Oscar-nominated director Matia Karrell’s company, The Red Door Films, is thrilled to invite you to our panel event series to celebrate the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII - also known as WASP - over Veterans Day weekend at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica. This will be the 4th panel discussion The Red Door Films has produced to raise awareness about women’s contribution to aviation. Our Guests of Honor will include Women Airforce Service Pilots Beverly Beesemyer, Edna Davis, Alyce Rohrer, Shirley Kruse, and Millie Young, and will also feature women pilots from the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines. We want to bring attention to these women’s place in our country’s history, to celebrate them, and to raise funds for the Red Door Films' dramatic series, Flygirls and the accompanying educational documentary.
2pm-3pm Private Reception with WASP for Pilot's Cross Circle donors and sponsors.
3pm-4pm Public Panel Event - FlyGirls trailer screening and screening of our trailer for our documentary Coming Home, followed by our Panel Discussion with our special guests, the WASP, and recent female military aviators.
4pm-5pm Post-Reception, Photo Ops/Book Signing
The "Greatest Generation": 5 WASP
BEVERLY BEESEMYER: Born in Hollywood and raised in Beverly Hills, Beverly attended the University of Southern California before going to art school. She took a leave of absence to pay her way through flying school in order to gain acceptance into the Women Airforce Service Pilot training program at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. During her years of service, Beesemyer’s missions included training male pilots to use machine guns to attack enemy aircraft. After the WASPs were disbanded, Beesemyer continued to fly and became a flying instructor at the Monrovia Airport.
EDNA DAVIS: Edna Davis’ many accomplishments include being the first woman to solo pilot the twin engine Martin B-26 Marauder, the hardest WWII bomber to fly. Davis was inspired to fly as a child by her father, who had an open cockpit plane. She later attended UC Berkeley, enrolling in the school’s Civil Air Patrol program and finishing her degree early. After her training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas she was transferred to Dodge City, where she met her husband Jack. She and her husband moved to Manhattan Beach and opened a travel agency that organized group tours to Africa. On her trips around the world, Davis has visited almost 200 different countries.
SHIRLEY CHASE KRUSE: Shirley Chase Kruse was not yet twenty-one when a pilot friend from New York told her about the WASP program. She had loved flying her whole life and was already enrolled in flying lessons when she was accepted. Although the training was intense, Shirley loved it. After the WASP were disbanded, she went back to civilian life, and got a job proofreading technical manuals at an airport in New Jersey. After years fighting to get a job that wasn’t administrative, Kruse spent time focusing on her family. She was thrilled that years later the WASPs’ many accomplishments were finally recognized.
ALYCE ROHRER: Growing up in Cedar City, Utah, Alyce Rohrer always wanted to fly. So much so, that she earned her pilot’s license before the age of fifteen, and then subsequently lied about her age to join the WASP at age eighteen (women had to be 21 to enroll). Her age proved to be her biggest challenge, as she found herself sometimes struggling to keep up with the women who were all college graduates. However, it also became her biggest motivator, and she went on to become a test pilot for Army training aircraft at Perrin Field in Texas.
MILLIE YOUNG: It was love at first sight when Millicent Peterson Young saw her first airplane at age six. She began taking flying lessons as soon as she was old enough, and several years later, tricked her parents, and boarded a bus to join the WASP. She was in the last class of WASP pilots, serving in 1944. After the war, she rented planes for fun and liked to scare her boyfriends by taking them up in the air. Her husband, also a pilot, passed away and she raised their five children on her own. Although she doesn’t fly solo anymore due to her eyesight, she recently went up in a beloved Steerman with another pilot a few weeks ago in Kansas City.
The "Next Generation": 5 Current Military Pilots
TAMARA BARLETTE (Lt. Col. US AIR FORCE): Tamara Barlette is an active duty Lt Colonel in the USAF. She has flown the T-37 Tweet, A-10 Warthog, MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper. She is currently an instructor pilot in the T-38 Talon, the Air Force’s primary trainer for the fighter/bomber aircraft track. She has more than 3000 total flight hours and over 1500 hours of combat support time in both Iraq and Afghanistan supporting and protecting our troops on the ground.
KAREN FINE BRASCH (Cdr. ret. US NAVY): Retired US Navy Commander and helicopter pilot. She flew SH-60/HH-60 Seahawks on Search and Rescue missions around the world, and instructed USMC flight students in UH-1N Huey. She was the first female pilot in her Search and Rescue/ Anti-Submarine Warfare squadron, as well as among the first co-ed crew aboard the USS Nimitz (the second battle group ever to deploy with women).
LISA H. DOLAN (Cdr. ret. US NAVY): Lisa H. Dolan is a retired United States Navy Commander and helicopter pilot. She was a qualified HH-46 Sea Knight pilot, test pilot, flight instructor pilot, and instrument check pilot flying Search and Rescue and Logistics missions around the world. In addition, she completed a joint, special operations tour ashore in the Persian Gulf Region.
MAURA GEORGE (Lt. Col. US ARMY and US AIR FORCE): Lt Colonel Maura George is a former US Army pilot and an active duty USAF Lt Col flight instructor at the United States Air Force Academy, CO. She has served over seven years in the Army flying UH-1 Huey and the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and has deployed to the Middle East twice; including a combat tour as a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) pilot in Iraq flying wounded off of the battlefield. In 2004, Maura transitioned from the Army to fly C-130 Hercules airplanes in the Air Force Reserves.
JACQUELYNE NICHOLS (Capt. US Marine Corps): Active duty USMC pilot. She recently transitioned to fixed wing aircraft making her the first female Marine Corps pilot to fly the UC-35D. Previously she completed two combat mission deployments as a CH-53E helicopter pilot assigned to HMH-466. She first deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 14.1 where she earned the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 3.