In Response to Dianne White’s “The Hero’s Honor They Deserve”
Our small world continues to intersect. I read your feature about WASP pilot Elaine Harmon (October, 2018). I flew Mrs. Harmon from Fort Worth to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas in 2008 at the last WASP reunion. The WASP ladies held their final reunion in Dallas and someone sent out a call for volunteer aircraft to ferry the ladies to Sweetwater to see their old training site. I could not pass up that honor. We flew about 30 WASPs and their escorts from Fort Worth Alliance Airport in a convoy that included a B-25, T-6, DC-3 and various GA types (me in my Cessna 340). She was accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law.
We landed at the tiny Sweetwater field and toured the WASP Museum. Volunteers served a lunch and the women AF pilots from Dyess AFB in Abilene attended to meet the WASP ladies. After lunch, a B-1 made a low pass over the field with a female crew on board. Then, the active duty female AF pilots paired up with the WASP ladies and removed their wings and pinned them on the WASP pilots. Grown men wept; me too.
Elaine sat up front with me on the trip back to Fort Worth. She told me that when she joined the WASPs, her mother disowned her and did not speak to her for several years because she thought it unseemly for a married woman to join the WASPs. Elaine gave me a pair of WASP wings that I treasure. We stayed in touch over the years. I sent her a news clipping of her photograph receiving the Gold Medal from President Obama. She wrote back with a nice note and a copy of the picture of her in flight suit that is in your article.
Colorado Springs, CO
In Response to Kevin Ware’s “Airport Day”
I landed overseas a few hours ago after an 11-hour flight, and after a few meetings sat down with a cup (large) of coffee and just finished reading your “Airport Day” article in T &T (September, 2018). I have flown into many “triangle” airports and noticed that every single one was always described as “this was originally a USMIL airport…”
A number of years ago, but not too many, I was flying a Cessna 172 and taxiing to the line at Galveston (GLS) when my left tire blew. Thankfully, the local tech was able to take care of it but during the three hours to get it sorted, a 75-year-old gentleman described that the field had a long history before WWII but with the onset of the war, the U.S. Army took over the field and replaced the runways with three runways, each 6,000 feet in length, in a triangular pattern. Ever since that day, I have always noticed those airports sporting those characteristics, but had no idea that the “200-hour taildragger pilot” was the reason. Very informative. I enjoyed the article. Thanks for writing it.