Local

October 5, 2012

Female WWII pilot visits Nellis Airmen

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Betty Wall Strohfus was all smiles as she received a bird’s eye view onto the Nellis flightline for the first time in 68 years from the air traffic control tower here Sept. 27. She last saw the airfield like this in 1944 from the cockpit of a World War II era aircraft she flew when she was stationed at the then Las Vegas Army Airfield as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot.

Strohfus, then Wall, joined as a WASP in 1943. As one of five children, she left her home in Minnesota. She was stationed at Las Vegas Army Airfield flying historic World War II-era airframes like the PT-19, BT-13 Valiant, AT-6s Texan, and a variety of other aircraft.

Betty Wall Strohfus, a WWII Women Airforce Service Pilot, holds a picture of herself when she was a WASP pilot, Sept. 27,2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Strohfus was stationed at Las Vegas Army Air Field from 1943-44, and was one of 1,074 women who became certified WASP pilots during WWII. Las Vegas Army Air Field later was re-designated as Nellis AFB. The female pilots of the WASP freed up male pilots for combat services and duties during the WWII era.

“It’s no longer Las Vegas Army Airfield,” Strohfus said laughingly. “Nellis is beautiful. It’s really been brought up to date. I am just so proud of [military members today]. They are all my heroes.”

Strohfus’ visit to Nellis included a two-day tour and meeting with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron – Thunderbirds, a stopover at the control tower where she got an over view of the airfield to watch aircraft take off and land, and a visit with Airmen and families at the Club.

“I’m so proud of what they’ve done with this beautiful base. I’m so proud to see all the people who are in the military, and what they’re doing here today.” Strohfus said with a tear running down her face.

Betty Wall Strohfus, a WWII Women Airforce Service Pilot, speaks with Tech. Sgt. Jake Richmond, U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds”, noncommissioned officer of community relations, during a distinguished visit Sept. 27, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

While at the Club, Strohfus spoke about joining the WASP, the first women in history trained to fly U.S. military aircraft. While there she also answered questions about her life and was presented the Diamondback award. The Diamondback award is an award created in honor of retired Chief Master Sgt. Henry S. Fouts, an aerial gunner and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient who completed 35 combat missions over Nazi occupied Germany, to emphasize the accomplishments of Airmen who help keep Fouts’ spirit of innovation alive.

“Everyone’s been so gracious to me, and then I got this beautiful award,” Strohfus said. “I love that award. To think that so few people have been given that. “

Betty Wall Strohfus, a WWII Women Airforce Service Pilot, and Mike Roberts, Strohfus’ son, wave goodbye to U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds,” pilots during a distinguished visit Sept. 27, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Strohfus visited the Thunderbird Hangar, the Air Traffic Control Tower, and spoke with Airmen about her experiences during her visit.

Strohfus said she felt “nearly 10 feet tall” when meeting with the Thunderbird crewmembers. Many of the Thunderbird team spoke with, posed for pictures and even received autographs from Strohfus.

“I love it at Nellis AFB, I just hope I get to come back some time,” Strohfus said with a laugh.

(See more photos on pp.14-15 of this week’s PDF file)




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

LRS fuels Nellis’ mission success

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Staff Sgt. Mike Radcliff, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron crew chief, and Airman 1st Class Patrick Fields, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels mobile distribu...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adarius Petty

Creech heats up

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adarius Petty The Nellis-Creech Fire Emergency Services Flight’s Fire Station 6 personnel applaud the speaker during the Fire Station 6 ribbon cutting ceremony at Creech Air Force Base, N...
 
 

Aviation pioneer in Las Vegas

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — During World War II, aviation opportunities literally exploded as the military trained hundreds of thousands of individuals to fly, opening the door to many who might never have had the chance before. Among this group were women pilots, many of whom trained and flew as civil service pilots with...
 

 

Rosie the Riveter and me

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. — As we recognize Women’s History Month this March, I am struck by the thought that heroes and role models do not have to be one single person but, in fact, can be several people. For me, this truth is especially relevant. During World War II, many women opted to...
 
 
DT1-(10)

Ground broken for new solar array at Nellis Air Force Base

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler Col. Richard Boutwell, 99th Air Base Wing commander, speaks at a ground breaking ceremony for a new solar array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., March 24. The new array will ...
 
 
Photo courtesy of retired Master Sgt. Phillip Sisneros

Darkest before dawn: Retired master sergeant, active duty wife share struggle of overcoming TBI

Photo courtesy of retired Master Sgt. Phillip Sisneros Then Master Sgt. Phillip Sisneros, 99th Communications Squadron comm focal point chief, lays in a coma following a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas on Aug. 13, 2011. Sisner...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin