Honor Point Military Aerospace Museum opens.

I hope you read and enjoyed my recent story in the Spokesman Review Spokesman Review Newspaper about the Honor Point Museum opening at Felts Field in Spokane. I loved working on the article and looking at the artifacts currently at the museum as well as looking at and hearing about some of the items that will be housed there eventually.

What I didn’t have space for in the article was the fact that Larry Cebula (an EWU history professor) was commissioned by the museum board to go in and document some of the outstanding items in the collection with his students. A report on the findings by the students was fascinating to me. I wrote another story for Spokane CDA Living in which I wrote a bit about that if you’re looking for more information at what’s in the collection. I love history, love the history of flight and all the stories of the men and women who have sacrificed for their country.

Unfortunately, I also didn’t have room to include another story about a Spokane woman pilot, Jean Landa who volunteered for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). I interviewed one of her daughters who still lives in Spokane — Carol Landa-McVicker. Carol shared many of her family photos with me as well as a scrapbook of some of her mother’s experiences. I may do another article on Jean Landa and another woman from Spokane who both were WASPs.

Women’s history is one of my favorite categories to write about and so many time it goes by the wayside without getting much attention at all. Thankfully President Obama made sure the WASP’s were recognized in 2009 with medals for their contributions.

President Obama today signed into law S. 614, a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).  WASP was established during World War II with the primary mission of flying non-combat military missions in the United States thus freeing their male counterparts for combat missions.  Its pilots were the first women ever to fly American military aircraft and flew almost every type of aircraft operated by the United States Army Air Force during World War II on a wide range of missions.

"The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country’s call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since," said President Obama.  "Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve."

From 1942 to 1943, more than 1,000 women joined the WASP.  38 of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation in performing its mission.  But their contribution went largely unrecognized for years, not even being acknowledged with veteran status until 1977.

The groundbreaking steps taken by the WASP paved the way for hundreds of United States servicewomen combat pilots who have flown fighter aircraft in recent conflicts.