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Resources Support Inspiration


Homeland Vol. 2 Number 3 • March 2015

Meet The ‘Hug Lady’ 500,000 Hugs And Counting Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls Abe’s Hearse Draws Crowd at Oceanside New Midway Exhibits: 6 Minutes That Changed The War Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.)

A Fight For Independence How Patriotic Are You? (Quiz)

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HomeLand Publisher Michael J. Miller

Contributing Writers Wounded Warrior Project Linda Kreter Rick Rogers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Public Relations Linda Kreter CJ Machado Graphic Design Trevor Watson

Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on family, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories.

Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved.

We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. They say San Diego is a military town, I find that San Diego is a HOMELAND town, where military and civilians work and live together.

Homeland Magazine 13223 Black Mountain Road, #168 San Diego, CA 92129

We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine.


With warmest thanks, Michael J. Miller, Publisher


HOMELAND / March 2015

Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com

Inside This Issue

Homeland A Fight For Independence

6 New Midway Exhibit: 6 Minutes That Changed The War


8 Meet The ‘Hug Lady’ 10 A Fight For Independence 16 Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.)


18 Moving And Deployment Tips


20 Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls 24 Abe’s Hearse Draws Crowd At Oceanside 26 Eight Signs Of Terrorism

28 How Patriotic Are You? Take Our Quiz www.homelandmagazine.com

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New Midway Exhibit 6 Minutes That Changed the War


isitors to the USS Midway Museum are now realizing that the fate of World War II in the Pacific hung on what would become the Battle of Midway in 1942. That’s because the museum has opened its Battle of Midway Theater, featuring “Voices of Midway.” It’s an inspirational 14-minute cinematic adventure, including holographic narrators, that tells the story of how in only six minutes the U.S. Navy defeated a numerically superior Japanese fleet near Midway. The victory turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. The 90-seat theater is part of a larger exhibit that includes restored aircraft that won the Battle of Midway. Interactive kiosks feature videos on such varied topics as the Order of Battle, the heroes of Midway, and the codebreakers. The theater opened in mid-January, after nearly five years of design, demolition, restoration, and construction. It’s located on Midway’s hangar deck near the museum entrance. Most museum visitors are now experiencing the Battle of Midway before exploring the museum. Their reactions have been power. More often than not, they are leaving the theater in a quiet, reflective mood. They’ve just witnessed, in 3D, the sacrifices made from aviators, stewards, boiler tenders, and others. Spoiler alert: not all of the men they meet in the film survive the battle. The film is appropriate for museum visitors at least 10 years of age.


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The film was produced by a veteran Hollywood produced. Archival footage was used, as well as scenes that were filmed aboard the Museum, after spaces were remodeled to resemble World War II aircraft carriers. The sick bay, for example, was converted into WWII-era chain berthing racks. Several misconceptions are also cleared up by the exhibit. Many people assume the USS Midway fought in the Battle of Midway. In fact, it was named www.homelandmagazine.com

for the battle, as the USS Midway didn’t enter the service until one week following World War II. Many Navy ships late in World War II were named for what had become widely recognized victories earlier in the war. “This is a critical exhibit,” noted Mac McLaughlin, Midway’s president and CEO. “The Navy has designated this as one of the greatest victories in its history. It’s critical that we help pass the DNA of these great heroes onto future generations.”

For more information please visit www.midway.org


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Meet ‘The Hug Lady’ 500,000 Hugs and Counting It is not often, in our troubled times, that a story comes to our attention that has the ability to bring tears to our eyes and warm our hearts. Meet Elizabeth Laird, “The Hug Lady,” who has been greeting the soldiers, as they arrive and depart from Fort Hood, Texas, since 2003. The tiny, 4′ 10″, unsung American hero has been there at the US Military’s massive Texas base to hug every single soldier when they deploy and when they finally return home, worn and weary, from serving the nation they love. Elizabeth estimates that she has hugged over 500,000 American soldiers during the last nine years since she was first embraced by a young soldier as a Salvation Army volunteer. When that soldier hugged her, Elizabeth noticed the other troops from his unit standing on the tarmac. She felt she couldn’t ignore the other soldiers, so she hugged each of them, and a tradition was born. Today, the grandmother of 12 and great grandmother of seven is on-hand as Fort Hood’s official “Hug Lady” to provide much needed comfort to American soldiers. She is always aware that some of the troops she hugs as they depart may not be there to receive a welcome home embrace where their unit returns.


