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November 11, 2009

The Original WASPs


During World War II, women stepped up into the jobs once held by enlisted men. They became mechanics, steel workers, plumbers and, for Deanie Parrish and 1,000 other women, pilots for the U.S. military. The Women's Air Force Service Pilots, known as the WASPs, helped train male pilots for combat, transported officers around the country, and allowed more men to serve overseas. 

But Deanie never talked much about her adventures in the air; it wasn't until 1993 that she began to share the stories of her service. Now Deanie and her daughter are trying to record interviews with all the surviving WASPs. On this Veteran's Day, Deanie talks with Dick Gordon about her adventures in the air and the importance of remembering the past.



Russ More was on the HMT Rohna off the coast of Algeria in World War II. The troop ship was under British command when it was hit by a remote controlled, rocket-boosted bomb. This bomb was the first of its kind, and historians say that the hit gave birth to the missile age. The attack on the Rohna was the greatest loss of troops at sea in U.S. naval history.

Russ saw the bomb hit the ship. He swam several hours to safety, towing a shipmate. Russ never told his own story to his parents, and his children never heard the story until recently, when Russ moved into a senior center and began to write down his memories. He wrote to the center's paper, and sent his recollections to his children. He joins Dick to remember his experiences during World War II.

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