WASP Homecoming Saturday

The WASP Museum’s personal grilling crew, Fifi’s-Flyer French-Fryers, will be serving cheeseburgers and home-made french fries from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, at the WASP Museum, which is located at Avenger Field, west of Sweetwater. The grilling crew will be on the west side of Hangar One and the public is invited to enjoy old-fashioned cheeseburgers with regular fries or the specialty sweet-potato fries. “We started preparing sweet potatoes last year at some of our tailgate parties and they went twice as fast as the regular fries,” explains Jo Henderson, one of the grill crew. “We thought they might like them here, too.” she concluded. Jo is the daughter of WASP Instructor, Paul Hill.The public is invited to come to the museum Saturday morning to view the exhibits, meet the WASP, have a cheeseburger and watch Highland High School perform their award-winning UIL One-Act Play, based on scenes from “The Fastest Woman Alive,” written by Karen Sunde and distributed by Dramatic Publishing at 1:30 p.m. The story chronicles the life of Jackie Cochran, the principal driving force in the creation of the WASP. There is no admission charge. WASP Deanie Parrish was instrumental in the opening of the National WASP WWII Museum in 2005. Founders of the National WASP WWII Museum included WASP Parrish’s daughter, Nancy, WASP from around the country and many people from Sweetwater, including Sandra Edwards Spears. Sandra’s father, Rigdon Edwards was an instructor in the WASP program and chose to remain in Sweetwater after the program was terminated in December 1944.The WASP Museum steadily adds exhibits. Last year a Jacqueline Cochran Exhibit was added, which displays many of Jackie’s personal possessions. Also added was an exhibit of the Congressional Gold Medal, which was presented to the WASP in 2010 for their courageous service to our country. The WASP are one of only three military units to receive this honor, along with the Navaho Code Talkers and the Tuskegee Airmen.One of the most recent additions is a Fairchild Aircraft PT-19-A, one of the first trainers flown by the WASP during their training at Sweetwater. On temporary display at the annual homecoming event will be a Stearman, WASP #12. This plane, being flown in from Pennsylvania, is one of the planes that the WASP actually flew since it was based at Avenger Field in 1943 and 1944. “Bill Johnson, President of Texas National Bank and Past-President of the WASP Museum Board of Directors, spotted the Avenger Field designation on the plane visiting the air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and introduced himself to the owners,” explained Sharron Davis, Executive Director of the museum. “The owners were excited about bringing their plane back to Avenger Field to WASP Homecoming 2011,” Davis added. The WASP will meet the public, sign autographs, pose for photos and share some their fascinating stories. A dinner/dance will be held in their honor that evening, including a sunset memorial to the 38 who lost their lives serving our country. The steak dinner will be catered by the Almost World-Famous Sweetwater Chuck Wagon Gang.Come out and participate, enjoy the fly-in of 20 WASP between 9:30-10 a.m. on May 28. You can even join Freddie and Beverly Creed, John and Susan Bewley, Ryan and Hillary Pitts and Tom and Jo Henderson and become a grill-crew member of Fifi-Flyer’s French Fryers. New members are appreciated. All you need is a spatula in hand, and a passion for helping a worthy cause, the success of the National WASP WWII Museum.