Sunday, September 20, 2009

WASP Doris Nathan, Mabel Rawlinson, Sue Parish

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Three role models to give your girls flight plans (because girls need flight plans, not fairy tales!):

Female flier cherishes `blessed life'. Kalamazoo Gazette, Sunday Sept 20.

It was fall of 1942, the war was on and gas was being rationed for automobiles, but not for airplanes.

Doris Burmester, a California teacher, had always wanted to learn to fly. This was her chance, she thought, so she and another teacher began taking flying lessons.

``I took lessons whenever the weather was nice,'' recalled the 92-year-old Friendship Village resident, whose married name is Doris Nathan.

Nathan heard about Jacqueline Cochran and her attempt to develop a U.S. department of female fliers, and the subsequent formation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. She applied, was accepted and participated in the first training class.

``We were expecting to be part of the military all along, but we weren't,'' said Nathan, who was teamed with Dorothy Eppstein, of Kalamazoo, for most of her time as a WASP. ``There were too many men who thought it was not a good idea.''

Read the complete article at the link above.

WWII women pilots to get 'long-overdue' honor; Local woman who died while serving as a WWII pilot is among them
Mabel Rawlinson was killed on Aug. 23, 1943, when her plane crashed during a training exercise at a military base in North Carolina.

Rawlinson, 26, was a member of a newly formed unit of female pilots serving in World War II. But the pilots were not recognized as enlisted soldiers.

So the U.S. Army did not pay to bring Rawlinson’s body back to her hometown of Kalamazoo. Related content

It did not pay for the small graveside ceremony at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park.

She received no medals.

“She was forgotten,” said Pamela Pohly, Rawlinson’s niece.

But not anymore.

Click above link for complete story.

Sue Parish pursued lifelong passion for flying
Suzanne DeLano was determined to become a Women Airforce Service Pilot during World War II, even though she didn’t meet the age requirement.

“I wanted so badly to be a part of that group and to serve the war effort to the best of my abilities. I figured if I could just keep exceeding the requirements for entry, my age would be overlooked,” DeLano, who added Parish to her name after she married Preston “Pete” Parish in 1948, said for a Kalamazoo Gazette story when she was inducted into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 1994.

The WASPs didn’t relent, however, so by the time Parish joined them after her 21st birthday, she had 350 hours of aviation training — 10 times the required amount — from famed Kalamazoo aviator Irving Woodhams. Parish also held commercial, instrument and instructor ratings by that time.

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