As noted by historian James Baldwin, “History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us. . .and history is literally present in all that we do.” The mission of the CAF WASP Squadron is to honor the Women Airforce Service Pilots and use their history to inspire young people to overcome current day challenges to achieve their dreams; to make the WASP history part of everything they wish to achieve. The CAF RISE ABOVE educational initiative will encourage students to utilize six guiding principles: Aim High, Believe in Yourself, Use your Brain, Never Quit, Be Ready to Go, and Expect to Win.
Engineering test pilots: Doris Burmeister Nathan, 44-W-1; Elizabeth V. Chadwick Dressler, 43-W-8, Dorothy Dodd Eppstein, 44-W-1, Helen Skjersaa, 43-W-8
North American Aviation B-25 Mitchell medium bomber (U.S. Air Force)
THEN and NOW
Dora Dougherty, one of 2 WASP who flew the B-29, when asked about flying it said she was concerned her hand wasn’t big enough to cover 4 throttles and she wasn’t strong enough to hold the controls. She tried, she succeeded. She reported that the B-29 was “the smoothest plane. . .” Dora also said with a grin, “It was so easy even a woman could do it.”
Debbie Travis King, the only woman in the world since 1943 authorized to fly the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, is seen here with Dora Dougherty aboard the Commemorative Air Force’s FIFI, one of two airworthy B-29s in the world and the only one that flies regularly.
Debbie began earning her flight certificates in high school and finished them in college at Texas A&M University. She earned her CFI and CFII directly after and later earned her jet ratings and Air Transport Pilot certificate. She has been an on-demand charter pilot, and now tours with the CAF B-29.
The WASP Squadron presented, for the first time, in the education section of the CAF Hangar at Dallas Executive Airport
under the leadership of our adjutant officer, Lisa Foster (sometimes known as Rosie the Riveter).
A Success by any measure: CAF WASP Squadron debuts at Air Power History Tour, Dallas, May 19-21
The Educational exhibit, developed by the Squadron without sponsorship, actively engaged more than 200 individuals (18%) of the estimated 1,200 visitors to the event.
There were 6 active stations plus a photo “studio”:
1. Aircraft mechanics (Squadron Members Tiffany Whittington and Tara Post) with safety wire and parts, supported with a slide show that explained engines and airframe. 2. Memorabilia from WASP “Mimi” Lindstrom, courtesy of her son and Squadron member Lindy Segall. There Log books, Yearbook, jewelry, licenses, Mimi at 6 years old and again at 25, just to name a few of the items. 3. Rosie the Riveter (Adjutant Lisa Foster) was there with tools and stories, including a riveting demonstration. 4. Willie Mae the WASP (Squadron Member Mckenzie Best) further explained the WASP significance, picking up from the tale as told by Rosie. 5. PT-22 courtesy of David Oliver, CAF VP of Operations, with flight suits provided by Unit Leader Debbie King and Squadron PIO Kim Pardon, for kids of all ages to “fly” and have photos taken. This activity was managed by B29/B24 member Joe Reavis and his CFI son Brady. . 6. Thank-a-WASP (or Vet), an opportunity to write to a WASP or Vet, knowing that your letter would either go to the WASP Homecoming or the VA Hospital, was promoted by Squadron Historian and DFW Wing Curator, Elaine Webb.
678 “landings” where a visitor was actively engaged at a station
42 Letters to a WASP; 13 of these writers learned about the WASP for the first time at this event
76 Trading cards distributed
52 pencils distributed
25 balsa gliders distributed
The Squadron wishes to thank all of the many folks that helped make this happen, the list is almost endless. With Special thanks to the B29B24 Squadron for inviting us to participate and Raymond Jeffcoat (B29B24 and WASP Squadron member) for his daily report and photographs. When asked “what next?” Squadron Leader Debbie King responded with a smile “the sky is the limit” She went on to say the Squadron would be at Wings over Dallas, October 6-8; volunteers are welcome to sign up as early as today. The WASP Squadron welcomes any opportunity to team with other CAF units, either in person or by sharing detailed material and content setups.
Stay tuned for an opportunity to participate in Wings Over Dallas, October 6-8