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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Tiffany Miller

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

Tiffany Miller

Last week I posted a request to help rename of the Oakland airport to Maggie Gee. Today's Friday Fabulous Flyer is the woman responsible for this initiative! Tiffany's story and the effort behind her action follows. She has proven that change can happen with effort. Thank you for yours! 

"My name is Tiffany Miller. My grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon, flew planes for the US military during WWII as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). This group of brave women were the first women to fly US military aircraft.


Growing up, I saw how much my grandmother cared about preserving the history of the WASP. She attended innumerable events for veterans, she spoke at schools, and even responded to fan mail. When she passed away in 2015, we already knew that her last wish was to be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Even in death, she was thinking about what she could do to ensure future generations would have the opportunity to learn about the WASP. She viewed Arlington as a type of museum where people can learn about our country's military history.

We thought that arranging the funeral would not be an issue, so we were surprised when my mother's request was rejected. We found out later that a few months before my grandmother passed away that the Secretary of the Army issued a memo which basically stated that the WASP were not "real" veterans and therefore were ineligible to be in Arlington.

This was devastating for my family and we knew we had to make this right for my grandmother. I ended up posting a petition to which kicked off a campaign that ultimately led to federal legislation being passed which enshrined the right of the WASP to be in Arlington. 

While my family and I were working on my grandmother's campaign, my sisters pressured me into getting a Twitter account so that I could help them with the social media aspect of the campaign. I started research information about women aviators and women in the military, anything remotely related to our campaign that I could Tweet to help draw interest to our cause. It was while doing this research that I learned there is an airport in Istanbul, Turkey that is named after Turkey's first female military pilot. I mentioned this to my husband who said, 

"Doesn't that tell you a lot? 
I bet you can't name a single US airport 
named for a woman." 

And he was right! I was kind of appalled at myself. This was something I had never thought about.

While my priority at the time was my grandmother's campaign, I immediately thought, we need to make this right too! 

Maggie Gee, 
Grandma's dearest WASP friend

I thought about my local airport in Oakland and how it is not currently named for anyone. And then I also thought about how Maggie Gee, my grandmother's dearest WASP friend, lived her whole life in the East Bay and became inspired to fly as a child because her family spent Sundays watching planes take off at the Oakland Airport. 

I thought of how she was one of only two Chinese American women to serve as a WASP. I thought of how Maggie went on to become a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories after the war. I thought of how she acted as a community advocate for decades, working on fair housing and voter registration initiatives. She was an exemplary human being and, in my opinion, deserving of the honor of having an airport renamed for her.

Since undertaking this campaign, I have learned that almost half of the busiest US airports (27/60) are named for men while none are named for women. Additionally there are almost 20,000 airports in the US and not a single one is named for a woman of color. I also learned about recent efforts to increase female representation among publicly displayed statues in San Francisco and New York's Central Park. 

The lack of representation of women and people of color is all around us, but this erasure is so normalized many people are not even aware of it. But this absence perpetuates the misperception that women and people of color have not contributed anything important to our country's history. "

"I think it is far past time 
for us to right this wrong" 

Please Help to rename the 

Oakland International Airport 
to the Magee Gee Airport 
by signing the petition. 
It's easy... simply click HERE
to sign the Petition

"I think she is most deserving. The WASPs were an important part of our air component during WWII. As a member of the first class of women pilot that were trained in the Air Force I fully understanding the pioneering spirit. As president of Women Military Aviators I fully endorse the naming of a major US airport after one of America's Aviation Pioneers." 
Kathy Rambo-Cosand.

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day: is a U.S. Federal holiday that remembers and honors those who have died while serving their country.

I was told that we should not say "Happy Memorial Day" because there is nothing happy about people dying. While that's true... I'm happy that we have a day to remember our heroes who gave their lives for our freedom. 

Remember those who served before.
Remember those who are no more.
Remember those who serve today.
Remember them as we eat and play.
Remember our protectors-
who are not home today.
Remember them all on Memorial Day.
Emily Toma

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

Friday, May 24, 2019

Making Aviation History

Rename the Oakland Airport

Your help is needed,
and it's as easy as clicking HERE
and Signing the Petition. 

Help to make history and change the name of the Oakland International Airport to Maggie Gee International Airport. 

Maggie Gee passed away at the age of 89 February 1, 2013, but let’s not allow her to be forgotten. The WASPS are passing and a huge part of history is flying on. Notice of passings are identified on a blog titled the WASP Final Flight Blog, and I have reproduced the information about Maggie below. Maggie's passion started at the Oakland airport and her legacy should be carried on. 

“Margaret "Maggie" Gee, whose Chinese name was Gee Mei Gue, was born on August 5, 1923 in Berkeley, California, the daughter of a successful Chinese importer and a first generation Chinese-American. Maggie’s grandparents (on her mother's side) had been fishermen who immigrated to the United States to escape the Taiping Revolution and settled in Chinatown, where her parents met and married. However, her father did not want to raise his family in Chinatown, so before Maggie was born, he moved his family to Berkley. 

When the stock market crashed in 1929, Mr. Gee had a heart attack on a San Francisco street and died shortly thereafter, leaving behind a wife and six children. Maggie’s formative years were spent witnessing her mother take on greater and greater responsibility, not only raising six children and working, but remaining actively involved in her church and her community. 

When America entered WWII, Maggie passed a drafting test and left her first year of college to work at the Mare Island Naval Shipyards in Vallejo, California. There, she worked as a draftsman for the engineers who were working on classified projects on US Naval ships needing repair. 

By 1942/43, Maggie had saved enough money to move to Minden, Nevada, to learn to fly. She paid $800 for six months of training and fifty hours of flying time. After she soloed and flew the required hours, Maggie applied for the WASP flying training program at Avenger Field, Texas and was accepted into class 44-W-9. 

In June, 1944, Maggie left her home in San Francisco and boarded a troop train which was filled with soldiers at Berkley, California. For the next two days, she either sat on her suitcase or stood up -- all the way to Sweetwater, Texas. There 107 women pilots who entered the same class with Maggie; however, only 55 earned their silver wings and graduated as WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) on November 8, 1944. 

After graduation, Maggie was sent to Las Vegas Army Air Field, Nevada, where she served as a tow target pilot for flexible gunnery training for male cadets until the WASP were deactivated on December 20, 1944. She then returned to Berkley and completed her formal education, after which she traveled to Europe and was in charge of a European Service Club in the early 1950's. 

When Maggie returned to the United States, she began her life as a physicist/researcher, working and studying at the UC Berkley and at its National Laboratory in Livermore. Her research covered the fields of cancer, nuclear weapons design, fusion energy, and other related fields.

"I’m very optimistic about the world and people... it will be all right...You can make changes. I think just one small person can make a little bit of change..."

Maggie's lifetime passion for politics began in the Truman Administration, and she continued her work by supporting voter registration and fundraising, serving on the Berkley Community Fund, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, and as a board member of the Berkley Democratic Club in Berkeley, CA. She also served on the California Democratic Party Executive Board and Asian Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus. 

Maggie's legacy will live on in the lives of all of those she educated and changed with her passionate patriotism and her extraordinary sense of social justice. 

Maggie's legacy will live on in the lives of all of those she educated and changed with her passionate patriotism and her extraordinary sense of social justice."

Respectfully written and posted by Nancy Parrish
Feb. 4, 2013 

Please sign the petition. 
Each signature will make a difference. 
Help to inspire the future of Aviation
by remembering the past and honoring our aviators.

Click  HERE  To Sign 
and become part of Aviation History. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene