WASP Museum to Launch ‘Jean Landis WASP Pilot’ July 16
Jean Landis WASP Pilot – 2,500 Miles … Long Beach to Newark in a P-51, my latest book in the WASP/WAFS Pilot Series, will officially debut Saturday, July 16, at 1:30 pm Central Daylight Time – on ZOOM. The Zoom connection will be coming direct from the WASP Museum in Sweetwater, Texas – the official home of the WASP of World War II.
Those of you who live in other time zones, please take note and readjust as needed. I hope the Saturday date doesn’t interfere with your attending, but if it does, my marketing guru Mary will post the video recording soon after. There is a reason for the July 16 date. I also will be appearing at the WASP Museum later that afternoon with Honey Fulton Parker, younger sister of Original WAFS Dorothy Fulton.
WAFS Dorothy Fulton’s Exhibit to Debut That Same Day
Dorothy’s exhibit in the museum is debuting that same day and Museum Director Lisa Taylor invited me to join Honey for the festivities. Honey and I go back twenty years, when I was writing The Originals: The Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron of WWII – my first book. Dorothy is not only featured in the book she happens to be one of the seven WAFS pictured on the cover.
I went to New Jersey in 2004 to meet Honey and interview her as well as one of her sister Dottie’s flight students from before WWII – Peter Jacullo. Yes, Dottie was teaching flying before entering the WAFS in the fall of 1942. Honey and I met again in Washington D.C on March 10, 2010, when the WASP were honored as recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal, given to civilians who served our country .
For those who are not aware, the Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress. It is Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.The congressional medal seeks to honor those, individually or as a group, “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Gold_Medal
My Pleasure to Deliver WAFS’ Gold Medals to Two Families
Please remember, the WASP were not officially militarized until 1977 – thirty-three years after they were dismissed and sent home with absolutely no recognition. Honey was there to pick up Dorothy’s medal. I was there on behalf of two WAFS families. I was planning to go to the event and offered to pick up Gold Medals awarded to two original WAFS, one of whom I knew well and both of whom I have written about.
I picked up Dorothy Scott’s medal for her nephew Tracy Scott, son of Dorothy’s beloved twin brother, Ed. Sadly, Dorothy Scott was one of the WAFS who died on active duty in WWII. I picked up Nancy Batson Crews’ Gold Medal for her two sons, Paul Jr. and Radford, and her daughter Janey. Nancy was my friend and my beloved mentor. She asked me to write The Originals and then made it possible to do so. It was she who inspired me to continue writing books about the WAFS and eventually the WASP.
And then, of course, there is Jean Landis, subject of my latest book. She is the first of these women pilots I have written about who did not begin as a WAFS. Rather, Jean was a member of WASP Class 43-4 – the largest class to earn their WASP wings and graduate from right there in Sweetwater.
Jean Landis One of 134 WASP Pursuit Ferry Pilots
Jean Landis also has the distinction – though not “an Original WAFS” – of having flown PURSUIT!!! Yep, she was one of the 134 WASP who graduated from Pursuit School and went on to ferry the U.S.’s finest fighter aircraft across the skies of wartime America. These women did NOT fly abroad, as some misinformed individuals have claimed. Usually guys who thought they saw women ferry pilots in the Pacific or in England. Not so. Every WASP will tell you that. The guys must have been dreaming. Wishful thinking.
Stationed with the Ferry Command at Long Beach, Jean was one of the lucky ones. She flew P-51s – manufactured at North American Aviation in Inglewood – from Long Beach to Newark daily! These gals’ trips could be as short as three days – 2½ days east if the weather was perfect and a day to get home via American Airlines out of La Guardia. Or it could take more than a week if the weather was foul – which, Jean will tell you it frequently was.
Read About Her First Pursuit Flight in Chapter One
But this lady was in love with the Mustang from day one and cherished every trip she made in one. Chapter One will tell you about her very first P-51 flight at Pursuit School. Hold on to your hats guys and gals, it’s a classic.
If we’re lucky, Jean – who is 103 – might make an appearance on the launch. For now we’ll hope so.
See you July 16!!! Register here on the WASP Museum website.
Thank you for reading my books! You can find all 12 of them on Amazon at this link.