Tuesday, November 10, 2009

WASP Deanie Parrish to be on The Story

According to the Wings Across America website, WASP Deanie Parrish will be on NPR's The Story tomorrow, November 11.

You can listen to it here. http://thestory.org/.

I take the liberty of presenting her bio from the Wings Across America page:
WASP DEANIE PARRISH, CLASS 44-W-4 Waco, Texas. Associate Director Wings Across America.. Deanie is an expert in the history of the WASP, having personally interviewed over 100 WASP in 19 states and has volunteered her time over the last 9years to ensure that the WASP history is not forgotten. She is also a sought after motivational speaker.

Deanie grew up believing that ‘nothing is impossible’. 64 years ago, she asked a primary cadet instructor why, just because she was a girl, she couldn’t learn to fly like the aviation cadets? He taught her to fly! When she heard about a program at Avenger Field to teach qualified young women pilots to fly military aircraft, she applied and was accepted. She boarded a train in Florida and traveled to Sweetwater, where she trained for 7 months. When she graduated and became a WASP, she was assigned to Greenville AFB, Miss as an engineering test pilot in BT-13s and UC-78s. She was transferred to Tyndall AFB, Fla., completed B-26 school and was retained as an air-to-air B-26 tow target pilot to train gunners for combat (using live ammunition).

After the WASP were disbanded, Deanie married a career AAF B-29 pilot, raised 2 daughters and spent 5,000 hours as a hospital volunteer. In 1979, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Houston. Other credits include: Community Houston Memorial Hospital Volunteer President, Historic Waco Foundation, Charter Member Waco Welcome Corps, Big 12 Task Force, Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, "2005 Sprit of Women Award"-- Women's Chamber of Commerce of Texas; International Forest of Friendship, Baylor Alumni by Choice, Daedalian. In 2005, the Silver Wings Detachment of Arnold Air Society at Texas Christian University was named in her honor.

Over five years ago, she and her daughter, Nancy, convinced the Sweetwater City Commissioners that the WASP deserved a museum at Avenger Field. Impossible? She was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National WASP WWII Museum and served as the first Facilities Chairman.

Deanie is featured in the "FLYGIRLS OF WWII" traveling exhibit. She is also responsible for all the text panels in the exhibit. The FLYGIRLS opening photo of a WASP strapping on a parachute is of Deanie, taken in 1944.

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