March 10, 2010
Contact: Aaron Hunter 202-225-2040
Congresswoman Susan Davis Honors Women Airforce Service Pilots
Six women from San Diego region awarded Congressional Gold Medal
Washington – At a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) honored San Diego women who served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II.
Vivian Eddy of Coronado, Beverly Carruth of San Diego, Elizabeth Lux of Carlsbad, Dolores Reed of Encinitas, and Joyce Secciani and Jean Landis both from El Cajon were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can give.
Davis was the lead Democratic cosponsor of the House bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal, which was enacted into law by President Obama in July.
The WASPs were the first women in history to fly American military aircraft. They flew fighter, bomber, transport, and training aircraft.
The following is the presentation Davis gave at the ceremony:
“I want to begin with words of thanks. At a very precarious time in our country’s history, you stepped forward. You volunteered, without notice or expectation of recognition, for often dangerous missions.
“Unfortunately, 38 of your fellow WASP lost their lives on those missions, and many more have passed away since their service.
“I know you held a remembrance ceremony and wreath laying for them yesterday. I wish they had all been able to be here today to receive this honor, and I appreciate the many family members that are in attendance on behalf of their loved ones.
“Thank you for your remarkable service and soaring patriotism.
“Your love of flying and your desire to serve your country are testaments to your astounding heroism. I have been captivated by your legacy for the past year as I, like far too many Americans, didn’t know your story. So in addition… thank you for your patience.
“This honor is much deserved and long overdue.
“Today – your day of honor – is our opportunity to thank you for your fearless, selfless service. Your strength and spunk - your unprecedented moxie - is an inspiration.
“Servicewomen today stand on your shoulders, perhaps unknowingly. Let this be just the beginning as your story is spread throughout the country through public radio and other outlets. It is wondrous to be a part of history, part of your day, part of sharing your story.
“I hope that when you leave today, you will take with you not only your medal but also our sincere, awe-inspired gratitude.
“Congratulations and thank you again.”