Memorial Day – 2021 – More than a 3-day weekend
“We Live in the Wind and the Sand and Our Eyes are on the Stars” ~ WASP Motto
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), (also Women’s Army Service Pilots or Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots) were a civilian women pilots’ organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. The 1074 members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. The WASP museum is located on Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.
The WASPs flew more than 60 million miles flying planes out of 192 bases. One pilot, Gertrude “Tommy” Tompkins Silver was the only Women Airforce Service Pilots’ member to go missing during World War II. On October 26, 1944, Tompkins piloted her plane from a foggy runway on Mines Field, adjacent to the Los Angeles airport, and was not heard from again.
Mr. Frank Jacobs , a retired aerospace engineer from Manhattan Beach, California has a haunting childhood memory of seeing a plane crash into the Santa Monica bay that day. He still dives to find Gertrude “Tommy” Tompkins as poart of the Missing Aircraft Search Team. Read his account at this link from the Deep Explorers’ blog: http://www.deepexplorers.com/history/last-missing-wasp/
In July, 2008, President Obama signed legislation finally granting WASPs the Congressional Gold Medal, in recognition of their service. In honor of Memorial Day, May 27, it is important to remember all who served for the United States.
More more information on the brave WASP pilots, click to the Robinson Library history page.