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In addition to her role as the official greeter at Fort hood, the lady from Copperas Cove, Texas leads an active life. A veteran of the United States Air Force who was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Elizabeth has owned a tax preparation business in her home town for several decades. She is a vegan; keeps two dogs, 27 cats, and six birds; and is proud of the fact she hasn’t cut her waist length hair in 40 years. Life hasn’t been easy for Mrs. Laird in recent years. In 2008, her husband of 36 years, Ray Laird, died from a blood clot. Nine days later her eldest daughter, Linda, died from breast cancer. The graceful grandmother was almost overcome with grief. She said: “In a way it was better because you can only hurt so much. I think it was God’s plan. The pain for both of them was so intense. It was good that it went together rather than getting over one and then being hit with a second one.” Perhaps the hugs have helped to heal Elizabeth Laird as much as they help every one of the thousands of troops she has held in her loving embrace. It is said that hugs can heal, and, certainly, this wonderful lady has helped to heal the fear, and loneliness, of our soldiers as they depart to face the horrors of war. She has brought our soldiers their first touch of a normal life; with each hug she gives, as they return to America, and home. Elizabeth defines her philosophy with these simple, direct words: “If I can bring a smile to their face, if I can lift their spirits a bit, if I can let them know we care,” she says, “it’s my way of saying ‘thank you for what you do.” There are over half a million brave soldier, who have experienced the joy of a sincere, heart felt hug and a few kind words from this gentle lady. America salutes Elizabeth Laird, “The Hug Lady” of Fort Hood.

One cowhide can produce 10 footballs. Learn even more at National University. Service members are eligible for reduced tuition. Online. On base. Non-profit. Don’t think you have time to learn something new? You just did.

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A Fight for T


wo weeks shy of his 20th birthday, Jason Ehrhart’s Humvee took a direct hit from two anti-tank mines. Jason was the gunner in a convoy providing security for the first free elections in Iraq since 1953. Propelled from the turret, Jason sustained injuries so severe that upon his return stateside, he was considered to be the most seriously wounded soldier in Maryland. Among his injuries, Jason suffered from third-degree burns covering 60 percent of his body and badly shattered legs – the left would be amputated a month later. But those are just the visible wounds. Jason also sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from the blast. Due to improvements in military medicine and technology, many warriors, like Jason, are surviving combat injuries that would have previously been fatal, including severe TBIs. TBIs, which occur when a sudden trauma or head injury disrupts brain function, are one of the signature wounds of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) – two wars exposing service members to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In an effort to bring TBIs to the conversational forefront, March is now referred to as TBI Awareness Month. To date, more than 52,000 service members have been physically wounded in combat, and as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war, including: combat-related stress, major depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment. In its 2014 Annual Alumni Survey, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) reports 43.2 percent of its injured veterans report having a TBI. Jason represents many injured service members who continue to struggle daily with the aftermath of sacrifices made on the battlefield: physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and legally. While support and services for this injury have progressed—due in large part to the injured veterans and their families who are redefining the concept of TBI rehabilitation—they do not adequately account for long-term needs. Jason’s road to recovery was expected to plateau in two years, but instead he continued to progress. When financial support for his rehabilitation began to dwindle, Jason and his family refused to regress in therapy and began paying for treatment out of pocket. More than seven years after the IED attack,


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Jason is now able to walk around his home with assistance. This is a huge feat as it places him one step closer to his independence – something Jason, like so many others suffering from TBI, considers to be the most important achievement in rehabilitation. The fight for independence has also proven to be one of the most difficult battles Jason and his parents endure. On behalf of their own family and the many families across the country enduring the same struggle, Jason’s parents advocate on Capitol Hill for programs and services that not only enhance rehabilitation, but also focus on long-term quality of life and community integration. They push for legislation that redefines the concept of recovery – laws that will make veterans the centerpiece. Many wounded veterans are fully dependent upon caregivers for long-term rehabilitation and care – many are cared for in part or in whole by family members. A growing concern among family caregivers is the thought of what will happen to their warrior when they are eventually unable to continue providing care. WWP has played an intricate role in lobbying Congress for the resources required to sustain such a need, including a coordinated effort to ensure enactment and implementation of the Caregiver Assistance Law of 2010, specifically advocating for a program that would provide caregivers with needed training, technical support, mental health counseling, health care coverage, respite care, and a modest financial stipend. Still a gap currently exists between the support structure available to these warriors and their families, and what they will need over a lifetime. Last year, WWP committed $30 million to cover both immediate and long-term care needs of 250 of this generation’s most severely injured veterans, who without this funding are most at-risk for institutionalization. WWP has 20 programs and services that provide a holistic approach to help injured veterans by assisting in physical rehabilitation, aiding in their mental and emotional recovery, assisting them to achieve their educational and employment goals, and helping them maintain their independence and stay connected with their families, their communities, and each other – all free of charge. While all programs and services focus on the WWP mission, to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, the Independence Program and the LongTerm Support Trust are two that directly benefit those who are dependent upon caregivers due to their injuries.

