August 2, 2009

Aviation Pioneers Are Recognized: WASPs get Congressional Gold Medal

The San Francisco Chronicle has a nice story this morning about Margaret Phelan Taylor who, as a too-short youth, stretched her way into history as a WASP -- a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Margaret and the other WASPs were aviation pioneers who dedicated themselves to the war effort in a time when the US needed pilots. Although a number of them lost their lives, the WASPs contribution wasn't appropriately appreciated: when the war ended, they were just sent home. Women weren't supposed to do that sort of thing in those days. Happily (though belatedly) the surviving WASPs are now receiving the Congressional Gold Medal--the highest and most distinguished award Congress can award to a civilian.

Even before President Obama made the Gold Medal official, Margaret's activities didn't go unnoticed. Her exploits during WWII inspired her niece, Sandra, to pursue her own flying career. Sandra credits her aunt's riveting stories for her current profession as a pilot and captain with United Airlines.

Naturally, I love Margaret's final quote in the SFC article, "... I have to say, I did this for the adventure and it was quite an adventure."

To read the full article, click here.

To read more about the Women Airforce Service Pilots, click here.

No comments: