The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

State & National News

November 8, 2013

Female pilots of WWII set eyes on Rose Bowl float

Friday, November 8, 2013 — A possibly apocryphal story about Dorothy "Dot" Lewis: When she was 13, in what would have been 1929 or 1930, she absconded from church with her Easter collection plate money and hightailed it to a nearby airstrip, where she demanded to learn to fly.

A definitely true story about Dorothy "Dot" Lewis: In 1942, she was one of 25,000 women to apply, one of 1,830 women to be accepted, and one of 1,102 women to earn her "silver wings" with the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. For two years as a WASP, she trained male fliers, flew the P-63, the B-26 and the P-40, and did a hell of a barrel roll.

Lewis died in September, a few weeks shy of her 98th birthday. Her son, Albert "Chig" Lewis, a Washington lawyer, wants to put a float in the Rose Bowl parade, honoring his mother and all the other women who performed domestic operational missions during World War II — but who were unsummarily dismissed when male pilots came home.

His group has raised more than $100,000. He still needs $29,000. He is trying to do it in less than a week.

"The WASPs were relatively modest," Chig says. "The thing that got them going was that people didn't know their history, or that this had happened." The WASPs didn't get the attention of some other women's military divisions, in part because they were never awarded the military status they'd been promised at the start of the war.

"I taught school for 20 years," says Alyce Stevens Rohrer, a former WASP. "Nobody in the classes ever knew anything about us. We're not even mentioned in history books."

And so? A float. A float in a nationally broadcast parade with an estimated viewership of 15 million households. The members of Wingtip-to-Wingtip, the WASP nonprofit of which Chig is president, were inspired to this idea after seeing the African American Tuskegee Airmen ride in the Tournament of Roses parade in 2009. In early 2013, when the ban prohibiting military servicewomen from combat positions was lifted, Chig decided that the time for a WASP float had come.

Text Only
State & National News
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    FAIRMONT, W. Va. - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 28, 2014

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • WORLD NEWS: Fast food comes to standstill in China

    BEIJING - The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    WASHINGTON - Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    NEW YORK - Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.

    July 25, 2014

  • N.C. Energy Policy Council Long Range Energy Generation and Renewable Energy Committee to meet

    RALEIGH – The North Carolina Energy Policy Council’s Long Range Energy Generation and Renewable Energy Committee will meet via conference call at 9 a.m. July 31.

    July 24, 2014

  • N.C. State University Turfgrass Field Day set for Aug. 13

    N.C. State University’s annual Turfgrass Field Day will be held in Raleigh at the Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Research Lab, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. One of the largest events of its kind in the country, the field day offers the industry and general public a chance to view the Turfgrass Program’s ongoing research trials and speak directly with N.C. State faculty and staff.

    July 24, 2014

  • NCSU Study: Urban Heat Boosts Some Pest Populations 200-Fold, Killing Red Maples

                New research from North Carolina State University shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect – a significant tree pest – by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.

    July 23, 2014

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content