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The Independence Program pairs a specialized case manager with each warrior and his or her family to develop a personalized plan that targets the warrior’s needs or interests. For many, this is the opportunity to participate in the types of daily tasks and meaningful activities many people take for granted, like getting dressed or eating on one’s own. Each roadmap is developed to a warrior’s unique interests and goals for independence and quality of life, as are the resources brought to bear. Jason has a goal to be capable of doing more for himself, which in turn would lead him to his dream of having a family. Current rehabilitation programs typically invest heavily in the beginning of a warrior’s recovery from traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other neurological conditions, but not during the longest and most defining phase of recovery, which begins upon the return home. Warriors who must work through the compounding effects of both visible and invisible wounds will require a more long-range, strategic plan for care and independence. In many instances, for the cost of one month in an in-patient institutionalized brain injury rehabilitation program, WWP’s Independence Program can provide a year’s worth of community-based support on a weekly basis to an individual warrior. Long Term Support Trust was developed to ensure services including lifeskills training, home care, transportation, and additional resources remain available to the severely wounded who, upon the loss of their caregiver, is at risk for institutionalization. Through this Trust, resources are available for all enrolled warriors to supplement services and entitled benefits. To assure long-term viability of financial resources, an advisory panel, which includes the warrior and his or her representative, evaluates all distribution requests for resources required. Together, the Independence Program and the Long Term Support Trust focus on immediate and long-term quality of life, and help warriors, like Jason, to live life on his or her own terms – as independently as possible.


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Jason wakes up each morning as a testament to the honor and patriotism still rumbling within him. All his years of rehabilitation and his unyielding determination to defy any preset, ill-conceived limitations placed on his road to recovery has led him to where he is today – ready to take another stand for himself and his injured service brother and sisters. “It’s up to me whether I think I plateaued or not,” said Jason as his eyes veer off into the distance, “Not up to anybody else. This is my world.” Jason’s story is spotlighted among other warriors in a WWP produced documentary mini-series “Wounded: The Battle Back Home,” which is now available on Internet television network Netflix. To learn more about Wounded Warrior Project, visit woundedwarriorproject.org. If you or someone you know is an injured veteran suffering from TBI, please contact the WWP Resource Center 888.WWP.ALUM (888.997.2586) to get in touch with someone who can help.

About Wounded Warrior Project: Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has a vision of fostering the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. To achieve this objective, WWP is committed to a lifetime of service and commitment through its mission: to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP currently serves more than 63,000 warriors and over 9,000 family members through its 20 unique programs and services. The purpose of WWP is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.



SOMETIMES THE HARDEST FIGHT COMES AFTER THE BATTLE. Wounded Warrior Project速 long-term support programs provide these brave men and women whatever they need to continue their fight for independence. At no cost. For life. Help us help more of these warriors in their new life-long battle. Find out what you can do at findWWP.org.

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Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) By Vicki Garcia

Entrepreneurship: An Answer for Veterans to the Frustrating Job Hunt If you have been to a vet job fair, you know the faces of desperate veterans trying to nail down employment. According to the San Diego Veterans Coalition , in 2014 and 2015 more than one million veterans will re-enter the U.S. job market, joining one million former military troops currently seeking employment. Looking for a good job is a frustrating, exhausting, anxiety-producing exercise with often limited results. The inability to obtain employment is recognized by researchers as a major contributor to veteran depression, divorce and despair, and suicide. While joblessness among veterans is not uniformly high, for some groups the numbers are astronomical. Nearly 27% of male veterans 18 to 24 are unemployed. The numbers for female veterans are equally high. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has declare 2015 the “Year of the Vet.” So, what are we doing to support them? Government and scores of private programs focus on retraining to enter the workforce with a job. The fact is, even with training, many veterans will find it challenging to find a job. A California state audit “confirms that California’s existing programs designed to help veterans find employment are consistently failing to meet performance goals and rank as some of the lowest performing veterans’ employment programs in the nation.”

Stopping the Insanity of Looking for a Great Job A large population of post 9/11 veterans aspire to be self-employed according to Cal Vet. The skills, discipline, and maturity gained in the service prepares veterans to succeed in entrepreneurial enterprises. More than 3 million men and women who have defended our nation’s freedoms have made the choice to start their own small businesses after their military service. Jeff Marin is a great example. After looking for a job for nearly a year, he decided to purchase a sunglass cart. He found an empty spot in Old Town and set up shop. Now he fliers to China to purchase sunglasses and grosses $35,000 per year. He has plans to grow more sunglass huts around town soon. Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) is an innovative program under non-profit agency Honoring Our Troops, which is dedicated to support returning vets, 16

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particularly veterans with service connected disabilities, to start up and maintain businesses. Deploying local business owners as mentors, V.E.T. harnesses the resources in place as well as new services to support veterans to become independent, successful entrepreneurial job creators.

