog image showing the
Wing Scout emblems on the
Senior Girl Scout uniforms
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1944 GS Catalog Image

After several years of aviation-centric Senior Girl Scouts creating their own flight-based programs and GSUSA studying them, the start of American's entrance into World War II caused the "Wing Scouts" program to take flight.

By summer of 1942, Girl Scouting had trained the first "Flight Leaders" (adults) to begin Wing Scout "Flights" (troops).

The requirements to be a member of a Wing Scout Flight  apparently varied. The newspapers of the time list differing requirements than are found in the Girl Scout Collector's Guide (2003). As they were flying by the seat of their pants, so to speak, it is likely the program had to adjust and change on the fly. 

It was clear from the beginning to Wing Scouts that ALL WORK WOULD BE GROUND WORK.  They would learn the theories of flight, identification of flying aircraft from the safety of the ground (important during war-time), the basics of model airplane building, map making, first aid, technical and mechanical working of airplanes, basic radio operator workings, navigation, meteorology, and - oddly - how to be a hostess - perhaps prepping for a career as a stewardess? 

Junior Air Reserves (JAR) program was developed by the National Aeronautic Association in 1936 and approved by the US Congress. 

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Cloth Wing Scout emblem - 1943

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Girl Scout Leader, May 1943

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The 1943 Girl Scout Demin Slack Set, an alternative to wearing the Senior Girl Scout Uniform in dirty or greasy conditions.

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When first shown in the Girl Scout catalog in 1946F, the design of the Wing Scout pin had a more fluid wing design. By 1947F the catalog offered the familiar straight-wing design. It's not known if this first style of pin was ever offered. 

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4 divisions of the Wing Scout program:
  • Wing Scout Cadet - focus on model airplane building
  • Wing Scout Workers - exploring aviation jobs
  • Wing Scout Builders - learning technical side of aviation
  • Wing Scout Fliers - concentrating on principles of flying
     

1945
the first Wing Scout Manual

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In 1945, William T Piper, of Piper Cub Planes, donated the 1st of 3 Piper Cub J-3 Trainers pledged to Girl Scouts!!!

Occasionally, pictures are found of these planes. Left shows Lady Baden-Powell in front of one of the planes, showing the Wing Scout emblem.

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American Girl Magazine, owned by the Girl Scouts during these years, celebrating the Wing Scout program.

March 1943

I have since learned that there was such a thing as Wing Scout Mariners!

See pic WAY below 

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Girl Scout Leader Nov. 1945

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1949
Wing Scout Manual

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Intermediate Girl Scouts could not join Wing Scouts, but could learn about flight with Aviation Badges as early as 1947. 

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An organized outing on an airliner was a popular newspaper photo op for many Wing Scout groups.

These Wing Scouts had the BEST troop house EVER. 

1949 Wing Scout Manual brought post-war changes in the program.

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1960 Senior Interest Patch - Aviation

1955 brought changes to the Wing Scout program.

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All Girl Scout programs adapt & evolve, and Wing Scouts was no different. The ranking changes in 1949 became visible in 1955 with the introduction of chevrons on the Senior Girl Scout uniform.

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1955

1955 also brought the new Senior Interest Patches (3" diameter with dark green border) that included the Aviation patch for Wing Scouts.

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1955

However, the biggest change to the Wing Scout program had to be that Wing Scouts could now actually learn how to fly and earn their Pilot's License! Shown below is Deborah Friedman's information she sent in about her time with Wing Scouts, showing her uniform sleeve, a Fly-In patch and a newspaper clipping.

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1960

1963 brought the end of the Wing Scout program.

Senior Girl Scout troops with an interest in aviation could continue, wearing the newly revamped Senior Girl Scout Aviation Interest Patch. The Aviation Interest Patch ended in 1974. 

 The classic Wing Scout pin however was no longer allowed on the Senior Girl Scout uniform in 1963.

The pin continued to be sold, as replacements for lost pins, for several years.

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1963 Cadette Aviation Badge


 

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Juliette Low was 70 years old when she went on this flight.

Let this be an inspiration to us all. 

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Wing Scout Mariners
Girl Scout Leader magazine, Nov 1945