Women’s Airforce Service Pilots Were Instrumental in Training WWII Pilots
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Attending the 14th Annual California Capital Airshow at Mather Airport on October 5-6, 2019, was a thrilling experience!
My original intent was to focus and write about the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion which was one of the highlights of the show. As it turned out, I was distracted by a documentary that was being filmed about the WASP organization. As I eavesdropped, I became more and more interested in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots who were very instrumental in adding to the success of the United States Air Force.
I have never heard of this military group, but by show’s end, I became quite a fan. The WASP organization was formed in 1942 with 23 women making up the first graduate group of Service Pilots. Their job was to ferry and test aircraft and to train other personnel in their use. While this group became part of history by being the first women to fly military aircraft for the United States, their organizational mission was just beginning. The title of this article is attributed to Kimberly Johnson, one of the keepers of the official archives of the WASP organization located at Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas. Kimberly told me a fascinating story about Colonel Paul Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay and the B-29 Superfortress, (the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II). “The B-29 was a scary plane to fly and the male pilots were finding excuses not to fly it,” said Kimberly. Colonel Tibbets had to find a way to convince his pilots to start training and becoming familiar with the aircraft. He turned to the WASP’s and found that Dorothea Moorman and Dora Daugherty were willing to fly the B-29 and encouraged the male pilots by telling them it was safe to fly. “Imagine the look on the male pilots’ faces when two ladies stepped off the plane!” she concluded.
I had the privilege of learning so much more about the WASP’s and came to realize that more than 25,000 women signed up to join the first class! The WASP’s were official members of the United States Air Force, but it took more than 60 years before Congress bestowed upon the group the Congressional Gold Medal for contributions made during World War II.
One of the WASP display highlights was a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber available for visitors to climb aboard and visit the cockpit. This is where I found pilot and Boeing engineer Vera Martinovich. She flew the B-25 from its base in Madras, Oregon to Mather Airport and was experiencing her first airshow. The plane is part of the Erickson Aircraft Collection, an organization with “a wide variety of WW II Aircraft,” which began in the 1970s.
As I climbed into the cockpit area, I asked Vera if she experiences “any visitors” when she is flying the B-25? “I think about those 20-year old WASP’s talking together,” she said. She joined as a pilot to fly the B-25 “to keep them flying” to honor the history of the WASP pilots. As we spoke, Vera mentioned the people who were attending the airshow, hoping that they “could truly grasp and realize what the WASP pilots accomplished.” I had to agree it is an important piece of our nation’s military history, and one that needs to be told on a more frequent basis. The Women Airforce Service Pilots crosses many generations and has made an impact on young women of today. It certainly made an impact on Vera as she said “this is the plane I wanted to fly.”
I also met two other pilots who emphasized the importance for the general public to know about the WASP’s. Delane Buttacavoli and Kaitlan Comm are part of the WASP National Soar Tour. They both told me that they “love the WASP’s” and they wanted to take the WASP story to other airshows across the United States. It was easy to understand these women’s passion for doing so. I watched them enthusiastically greet show spectators and then assist them to climb onboard the B-25.
As with any group throughout history who want to make a positive difference to those around them, I can say the Women Airforce Service Pilots did just that. Kimberly Johnson said she felt the women “persevered and really had something to contribute to the war effort.” As it is stated “the mission of the WASP Archive is to honor the first female military pilots, tell their story of service, bravery, and heroism to their country, and celebrate the place women in aviation occupy today, tomorrow, and yesterday inspiring future generations.”
If you find yourself asking such questions as – “who was the person who approved the program to train the women?”, or “how many of the women died in service to their country while WASP members?” - visit the WASP website at: https://waspmuseum.org/ for answers to these questions and more.
“We live in the wind and sand…and our eyes on the stars.” – Motto of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)
ROSEVILLE, CA (MPG) - Model train enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the 43rd annual International Railfair on Saturday, November 9 and Sunday, Nov. 10 at The Grounds, at Placer County Fairgrounds at 800 All America City Boulevard in Roseville.
