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Ladies Courageous

Ladies Courageous(1944)

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Roberta Harper is placed in charge of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, better known as the WAFS, a war-time unit of twenty-five women who ferry planes across the United States so that male pilots can be released for combat service. After six months, Col. Andy Brennan, Roberta's commander, tells her that many in the military are still worried that her squadron cannot handle the more difficult and dangerous tasks required of the ferrying service. Within her own ranks, Roberta has problems with her ambitious sister, Virginia "Virgie" Alford, a globe-trotter who pursues glory for herself above all else. In addition, a romantic triangle develops when aviatrix Nadine begins to court Alex Anderson, though he is secretly married to fellow flyer Jill Romilly. Meanwhile, Gerry Vail, the best aviatrix in the WAFS, worries about her upcoming 100th mission for the unit, as it was during their 100th performance that her father and two brothers, the famous flying circus known as "The Flying Vails," were killed in an aerial accident. Roberta soothes Gerry's fears, however, by informing her that she already flew her 100th mission two weeks earlier. Tragedy does strike the WAFS, however, as Jill's plane crashes soon after takeoff, leading a guilt-ridden Nadine to promise to fly twice as many missions in her place. Soon, the WAFS are given their first overseas assignment, the delivery of planes to a secret South Pacific base, but the mission is canceled when publicity-seeking Virgie purposely crashes her plane in Tucson during a military review, stealing the headlines from the newly decorated war heroes. On the train back to her base, however, Virgie has a change of heart about her actions when she sees her estranged husband, Frank Garrison, on his way to Leavenworth prison for desertion. Despite her sincere apologies, Virgie is "washed-out" of the WAFS by Roberta, who then learns that her husband Tommy has been listed as "missing in action." Accepting the blame for her sister's actions, Roberta resigns as head of the WAFS, so Virgie tries to steal a plane and fly to Washington to straighten things out. Instead, she crashes the plane during an aborted takeoff and is nearly killed. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Wade informs the female pilots that they have been incorporated in the military and will now be known as the Women's Air Force Service Pilots. Their first mission is to deliver war planes to a secret South Seas base known as "Easy Queen Island." Just before takeoff, Roberta is reunited with Tommy, who has returned to the States safe and sound.