Rose Parade Float Honors Female WWII Pilots
IRWINDALE (CBSLA.com) — A New Year’s Day Rose Parade float will honor the unsung heroes of World War II—female aviators.
CBS2’s Serene Branson reports that the float was almost grounded because the Women Airforce Service Pilots’ nonprofit group, Wingtip-to-Wingtip, was short on funds.
Fiesta Parade Floats, however, brought history to life.
Alyce Stevens Rohrer is one of eight surviving WASP members who will ride on the float.
“It’s a group I’m extremely proud of belonging to because they just didn’t sit on their laurels and quit when they were sent home. They all did something special,” she said.
Rohrer learned to fly before she could drive a car.
“I wanted to fly up there with the birds. I just felt like I needed to be up there. I can’t explain it any better than that,” she said.
At 18, Rohrer joined WASP. During WWII, she trained male pilots and performed domestic operations. The women, however, were dismissed when the male pilots came home; their feats absent from many historical accounts.
“They just sent us home. It was a very heartbreaking experience because we all knew that once we got home, we would never fly again. There were no jobs open for women in the flying field,” Rohrer said.
Rohrer hopes the Rose Parade float propels the female pilots into the history books.
“We were just completely ignored and forgotten. I hope in the future that we won’t be,” she said.