The Union Recorder

Community News Network

November 7, 2013

Female pilots of WWII set eyes on Rose Bowl float

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

But getting a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade is a difficult thing. Even after a formal application is accepted, the entrance fee is $5,000, and the total cost of float construction can approach a quarter of a million dollars.

The group began fundraising in earnest last February, accepting both $10 checks and one large $60,000 pledge from a former WASP in Texas.

Then, in the fall, Dot Lewis' health began failing. Chig put fundraising efforts on hold. To give their float designer enough time to complete the project by the Jan. 1 parade date, Chig figured, they would need to have the money pledged by Veterans Day.

"It's really a very public way to do a final honor for these women, to say thanks for their service," says Kate Landdeck, vice president of Wingtip-to-Wingtip and a history professor at Texas Women's University.

The WASPs were the creation of racing pilot Jacqueline Cochran and aviator Nancy Harkness Love, who envisioned a domestic team of female military pilots freeing up male pilots for combat abroad. WASPs flew recently repaired planes to make sure equipment was functioning properly. They hauled cargo and air-chauffeured top brass to meetings. They introduced green servicemen to the air, with the winking motto, "If we can teach them to walk, we can teach them to fly." Thirty-eight women died in this service to their country.

WASPs were classified as civilian pilots, with a promise that they would later be classified as military. Instead, in December 1944, as the war's end approached, the program was disbanded. The families of the 38 women who died were not allowed to display gold stars in their windows, because their daughters were not recognized as veterans.

The WASPs received a letter informing them that their service was over. Two days after that letter came, "several of us received letters from aircraft companies inviting us to come and be stewardesses," remembers Rohrer. "I was so angry, I tore that letter up."

The WASPs would finally be granted full military status in 1977, and they were awarded Congressional Gold Medals in 2010.

Chig Lewis says that a place in the Rose Bowl parade would have pleased his mother, although, ever the cool pilot, she wouldn't show it too much. "She was a remarkable woman," he says. "She was the bravest person I know."

Text Only
Community News Network
Poll
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"