Open to the public, the West’s premier model railroad show will be held between 10 am and 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, and features American and European operating layouts, hobby clinics, vendors and a Trainmart consignment store for hobbyists who may want to sell items in their personal railroad inventory.
Kids love model railroads. And so do adult kids! Be sure to bring your cameras and plan to spend a day full of fun.
Four model railroad clubs and organizations: Sacramento Modular Railroaders, Roseville Roundhouse Model Railroad Club, European Train Enthusiasts, and the Sierra Division of the National Model Railroad Association put on International Railfair each year.
Explore three buildings at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville which will be filled with operating model railroads of many different scales, and vendors who sell model railroad and railfan products. Explore model train layouts in narrow gauge, Lionel, HO, N, Z, O, S, G and live steam in action.
Three sponsors of International Railfair, the Roseville Roundhouse Model Railroad Club, the European Train Enthusiasts and the Sacramento Modular Railroaders, will be operating their large club model railroads at this year’s show.
The Sacramento Valley Garden Railway Club will display their G scale modular garden layout that features an operating sawmill and other action scenes, many with sound.
Don’t miss the Sacramento Modular Railroaders double-track HO scale layout which features an operating turntable and steam facilities at one end. Many buildings in the yard and on modules are lighted. In operation, the group regularly runs long trains of 75 cars or more, many which are sound-equipped.
Another family favorite is the two children’s starter layouts, designed and set up so children attending the show can earn a junior engineer badge as they operate a model train on a finished model railroad on their own. The two layouts are set up in separate buildings on the fairgrounds (Jones Hall and Johnson Hall) and both layouts are HO Scale. Junior Engineer trains will be rolling throughout both Saturday and Sunday.
Hot food and drinks will be available at the snack bars and seating will be available in both Jones and Johnson Hall.
Cash only admission cost is $10 for adults. Children under 12 years of age are free. Fairgrounds parking at the Placer County Fairgrounds is $10. A Sunday family admission special for parents and children is $15. For more information visit: www.internationalrailfair.com
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918 – an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War. Since no one knew that there would be a sequel in 20 years, it was known as “the Great War” or the war to end all wars but didn’t have a number. Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans. Unlike Memorial Day, it was not intended to just remember those that fell in battle. Instead it was a day to recognize all those men and women that have served over the course of 241 years of this nation’s existence. Whether the service was in war time or peace time or in foreign countries or at home, the Veteran would be recognized on this day. The veteran knows not what the situation will be when they sign the bottom line and raise their right hand and promise to support and defend the constitution. Peace time quickly can become war time.
Every year, Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights honors those that gave that served in the defense of their county. This year the Veterans Day service will be held on Monday, November 11, 2019, at Sylvan Cemetery, 7401 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights. The ceremony begins at 10:30 with a march through the historical section of the cemetery, stopping briefly at each flag station to read a prayer and salute the flag. The men marching include the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, VFW, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of the American Revolution, Boys Scout troop 228, Police Officers of the Citrus Heights Police Department and all others that wish to march. This march will last about 30 minutes. The march will conclude at the gazebo where there will be a one hour ceremony. Many of the men marching will be in uniform – past and present – from American Revolution to modern day.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Among a crowd of Sacramento leaders, SMUD announced a partnership with the Aerospace Museum of California and a $50,000 sponsorship to host NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit for local students to experience a once-in-a-lifetime STEM education experience.
The announcement came as dozens of area leaders, residents and children got a sneak peek of the exhibit as it opened its doors to the public for Fall 2019.
“This is an incredible opportunity to expose students to science, technology, engineering and math in a new and innovative way,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “Our goal is to help the museum inspire and expose students from all over the region to the expansive possibilities in STEM education and STEM-related careers, so they truly can reach for the stars.”
The exhibit features a scaled replica of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and includes hands-on, interactive activities that allow students to explore the technology used in space to gaze at distant stars, planets and galaxies. They will also be able to learn about the new James Webb Space Telescope and how it will contribute to our knowledge into the future.
The exhibit will be on display through December 2019 and is expected to draw thousands of visitors.
