American Airpower Museum, WASPs

I had some Soldiers' Angels duties yesterday at the American Airpower Museum on Long Island, at Republic Airport, where they made planes used in WWII, and which was the launch site for the planes performing in the Air Show at Jones Beach this Memorial Day Weekend.  Got to see the Blue Angels take off. I've seen them perform before but it always gets the blood racing to see them in action.

They had some great displays, stuff I've never seen, people walking around dressed up like the pin-ups girls in the 40's, old planes that could be toured, booths set up by various soldier support causes, a blood drive going on, old cars and trucks used during various wars. Apparently, Republic Airport even has a restaurant that plays music from the 40's. I recommend visiting the American Airpower Museum, which is housed at the airport, if you are ever on Long Island.

Here's one plane that got my attention:

Of course I thought of all of you. They had one called Glamorous Gal, too, but my shot of that was too dark. I take most of my pics I post here with an uncomplicated cell phone.

Since this Hall is so women-friendly, I knew immediately where I'd be posting the following information, all joking aside.

Do you know what a WASP is? I thought I did, until yesterday.

Take a look; I'm embarrased I don't know enough American History to have previously known about the work of these fine ladies.

It took the United States until 1977 to grant full benefits to these ladies - the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, also known as WASPs. Prior to that, a Long Island Newsday article says, they had to take up collections to fly home their comrades who were killed in training accidents. I find that incredible. Link here:


These ladies served an important function, ferrying planes made at Republic to Newark, NJ, where they took off again for use during the war. They didn't serve in combat; our guys were needed abroad and might have had to do this work if it weren't for these women. It was an era, as many here fully understand, of pulling together for the sake of country. I like to think that today's soldier support groups are a pale spin-off of this era.

I had the distinct pleasure and honor of meeting Bernice "Bee" Falk Haydu yesterday, who has a book out chronicling the efforts of the WASPs. She is a WASP and boy, she is a glamorous gal if there ever was one. She took off her sunglasses while she was signing my book and her blue eyes could knock you out.  Young men in uniforms were escorting her wherever she went, and they made a point to shake her hand. The world turns...

Recently, President Obama singed a bill granting the Women Airforce Service Pilots a Congressional Gold Medal, finally and formally recognizing their contribution to our country during its time of need.

So, this weekend, take a moment to silently (or publically!) thank the Women Airforce Service Pilots for their service.

This was taken at the National Cemetary, nearby.

No comments: