May 30th, 2013 by Monrovia Weekly
2014 Rose Float slated to honor WASP
Bettie Mae Scott was one of the more unique service-members, memorialized last week. 38 WASP (of 1,074 in service) were killed during their service to their country. Scott was a Monrovia hometown girl, born and raised, and daughter of the Police Chief, Frank L. Scott. She attended Pasadena Junior College. She trained with the WASP in Sweetwater, Texas as a ferry and test pilot.
She was killed in Waco, Texas shortly after take-off testing a “newly-repaired” BT-13 to see if it was airworthy for a male pilot.
She died two weeks before her 23rd birthday. She was engaged to be married later that month. Her coffin was sent home in a cheap pine box, and she received no military funeral as WASP were not “officially recognized” by the military at that time – not until 1977. However, the city of Monrovia businesses shut down the day of her funeral, and the Police Department (her father was Chief) and the Fire Department were the pallbearers and honorary pallbearers. She rests now at Live Oak Cemetery.
The WASP organization, WINGTIP-To-WINGTIP Association has been accepted by the Tournament of Roses to have a float in the 2014. They need all the help financially they can get as well as much recognition to make this float possible.
The purpose of having a float is to pay tribute to the WASP and perpetuate the legacy and story of the WASP for future generations–like the Tuskegee Airmen who had a float a few years ago.
Bettie Mae’s story came to light when Pasadena City College graphic artist Christina Rose found out about her amazing history, dedication and ultimate sacrifice.
In 2000, PCC celebrated its 75th anniversary. Bettie was selected to be one of their 75 most distinguished alumni (along with Jackie Robinson) and was honored at an impressive awards dinner at the Civic Auditorium.
On March 10, 2010 Bettie would have been honored at a Congressional Medal ceremony in Washington, DC, where all WASP were presented gold medals for their service. Hopefully, her surviving relatives received hers posthumously.
“Sent home in a cheap pine box” was featured in the text of the bill sent to Congress for approval for the Gold Medal. Bettie Mae Scott was a sort of ‘poster child’ for the cause, according to Christina Rose.
Thirty-eight young women gave their lives in military service to the United States of America in a quasi-secret program in World War II, thirty eight deaths that received no particular honors or remembrance until March 9, 2010 when a “missing man” formation of jet fighters flew over the Air Force Memorial in Washington DC, the day before their colleagues, the Women Air force Service Pilots received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their invaluable role in winning that terrible war.
“The thirty eight died in the normal way that so many perish in times of conflict, not as a direct result of enemy fire, but in various training and service accidents, engine failures, one taking off and collided with landing plane that had not been cleared by the tower, another burning in a cockpit due to a possibly faulty maintenance repair, and yet another roaring off into the skies over LA with her P-51, never to be seen or heard of again . . . . The normal tragedies of military service . . . young lives cut short because of that strong desire to find a way to serve a higher calling than one’s own personal interest, one’s nation, a nation that one feels”worth the sacrifice” that may be made, like Bettie Mae Scott (http://fifinella.com/bettiescott.htm) a few weeks before her 23rd birthday.”
Thirty-eight who stand for and represent so many others who served as the WASP and in all the services of our nation, both private and governmental, all who shared, and still share the ideals of those young beautiful women.
A Rose of Remembrance before a national audience Jan 2014, remembering the 38 and all the women who served, who serve, and who will serve this nation.
If you can help: please contact: http://fifinella.com/roseparade.htm