An Airman's Story: Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Williams


Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Williams was born on April  2, 1919, in Kingston, Pennsylvania. She became interested in flying after seeing a stunt pilot performance in 1939 and obtained her pilot's license in June 1941 after completing a civilian pilot training program.

Being unable to fly in the US, Lieutenant Colonel Williams relocated to Canada to work for Canadian Colonial Airlines. The airline sent her to the University of Vermont for additional instrument training, where she remained to become an instructor, teaching both civilian and military pilots.

She enlisted in the WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) in January 1944 and served as a test pilot of repaired and downed aircraft. 

After the December 1944 deactivation of the WASP program, Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Williams returned to training pilots.

In 1947, she turned her knowledge to television and developed the show "Let's Go Flying" with CBS while continuing to write flight operation manuals and training films.

Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Williams reenlisted in the US Air Force in response to the Korean War. She was assigned to the 135th Video Squadron, where she developed training films for pilots and other aircraft service personnel. She remained with the US Air Force Reserve following the Korean War.

Lieutenant Colonel Williams joined the staff of Lockheed Martin as their motion picture coordinator in 1954 and produced films for the company until 1974 when she retired. She retired from the US Air Force in 1979.

In 2006, Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Willams was inducted into the Aviation Internation Pioneer Hall Of Fame. 

She died on December 8, 2008, and rests at Arlington National Cemetery.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, photographer, and storyteller currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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