Sunday, January 5, 2014

Trailblazers: World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots Honored in New Year's Day 2014 Rose Parade

"Our Eyes are on the Stars", the title of the float, celebrates the courage of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Because of the Wingtip to Wingtip Association float in the 2014 Rose Parade, the 1102 women who served their country as Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) are receiving recognition for their contribution to the war in 1942-1944. These brave trailblazers dreamed of flying for their nation. Because there was a shortage of male pilots for combat duty, the women pushed to become pilots in order to free up the men for fighting the war. The WASP group members were assigned to ferry military planes between military bases in the USA and flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. A few exceptionally qualified women were allowed to test rocket-propelled planes, to pilot jet-propelled planes, and to work with radar-controlled targets.

The reproduction of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the WASP decorates the side of the float. The 38 stars around the medal salute the 38 WASP who lost their lives in service to their country.
The courageous women were not considered members of the military and received no recognition as veterans until 1977 when the WASP records were unsealed. According to Wikipedia, on July 1, 2009 President Barack Obama and the United States Congress awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal. During the ceremony President Obama said, "The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country's call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since. Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve." 

More than 15000 red Freedom roses decorate the length of the float.

The first issue of the Fifinella Gazette was published February 10, 1943. The female gremlin Fifinella was conceived by Roald Dahl and drawn by Walt Disney, and used as the official WASP mascot that appeared on their shoulder patches.
The Girls Succeed blog salutes the WASP who opened the skies to later generations of female pilots in the military. Thank you to all those who serve in the USA military service both past and present.

For more information about the WASP and the float watch the CNN video below:


  1. Hi, J.Q. Great post. It's so nice that these women were honored in the Rose Parade.

  2. Hi Susanne, yes, the recognition of their efforts during the war and thanks are overdue. Glad this group brought awareness to these brave ladies.

  3. Hi J.Q., So glad you are doing this blog and increasing awareness of these amazing women. I am in the early stages of putting together a show about them!
    Serendipity:...a week or two before you posted this, I received this link,0,1630289,full.story#axzz2pol9l8M7
    from Kathy DeAngelo, organizer of the NJ Folk Festival (where I will be performing my Early Female Aviators show ( on April 26th.)

  4. Carol, thanks so much for sharing the article. It would be wonderful to learn more about the stories of each woman. How sad to want to continue flying as a pilot, but offered the job of stewardess. We've come a long way, baby. In fact the pilot of the airplane that flew us out to Pasadena to the Rose Parade was a woman!

  5. Hi J Q.
    I am now touring a show about these amazing women. If you or anyone else is in the New Jersey area, please come and see it in person - schedule here: (If you can't, I have a video available -- contact info is at the address above.)