Saturday, March 12, 2011

WASP Museum, Sweetwater Texas

We are in Carlsbad, New Mexico for Spring Break!  Whew, a long drive, but the girls were great travelers, as usual.  We stopped around midway in Sweetwater, Texas to visit the WASP Museum -- that would be the Women Airforce Service Pilots, not the flying insects!  I've posted before that the girls like the documentary about Hazel Ying Lee, a Chinese-American pilot who flew with the WASPS.  That was enough to make them very excited about going to the museum.

The museum is in "Hanger One," where the WASPS trained.  It has a mockup of the barracks where the women lived

A car and luggage from the era
Even the outhouse the women used!
There was a mockup of the "Link Trainer" where the WASPS did simulator training.  The girls were amazed at how small the space was.  In the first picture, Zoe is pointing to a picture of Hazel Ying Lee in the Link Trainer.
And here's one of the airplanes the women flew. 
The main job of the WASPS was to pick up airplanes fresh from the factories and ferry them to training bases for men to fly, or to shipping points where the planes were packed and shipped overseas.  Imagine how dangerous that was -- these women were often the first to fly a freshly-manufactured plane and thus the first to find out its flaws, some of which were fatal flaws.

One slight disappointment for the girls was that there was little evidence of Hazel Ying Lee in the Museum.  We found one picture, as I mentioned above, and Hazel's name on the list of WASPs who died in the line of duty:
Still, the girls had a great time, and want to go back for the annual WASP Homecoming when Maya is 8;  they give free airplane rides to children 8 and up!


LisaLew said...

Educational AND fun - what a great vacation. Be safe!

DannieA said...

How fun....I've been there before LOL. Had to visit a town called sweetwater! (college years were in TX)

Mahmee said...

That museum looks great. And, the girls look great. Happy vacation!