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Secciani (Joyce) Personal Papers
SDASM.SC.10215  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Joyce Elouise Sherwood Secciani was born on December 25, 1921 in San Diego, California. She spent all of her school years in El Centro, California. Even as a child, Joyce had wanted to fly and, upon graduating from high school, she signed up for the government-sponsored Civil Pilot Training program at Central Junior College. After getting her private pilot's license, she joined a flying club with 10 members and shared a 65 h.p. Interstate plane. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, private flying was not allowed within 200 miles of the U.S. coast, so Joyce helped another club member transport the plane on a trailer to Arizona so they could continue flying.
 In January, 1943, she learned about Jacqueline Cochran's WASP program which was comprised of female pilots who were Civil Service employees rather than military members of the Army Air Force. She signed up and headed for Houston, Texas where she joined other female pilots in WASP Class 43-3. On May 16, 1943, the trainees flew all the planes from Houston to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, which became their permanent home base, where they joined Class 43-4, which had just replaced the last of the male cadets.
Background
Joyce Elouise Sherwood Secciani was born on December 25, 1921 in San Diego, California. She spent all of her school years in El Centro, California. Even as a child, Joyce had wanted to fly and, upon graduating from high school, she signed up for the government-sponsored Civil Pilot Training program at Central Junior College. After getting her private pilot's license, she joined a flying club with 10 members and shared a 65 h.p. Interstate plane. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, private flying was not allowed within 200 miles of the U.S. coast, so Joyce helped another club member transport the plane on a trailer to Arizona so they could continue flying. In January, 1943, she learned about Jacqueline Cochran's WASP program which was comprised of female pilots who were Civil Service employees rather than military members of the Army Air Force. She signed up and headed for Houston, Texas where she joined other female pilots in WASP Class 43-3. On May 16, 1943, the trainees flew all the planes from Houston to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, which became their permanent home base, where they joined Class 43-4, which had just replaced the last of the male cadets. Soon, the group was assigned to Camp Davis (now Fort Davis), near Wilmington, North Carolina, as part of the Tow Target Squadron. They towed targets in front of the firing line for anti-aircraft guns to shoot at. They also flew tracking missions at night so the artillery could practice spotting planes with searchlights. The class served at several military fields doing target towing, tracking, and transporting planes. During this time Joyce met SSgt. Mario Secciani, who maintained the P-63 King Cobra and other fighter planes. They were married in 1945. The WASP were disbanded on December 20, 1944. Joyce was sad to leave but proud to have served. Joyce continued to fly privately and held several jobs around the country. She and Mario eventually settled in El Cajon, California, where they built a house and raised two children. Joyce remained active in the WASP group, promoting the WASP story. She helped set up the WASP exhibit at the San Diego Aerospace Museum, which was gutted by fire at one point. The museum moved to a new location and a new display was installed. In 1992, she supported an oral history of the WASP for California State University in Fullerton. Since 2003, she enjoyed retirement until her death on November 14, 2011.
Extent
.3 Cubic Feet Description: The collection consists of one gray archival box, 12-1/2" x 15-1/2" x 10-1/2".
 
 Content notes: The collection contains items reflecting Ms. Secciani's involvement with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), from 1943 to 1944. Included are flight logs, books, documents, news clippings, photographs, and WASP newsletters from 1944 to 2007. 
 The collection consists of one gray archival box, 12-1/2" x 15-1/2" x 10-1/2".
Availability
The collection is open to research, some restrictions apply.