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MacDill hosts 57th AF birthday dining out
Theme: "Women in Aviation"

by Senior Airman Andrea Thacker
6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Florene Miller Watson

This year's Air Force Birthday Ball dining out is significant, as it will mark the 57th Birthday of the service and provide reflection on women's progress in today's Air Force.

"This year's theme is 'Women in Aviation.' It was selected after Secretary of the Air Force James Roche recently spoke and recognized the role of women in aviation," according to Maj. Jay Kent, planning committee chair. "To compliment the theme, Florene Miller Watson was chosen to be the guest speaker for the ball. She was one of the first women Air Force service pilots."

The Air Force Dining-out format began in the United States Army Air Corps with Gen. "Hap" Arnold's "Wing-dings," which were celebrations for members of the wing personnel. The Air Corps' association with the British in World War II increased its popularity. Since that time it has been modified into its present form.

A dining-out is a social event where members in commands or units can socialize and is designed to promote high morale and esprit de corps. The purpose of MacDill's Dining-out is to celebrate its birthday and women in aviation.

"The Air Force Birthday Ball is an important tradition for our young service that gives Airmen the opportunity to celebrate their heritage, said Brig. Gen. Tanker Snyder, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander. "Women continue to be integral to our success as a service and have made significant contributions throughout our history."

The event features a social hour at 6 p.m. in the Davis Conference Center. The dinner is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Officer's Club with entrée choices including sliced fillet of beef with cabernet mushroom sauce, roasted potatoes and green bean almandine.

For ticket information, contact your first sergeant or unit representative. More than 500 people are scheduled to attend this year's dining-out.

Symposium to highlight women in military

by Senior Airman Andrea Thacker
6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs

The "Women in Aviation Symposium" is scheduled for Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to noon. It will host a number of speakers on topics such as women's health issues, readiness and financial management. The guest speaker is Florene Miller Watson, one of the first commanders of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron.

The Air Force Birthday Ball committee designed the symposium to emphasize the unique challenges women in today's military have to face on a day-to-day basis. By emphasizing these challenges, women can gain insight on how to overcome them.

"The symposium's overall goal is to compliment the Air Force Birthday Ball theme "Women in Aviation," and to give the attendees a chance to speak with Florene Miller Watson one on one," said Chief Master Sgt. Lloydette Joseph, Women in Aviation Symposium coordinator.

The symposium is open to everyone, but seating is limited to the first 40 to RSVP.

To reserve a seat, contact Chief Joseph at 828-2025 or by email at lloydette.joseph@macdill.af.mil.

The following is a list of rules under which the Mess will be conducted. They are designed to conform to tradition and promote levity. Violators are subject to the wrath and mischievousness of the Vice (with the President's permission, of course). All assigned penalties will be carried out before the membership.

Rules of the Mess

1. Thou shalt arrive within 10 minutes of the appointed hour.
2. Thou shalt make every effort to the meet all guests.
3. Thou shalt move to the mess when thee hears the chimes and remain standing until seated by the president.
4. Thou shalt not bring drink or lighted smoking material into the mess.
5. Thou shalt smoke only when the smoking lamp is lit.
6. Thou shalt not leave the mess whilst convened.
Military protocol overrides all calls of nature.
7. Thou shalt participate in all toasts unless thyself or thy group is being honored with a toast.
8. Thou shalt ensure that thy glass is always charged while toasting.
9. Thou shalt keep toasts and comments within the limits of good taste and mutual
respect. Degrading or insulting remarks will be frowned upon by the membership. However, good-natured needling is encouraged.
10. Thou shalt not murder the Queen's English.
11. Thou shalt always use the proper toasting procedure.
12. Thou shalt consume thy meal in a manner becoming a gentleperson.
13. Thou shalt not laugh at ridiculously funny comments unless the president shows approval by laughing.
14. Thou shalt express thy approval by tapping thy spoon on the table. Clapping of hands will not be tolerated.
15. Thou shalt not question the decision of the president.
16. When the mess adjourns, thou shalt rise and wait for the president and guests to leave.
17. Thou shalt enjoy thyself to the fullest!

WASP to be symposium guest speaker

Florene Miller Watson, born in 1920, became fascinated with planes at age 8 and by age 19 had completed flight school.

Watson received her instructor's rating and was teaching men to fly in the War Training Program when World War II began. She turned 21 on the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Soon afterward she and her younger brother volunteered for service in the Air Corps.

The Air Corps searched for women with 500 hours of flying time to become aircraft ferrying pilots. This was double the standard for men who only needed 250 hours to qualify to be Army pilots.

More than 25,000 women applied for the Women's Flying Training Detachment but only 1,830 of those were selected and less than 60 percent graduated from training.

Watson was one of only 25 women who qualified for the original Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, later known as the Women Air Force Service Pilots-WASPs. These women averaged 1,100 hours flying time at the time they volunteered. In January of 1943, she was made commanding officer over the WAFS-WASPs stationed at Love Field, Dallas.

By the time the war was over, Watson had flown every type of trainer, cargo plane, fighter, and twin- and four-engine bomber the Air Corps used.

Considered civilians with officer status, the WASP operated under extreme pressure to succeed. Thirty eight women were killed during their service in the war. It took 33 years for the women pilots of WWII to be recognized by Congress as serving as military officers. In 1992, Watson traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive an award recognizing the Women's Air Force Service Pilots. (Some information taken from a biography on Florene Miller Watson)

Did you know ...
During World War II, a select group of young women pilots became pioneers, heroes and role models. They were the Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP. These women were first in history trained to fly American military aircraft.

* The WASPs flew planes what were state-of-the-art machines at the time: P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings and B-29s that they flew at 400 mph.
* The women served as volunteers, receiving little compensation and few benefits for flying in the experimental non-combat program.
* Non-combat did not mean no-risk. The WASPs flew the planes for the first time, and they often flew towing targets 30 yards behind their planes to help gunners practice their aim.
* The women who flew during WWII not only got their planes to the men at the front, they helped change the roles of women in the military.
* The WASPs were not officially recognized until 1977. At that time, Congress gave honorable discharges to the 1,100 WASPs and officially declared them veterans.

 

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