Help A WASP Go To Washington
On March 9 and 10, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) will be honored in several events in Washington, D.C., culminating with the award of the Congressional Gold Medal, and a veterans group in Texas is asking for donations to help pay the travel expenses of those who would like to attend but can't afford to. Of the 1,102 women who served during World War II, about 300 are still alive. At the D.C. ceremony, each of the WASP or her relative will receive a bronze copy of the medal, with the original gold copy going to the Smithsonian Institution. "These women pilots paid their own way to enter training, took up a collection to help pay for the expenses of burial when one of their peers was killed, and when they were disbanded in 1944, they had to pay their own way back home," says the Web site for The Heart of Texas Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, which is taking the donations. "There were no honors, no benefits, and few thanks. This is America's opportunity to say 'Thank you' to the WASP."
The WASP were civilian female pilots employed to fly under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Forces. They flew fighter, bomber, transport, and training aircraft and have been credited with catalyzing revolutionary reform in the integration of women pilots into the armed services. WASP veterans and their relatives can find more details about the event schedule at the Web site of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. Information can also be found there about how to register to attend the official events; the deadline is this Friday, Feb. 26. American Airlines and Avis Rent A Car are offering travel discounts for WASP and their families. To donate to the WASP travel fund, click here. One hundred percent of the money raised will be spent to cover the cost of the WASP individual medals, meals and transportation, and to provide other logistical support, says MOAA. The medal was awarded by an act of Congress last June.