Wright-Patt reservists 'WOW'ed by conference
By Stacy Vaughn, 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 22, 2009
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Reservists from the 445th Airlift Wing participated in the National Aviation Hall of Fame's Third Annual Wings of Women Conference July 17. Forty-six young women in grades 9-12 attended the daylong interactive education program, with activities taking place at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, NAHF, the Hope Hotel and the 445 AW.
WOW's aim is to stir girls' interest in their futures, introduce them to career opportunities, resources that are available, and demonstrate that it is possible to achieve success in aviation, and in life. The WOW Conference is held in conjunction with the NAHF annual Enshrinement dinner and ceremony.
"After the first year of the conference, it has since been an all volunteer effort and it continues to be an all volunteer effort. The women coming to the Enshrinement have always been gracious to share their experiences and spend time with the girls," Betty Darst, NAHF board member and adjunct faculty, Wright State University, said.
The young women attending the conference came from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them had accepted invitations that were sent to the aviation community network, Air Force Junior ROTC, Gear Up, Upward Bound, along with personal support from teachers. Each girl submitted a brief essay articulating her desire to attend. Ms. Darst said there were also some girls in attendance that are part of the Sinclair Aviation program.
While at the NAHF, four members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, Francis Brookings, Nadine Canfield Nagle, Marty Wyall, and Dawn Seymour, gave a short presentation. When the group was in the World War II hangar at the museum, they showed the girls the aircraft that they flew. The WASPs stayed with the group the rest of the day.
"Dawn was an awesome woman. She was fun and just full of energy. I wish I could have chatted more with her," said Danielle Kelly, an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet who escorted Ms. Seymour during the conference.
The group toured the 445th AW where Lt. Col. Linda Stokes-Crow, Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commander, gave an overview of the wing's mission. Maj. Dawn Rice, also from the AES, gave an informative presentation on the mission of AES and the role of a flight nurse. The group then moved to the flight line for a tour of a C-5 Galaxy aircraft. As each young girl explored the cargo area and flight deck, they pondered the question asked of them earlier by one of the load masters, "how many ping pong balls can fit on a C-5?"
"The conference was a memorable event. One of my favorite parts of the day was touring the C-5 because it's my favorite airplane," Angel Buzard said.
At the close of the day, each girl selected a book of their choice, and some other mementos of the conference, including a deck of playing cards featuring women air and space heroes and WOW t-shirt.
"I thought the program was a real learning experience because I got a lot of information about women in aviation," Amanda Brown said.
Another attendee also expressed her appreciation of the event. "This was an eye opening experience and because of it, I do plan to join the Air Force after college. I'm glad that I was able to spend the day on the base and learn new things about something life changing," said Jazmine Glover, who's part of the Upward Bound program at Springfield, Ohio's, Wittenberg University.
"It's all worth it when you here a comment like that," Ms. Darst said.