Wednesday, June 19, 2024

McMenamins and Linfield University present

Fly Gals: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

Presented by Sig Unander

History Pub

Hotel Oregon - Mattie's Room

6pm doors, 7pm program


All ages welcome

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About Fly Gals: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

Fly Gals: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the first female military pilots in American history, operated vital ferry, training and flight test missions to support the war effort and free up men for overseas combat. WASP set the standard for today's women in military aviation. Led by pioneering aviators Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Love, more than a thousand female private pilots from all parts of the country graduated from Army flight training and flew difficult and often dangerous missions. Disbanded before the war ended for political reasons, they were forgotten for decades until Congress officially recognized their service and bestowed full military benefits in 2010. 

Sig Unander will present the fascinating story of these dedicated women and their distinctive organization with rare period photographs and profiles of individual WASPs, including Portland native Hazel Ying Lee - the first female Chinese American military pilot - who died while completing a dangerous fighter plane ferry mission, one of the 38 WASPs who lost their lives serving their country during WWII. 

Other notable WASP unit members profiled in Unander's presentation include Cornelia Fort, who was in the air over Oahu, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and squadron leader Barbara Jean Erickson, who worked on the wartime Hollywood film Ladies Courageous and received the Air Medal for her aeronautical achievements and leadership. 

Sig Unander is a writer, historian and public speaker from Portland, Oregon. He began his career in broadcast journalism at media outlets in New Mexico, Minnesota and Georgia and as a freelance writer. Later, he worked in Spanish-language media, edited a business magazine for Hispanic professionals and served as writer and historian with a documentary film production company. He has spoken at hundreds of venues and lectured at universities in the United States and the Philippines. He is currently working on a narrative nonfiction book about Claire Phillips, a World War II heroine and Medal of Freedom recipient. 



About History Pub

History Pub

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These events are open to everyone interested in Pacific Northwest history, and beyond! Often co-sponsored by local or state historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers, historians and documentaries expounding on topics from indigenous history to the birth of Portland, early explorers to hop growing, and on and on! It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp