HONOLULU - Two female aviators from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, shared their Army experiences during the 7th Annual Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History Program in Honolulu, Aug. 25.
The aviators spoke about their military experiences as part of the legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots who, during World War II, were the first women in history trained to fly American military aircraft.
"It was really an honor to speak at this," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Allison Morgan, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB, 25th ID. "This is a tremendous legacy that we female pilots are a part of. I am really proud to be a part of this legacy and event."
The WASP legacy began August 1943 when the Women's Flying Training Detachment and Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron merged allowing civilian female pilots to fly military aircraft under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Forces during WWII.
"By bringing in female pilots, we can show the life of the legacy going strong today and make a visible connection to the audience," said Stacy Skipworth, WASP presentation coordinator for the Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History Program, originally from Portland, Or. "We wanted to bridge the gap between the local community and military community ... who has been impacted in Hawaii by the influence of women ... and that has to include the military."
In addition to the event on Aug. 25, a forum was held at the Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama Campus, Aug. 22.
"I think having the military speak in this program made the WASP lecture the most important lesson of the day for most people," Skipworth said. "This shows the impact of history and how it makes strides and improves the lives of future generations."
The theme of this year's conference was "Women of World War II Hawaii, an Era of Change."
"I read a little bit about WASP before I joined the Army so I was aware of the legacy I would be continuing," said Morgan.
Morgan stated she is inspired by the women who came before her and faced the challenges of friction and stereotypes, which allows her to do her job without those issues today.
"For me, the pride of knowing I have dedicated service members who genuinely want to serve their country was felt by the whole audience," said Skipworth.
This is the first year that military have been invited to speak during this forum. A female pilot from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines shared their experiences during each WASP lecture.
"The reaction of the crowd was very heart warming," said Morgan. "Everyone had interesting and intelligent questions and we were received very well."
The female aviator portion of the WASP speech ended with a standing ovation from the crowd.