Dorothy A. Lucas 44-W-7 | WASP in the Spotlight 4-28-2023

Dorothy A. Lucas, born on December 4, 1922, in Norfolk, Virginia, was the youngest of four children. Despite the challenges of the Great Depression and her family’s constant relocations due to her father’s occupation as a traveling salesman, Dorothy found joy in swimming at the coastal beaches. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC, in 1940, she worked as a secretary in the Pentagon while attending night classes at George Washington University.

During World War II, Dorothy’s patriotism led her to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Program. To be accepted, applicants needed flight experience, good moral character, a personal interview, and the ability to pass the Army’s physical examination. The program, conceived by Jacqueline Cochran and General H.H. “Hap” Arnold, aimed to free male pilots for combat while utilizing the WASP for flight duties within the United States, proving women’s capabilities in military aviation.

At the age of 20, Dorothy applied for the WASP program with a friend and obtained the necessary flight hours by borrowing money and attending training in Frederick, Maryland. In the summer of 1944, she and three friends embarked on a road trip to Sweetwater, Texas, for WASP training. Graduating from flight school, Dorothy was assigned to Moore Field in Mission, Texas, where she joined the Gunnery Squadron. Her duties included towing targets for male fighter pilots, ferrying planes, and conducting administrative flights. Dorothy’s favorite aircraft was the AT-6, often featured in WWII movies as a Japanese Zero substitute. During gunnery sessions, she piloted a prearranged flight pattern while male gunners fired at the target she towed.

While stationed at Moore Field, Dorothy began dating an Air Force Captain who served as an instructor pilot for male cadets. One day, as she attempted to impress him with a smooth landing, she made her worst landing ever, but he still married her. Tragically, Dorothy’s brother, who received his wings from Aviator School, was killed in action over England while she was training. Despite her grief, Dorothy remained determined to earn her wings and make her brother proud. Her friend, who initially applied for WASP training, became a stewardess but died in a plane crash.

After the cancellation of the WASP program in December 1944, Dorothy became engaged to her flight instructor, Al Lucas, whom she married in February 1945. They raised five children together. Following Al’s retirement from the Air Force in 1964, they lived in various locations, and he pursued a career in real estate in Austin, Texas. They enjoyed playing bridge, golfing, and spending time with their 12 grandchildren. Dorothy and Al were avid University of Texas Longhorn football fans and participated in feeding ducks in Woodcreek, Texas, and deer in the quadrangle at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio.

In 2018, at the age of 95, Dorothy attended her last WASP Homecoming, one of four WASPs in attendance. She lived as a widow in San Antonio, Texas, until her passing in May 2022 at the age of 99. Dorothy’s inspiring journey as a WASP and her dedication to her family left a lasting legacy.

Written by: Ann Haub | Collections Director
Photos courtesy: National WASP WWII Museum Archives

Archives Contact:

Partner with the WASP Archive in achieving its mission to collect, protect, preserve, and provide access to materials that chronicle the WASP story, its legacy, and the personal and professional lives of its pilots. New artifacts are always welcome. Please call Ann Haub at 325-235-0099 or by emailing her at


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