In partnership with the museum, SMUD’s goal is to reach 15,000 students with this STEM education experience, particularly those in historically underserved communities. A large portion of the grant provides transportation funding for Title 1 schools, as well as free participation in the program; teacher membership; and continuing education resources.
“We’re excited to host this amazing exhibit in California for the very first time,” stated Executive Director for the Aerospace Museum Tom Jones. “The Hubble Space Telescope exhibit is a perfect complement to our other artifacts that can help tell the story of aerospace from the beginning to well into the future.”
Funding for this project comes from SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative that seeks to leverage resources for community partners in order to provide increased access to employment, healthcare, STEM education and more. This is one of many projects that will enhance the Sacramento community
If you missed the big show, here are some great highlights!
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Wednesday, September 11, Move America Forward (with support from the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce) held its second annual Packathon to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the terror attack on September 11, 2001. The event was held at Move America Forward’s Rancho Cordova headquarters, where volunteers worked together with veterans, active-duty military members, and Gold Star parents to assemble care packages for soldiers serving on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The organization shipped 911 care packages — which included letters of support along with food and personal care items — and volunteers packed approximately 500 additional boxes. Danny Gonzalez, director of communications for Move America Forward, said, “I ask that everyone do something nice for a soldier, even if it’s just thanking them for their service. … Let’s make 9/11 a day when Americans come together and really unify as one people and make it a day of service.”
The Packathon’s Master of Ceremonies was former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness, a decorated veteran with more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. McGinness said that many servicemembers “answered the call” to join the military because of the events of 9/11: “It’s extraordinary and it speaks to the character, the courage, the valor, the selflessness that really truly is abundant in our society and in our great nation.”
McGinness introduced Sergeant First Class Jeff Raver of the Northern California Recruiting Battalion, who enlisted in the army at the age of 21 because of the attack on 9/11. Sergeant Raver described the event as “one of the tragic stories for all of us, but something to remember.” He said that just a month earlier he had taken a trip to the east coast with his brothers and they had “stood on top of those towers. So, a month later when that happened, it really hit home. That’s why I serve.” Sergeant Raver enlisted the very next day, September 12, 2001, and chose to ship out just 72 hours later. After getting through basic training, Sergeant Raver was deployed on his first tour in Afghanistan. “I was able and willing, and I decided to make that commitment.”
The event’s featured speaker was Colonel Stephanie Williams, Commander of the 940th Air Refueling Wing at Beale Air Force Base. Colonel Williams is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and she also commanded the 385th Air Expeditionary Group at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Colonel Williams was an active-duty international guard pilot starting “a normal day, I thought.” After watching news footage of the airplanes crashing into the towers, she experienced “disbelief, shock. … Ultimately seeing the towers collapse … was very, very surreal. Even having served in active duty in the military for 10 years, it was surreal to see something like that.”
At the time of the 9/11 attack, Colonel Williams said many members of the military had “served through mostly a peaceful period, but 9/11 was the start of something new to us. Think about the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen today. … The vast majority joined after September 11, 2001.” Colonel Williams said that our nation responded to the terror attack with “strength, honor, resilience, dedication, [and] focus.”
To the Gold Star Families, Colonel Williams expressed gratitude: “[I’m] grateful to those who gave all to defend our freedom. … Thank you for your family’s sacrifice and service to our nation. … Thank you for raising a hero.”
Colonel Williams also thanked Move America Forward for hosting the event: “Having been deployed myself, it meant a lot to know that fellow Americans at home were thinking about me and were behind me and my teammates in what we were doing to defend freedom worldwide. … Thank you for your tireless support of our military members.”
If you are interested in sponsoring a care package or volunteering your time, visit www.MoveAmericaForward.org.
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The U.S. continues to experience cases and outbreaks of measles, largely due to unvaccinated or under-vaccinated segments of the population. Measles can be a serious disease. This year has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992, and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Of those diagnosed with measles, approximately 10% have required hospitalization. The majority of cases are among people who were not vaccinated. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been approved in the U.S. for nearly 50 years. It is highly effective and very safe. As a result of its use, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, rubella in 2004, and since 1989, mumps cases have decreased by 99%.