Helen W. Snapp, pilot, postal clerk

March 1, 2013

Helen W. Snapp, 94, a pilot during World War II who worked as a postal clerk from the early 1960s to early 1980s, died Jan. 20 at a hospital in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

She had complications from hip-fracture surgery, her son Jeremy Snapp said.

Helen Maude Wyatt was a native Washingtonian and a graduate of Western High School. During World War II, she was one of 1,047 women accepted for duty as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), a group of civilian aviators that operated under military authority.

She served for about two years and clocked more than 1,000 hours of flight time. At one point, she flew planes that towed aerial targets simulating enemy aircraft — targets at which male recruits fired live ammunition.

Mrs. Snapp was among the recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal at a 2001 ceremony honoring the WASPs. She advocated their official recognition as military veterans, a designation granted by the Air Force in 1979.

She moved to Pembroke Pines from Alexandria in 1984.

Her husband of 46 years, Ira Snapp Jr., died in 1988. Their son Ira Ben Snapp III died in 2003. Survivors include two sons, Jeremy Snapp of Pembroke Pines and David Snapp of Davie, Fla.; and three grandsons.

— Megan McDonough

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