Sunday, April 26, 2009

Twitter is good for something after all...

I signed up for a Twitter account a couple of days ago, and "Followed" Flygirl, aka Nancy Parrish, who runs the Wings Across America WASP website.

In reading through past twitters, I came across a link she'd shared about Native American WASP OLa Rexroat.

Members of the South Dakota Aviation Association gathered at the hangar at Clyde Ice Field near Spearfish on a 2007 Friday evening to honor four Pioneers in Aviation by inducting them into the SD Aviation Hall of Fame. They also presented the FAA's Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award; and certificates to six South Dakotans as the 2007 Combat Air Crew Memorial Award recipients.

One of the four Hall of Fame Inductees was Ola Mildred (McDonald) Rexroat of Edgemont.

Ola was born and grew up in Oklahoma, but spent part of her childhood living with her grandmother at Vetal, South Dakota. She graduated from St. Mary's Indian High School for Girls in Springfield, SD, before attending college at Chadron and in Albuquerque.

Ola graduated from WASP training in the “1944-7” class o­n September 8, 1944 at Sweetwater, Texas. She then spent four months towing targets behind a T6 plane at Eagle Pass Army Airfield, Texas.

The WASP program ended in December of 1944.

Ola then became an air traffic controller. She contnued to fly, by joining an Air Force Reserve Unit in Albuquerque, NM.

Only 800 American Indian women served in World War II and there were 1074 women in the WASP program. Ola is believed to be the o­nly member of both groups: the o­nly American Indian woman who served as a WASP.

Another honoree was also a WASP, Helen Severson. Originally from Summit, SD., Severson was killed during flight training in August of 1943. The other two honorees were Bob Erlandson and Thomas Walenta. (Native Americans in the military)

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