I’m off on Sept. 6 for Portland, Oregon, and the 64th WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) reunion. This will be my fifth WASP reunion since I began writing about them back in the 1990s. They are the subject of both of my published books and two more works-in-progress. Not only are these remarkable women – all age 80 and older now – inspiring to be around, I am fortunate enough to be one of the oral historians officially recording their stories. That is what I will be doing between Sept. 6 and 13 – capturing their voices and experiences for posterity under the auspices of the WASP Archives at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.
For those who DON’T know, 1102 women pilots flew for the U.S. Army in World War II - everything from single engine trainers to four engine bombers. In 1944, a select 134 of these women ferried (flew the plane from the factory to the docks for shipment abroad) two-thirds of the pursuit (fighter) airplanes built in the U.S. Good stuff!
A side note: I expect to join our Prez Jane Kirkpatrick and her husband, Jerry, for lunch in The Dalles next Sunday, Sept. 10. They live only 50 miles from there. I am driving to The Dalles from Portland Sunday morning — with my “boss” Dawn Letson, the head of the TWU Woman’s Collection — to conduct an interview with a WASP who lives there. Those who attended last year’s conference may remember that Dawn spoke to us about research and the collection at TWU.
If anyone living in or near Portland is interested in my books, I will be at the Marriott Portland Downtown this Wednesday late afternoon through Saturday night. Come by the WASP Hospitality Room and see me. If I’m not away doing an interview, I will be there selling my books and talking to people.
Sarah Rickman: former WWW president (2005) and current WILLA competition chair.