Lt. Alfred Fleishman

In November of 1942, at the request of WASP founder Jackie Cochran, Lt. Alfred Fleishman volunteered to assist Dedie Deaton, Chief Establishment Officer of the WASP, in training new recruits. Dubbed"the Visiting Fireman" by the women pilots", Lt. Fleishman led them in rigorous calisthenics workouts and had many of them lead their own groups in an attempt to instill leadership skills. He taught the women to march in military form and drilled them consistently in an effort to create good discipline and order which he believed raised morale and emphasized teamwork.

Alfred Fleishman

In addition to physical training, Lt. Fleishman emphasized to WASP leadership the need for uniforms and healthy socialization to promote strong minds and bodies and improve morale. Through his challenges and inspiration, Fleishman helped the women pilots build sense of purpose and confidence.

Lt. Fleishman said to his students, "This is no boarding school...if the Army can dish it out, you can take it. If you can't take it, you will affect this whole experiment to use women to fly military planes to help in the war effort."

In April, 1943, a communication was received that the graduates of the program would not receive Wings, that Wings were given only to those in the military. Finding this unacceptable, Lt. Fleishman purchased 24 wings at the Post Exchange and then sketched and designed a shield to fill the gaps between the wings. Every woman at graduation received a set of wings.

Lt. Fleishman moved to the Pentagon in 1943 and was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit. In 1945, he took a leave of absence for three months to lead a team to study the situation of Displaced Jews in the American Zone of Germany. As a result he penned of the first official reports on conditions in the European Displaced Persons camps.

Upon discharge from the Army in 1946, Fleishman joined a friend, Bob Hillard in establishing the now famous Fleishman-Hillard public relations firm which became one of the largest in the United States. An advocate against anti-semitism, as well as for people less fortunate than himself, Fleishman developed strategies to help people from diverse racial and economic backgrounds communicate effectively with one another. He labored for a more just world until he died in 2002 at the age of 96.