CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP is built upon the successful model of the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s outreach efforts and brings to life the story of a group of Americans that can touch the hearts and minds of people in a unique and extraordinary way. Because of the dedication of the CAF Red Tail Squadron and its supporters, their efforts have been honed and enhanced since its inception to become a world-class educational outreach program. This successful model can be easily adapted to inspire people of all ages with the story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
There are many parallels between the Tuskegee Airmen and the WASP, which will make a new RISE ABOVE program successful. They both knew what it was like to be mistreated, passed over and disrespected. They both endured hardships that today would not be acceptable. They both were subject to prejudice beliefs that they were inherently unqualified of ever being capable of piloting aircraft. There are accounts of the WASP and Tuskegee Airmen interacting at bases in the U.S., both feeling the sting of being ostracized by a military they were dedicated to serve. But they both found a way to RISE ABOVE the obstacles set before them and achieve success. Because of this determination they will inspire generations to come.
Studies from the 2015 Gallup Annual Student Poll and the Girl Scouts of America Generation STEM indicate American students lack the characteristic of hope, which is the biggest indicator of success, and that a high percentage of girls are interested in technical careers but believe gender barriers exist that prevent them from pursuing these interests. Issues affecting self-confidence take strong hold in the middle school years, a time when positive intervention is critical.
The message of CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP and the work of the CAF WASP Squadron will leave those they interact with, particularly young women, with a “call to action” to internalize the values and behaviors of the RISE ABOVE guiding principles and show successful women in non-traditional roles, addressing these challenges.
The Commemorative Air Force believes that telling the stories of the Greatest Generation, including those of the marginalized and oppressed, will inspire future generations to overcome adversity. CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP will fill a niche that is ripe for the inspiration.
Become a supporter today and make a difference in the lives of young people through the remarkable history and legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots!