Thursday, November 17, 2011
WASP recognized with memorial at BOHS
Orange County Register: Women pilots recognized with memorial at BOHS
Quintin Ruiz, grandson of WASP Violet Cowden, escorts Mary Lamy and Myrle Mackintosh.
A plaque and monument have been unveiled among 12 pepper trees at the edge of the Brea Olinda High School campus to pay tribute to 12 Women Airforce Service Pilots, better known as WASPs, from Orange County.
The memorial was paid for through donations and fundraisers held by the Orange District of the California Federation of Women's Clubs.
During World War II, the women pilots flew non-combat missions, making more male pilots available for combat flights. The WASPs flew most types of military aircraft including B-26 and B-29 bombers. These women weren't granted military status until 1977.
"They've been overlooked," said Ellie Rankin, member of the Placentia Round Table Women's Club.
Mary Lamy, of Seal Beach, who is one of the 12 Orange County WASPs, was present in her uniform at the dedication Nov. 10.
Along with Lamy, the women honored are Beverly L. Beesemyer, Mary Reineberg Burchard, Violet Thurn Cowden, Jeanne Perot D'Ambly, Mary Ann Dreher, Roberta Jane Fohl, Bethel Gibbons Haven, Dolores M. Lamb, Joan Whelan Lyle, Doris K. Muise and Eleanor Olson Weems.
Marilyn Bennett, president of the Orange District, initiated the idea of getting involved with recognizing the WASP legacy.
Bennett, along with district chairman Myrle Mackintosh, led the women's clubs in this effort for more than a year, Rankin said. Previously, the 12 pepper trees were planted in part of the BOHS campus that was damaged by the 2008 Freeway Complex Fire.
Women from the 23 women's clubs in the Orange District were present for the event