The Inspiring Journey of a Chinese-American Aviatrix in World War II

Breaking Barriers in Aviation

Hazel Ying Lee, a pioneering Chinese-American aviatrix, defied racial and gender barriers to become one of the first women to fly for the United States during World War II. Despite facing discrimination and prejudice, Lee pursued her passion for aviation, earning her pilot’s license in the 1930s and joining the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program in 1943.

As a WASP, Lee flew military aircraft, ferrying planes and conducting test flights, making significant contributions to the war effort while challenging stereotypes and paving the way for future generations of women in aviation.

Museum of Chinese in America, New York City

Overcoming Adversity

Lee’s journey was marked by numerous challenges and obstacles, including racism and discrimination within the aviation industry. Despite facing prejudice from colleagues and officials, Lee remained resilient and determined to prove her capabilities as a skilled pilot. She persevered through adversity, earning the respect and admiration of her peers through her professionalism, courage, and dedication to her country. Lee’s trailblazing achievements inspired others to pursue their dreams and advocate for equality and inclusion in aviation and beyond.

Honoring a Legacy

Hazel Ying Lee’s legacy continues to inspire and resonate today, serving as a reminder of the power of perseverance, courage, and resilience in the face of adversity. Her groundbreaking contributions to aviation and her unwavering commitment to serving her country exemplify the spirit of patriotism and determination that defines the American experience.

CBS News // US Air Force

By honoring Lee’s memory and sharing her story, we pay tribute to her trailblazing achievements and ensure that her legacy lives on as a source of inspiration for future generations.