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Lt. Col. Betty Jane Williams, Ret., WW II WASP

First Woman to Create a Network Aviation Television Show


Voted most likely to succeed by her classmates, Betty Jane, B. J. Williams, retired as a Lt. Colonel, USAF. She received her pilot’s license in June 1941 after winning a flight scholarship in the federally sponsored, non-college Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPT). Career developments quickly followed, from airline stewardess, with Canadian Colonial Airlines, to aviation motion picture writer – director – producer, and professional experience of more than 25 years, winning scores of national awards. One that stands out is the national CINDY award from the Industry Film Producers of America, later known as International Association of Audio Visual Communicators.

As a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), B. J. served as an engineering test pilot, then subsequently commercial pilot, flight instructor and, upon entering the Air Force with a direct commission, became a TV writer-producer for the pioneering USAF TV operations.

In 1946, she created, MC’d and produced the first network TV aviation show from New York City. . . promoting flying to the general public. B. J. found another challenge when she went to Lockheed, writing informational films on the various missile projects while in the infancy of the missile/space industry. She wrote, directed and produced over 100 films.

In 1952 she was called back to active military duty as a TV writer-producer in the 1354th Video Production Squadron. She also served as the unit’s Public Information Officer and as an active member of the Air Force Reserves, with a mobilization assignment and she served the Public Affairs Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, for a total of 28 years.

B. J. is today’s woman facing the world of the 90s with the same dynamism, spirit and sense of adventure that sent her into the skies in our country’s service more than 50 years ago. She has served the organization of the W.A.S.P. as national president, editor of their publication, regional director and currently is president of the Southern California group. She was a public relations officer for many years, creating programs of interest to the legacy of this pioneering group.

B. J. offers inspiration to our young people today. . . for those who want to succeed. . . emphasizing three “R‚s” — Respect. . . Responsibility. . . and some form of basic Religion.

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