V.E.T. – Building the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem V.E.T will launch the first “think tank” coaching group for veterans who currently own a business or are actively starting up a small business at an introductory meeting on March 3, 2015 at 6pm. Few communities in the U.S. have a focus on entrepreneurial enterprise for veterans. This unique group coaching program format is the first of its kind in the nation. The V.E.T. program, which has been successfully helping civilian entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years at a cost of $450, is offered to serious veteran business owners for free. V.E.T. will bring entrepreneurial minded veterans who are underserved and otherwise could not afford to have access to essential services during the critical, early stages of building a new business together through groups, workshops and mentoring to learn how to run businesses. Topics covered by local experts include Marketing, Management and Financial concerns in running a company. V.E.T. launched its first “think tank” coaching group for veterans who currently own a business or are actively starting up a small business at an introductory meeting on March 3, 2015. For more information about V.E.T. please visit our website at www.meetup.com/Veteran-Entrepreneurs-Today/ or email vicki@hrtroops.org

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has declared 2015 the “Year of the Vet.” So, what are we doing to support them? Government and scores of private programs focus on retraining to enter the workforce with a job.

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Tips for Connecting With Others During a Move or Deployment It’s easy to become socially isolated after a move to a new installation or when your spouse or partner is deployed. But staying socially connected is an important part of your good health and well-being.

Here are some suggestions for connecting with others: Get out. It’s often easier to stay home and watch TV or get on the computer when you feel isolated, but if you want to connect with others, you have to put yourself into situations where that’s likely to happen. Something as simple as taking a walk or going to the 18

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grocery store can broaden your opportunities for positive contact with others. Be approachable. It takes courage to approach someone new, so make sure you are making it easy for others. Simply smiling can go a long way toward making new friends. Maintain a positive attitude. Even if you are less than thrilled about your new location or a recent deployment, try to keep a positive attitude. Sitting inside and complaining won’t solve anything. Getting involved can erase some of those negative feelings and provide you with the support you need to feel good again. www.homelandmagazine.com

Take up something new. For almost every hobby or interest, there is a club or organization full of people with similar interests. It’s easy to say you don’t have time, but finding a social outlet can help relieve stress and build happiness. Volunteer. There are many military programs that can use volunteer help, and this is a great way to meet other military families. When you feel good about what you’re doing, it often translates into other aspects of your life. Go online. A quick search on the Internet can turn up a local group or an organization that you may be interested in joining. You may be able to find a running group or a book club that meets in your local area. Take a second look. If you already work out at the gym or attend church, temple or mosque, take a second look for social opportunities you may have missed. Often times there are others who would love to make a new friend, but perhaps they aren’t sure how to approach you. Reach out to other kids’ parents. If you have children, they have done some of the work for you! Take the time to reach out to their friends’ parents. Shared play dates can make for great adult time! Take your kids for a walk or to the park for a picnic; there’s a good chance you’ll run into other parents who would welcome a good conversation. www.homelandmagazine.com

Take advantage of available programs and services. This might mean reaching out to military support groups such as family readiness groups or getting involved in the civilian community through a church group or another social outlet of your choice. Use your installation resources. Your Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program provides an abundance of recreational opportunities including sports programs, fitness centers, performing arts programs, libraries, single service member programs, tours of local attractions and much more. The more connected you are to others, the better you’ll feel!

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Honoring Our History

Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls were on hand in our nation’s Capital to receive the honor.

In 1942, the United States was faced with a severe shortage of pilots, and leaders gambled on an experimental program to help fill the void: Train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could be released for combat duty overseas.

Women With Moxie Margaret Phelan Taylor grew up on a farm in Iowa. She was 19, had just completed two years of college and was ready for adventure in 1943 when a Life magazine cover story on the female pilots caught her eye. Her brother was training to be a pilot with the Army. Why not her? She asked her father to lend her money for a pilot’s license — $500, a huge amount then.

The group of female pilots was called the Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASP for short. In 1944, during the graduation ceremony for the last WASP training class, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, WASP (from left) Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn Henry “Hap” Arnold, leave their B-17, called Pistol Packin’ Mama, during ferry training at Lockbourne said that when the Army Air Force base in Ohio. They’re carrying their parachutes. - National Archives program started, he wasn’t sure “whether “I told him I had to do a slip of a girl could it,” Taylor says. “And fight the controls of a B-17 in heavy weather.” so he let me have the money. I don’t think I ever did pay it back to him either.” “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,” Arnold said. But there was a problem. She was half an inch shorter than the 5-foot-2-inch requirement. A few more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, flew almost every type of “I just stood on my tiptoes,” she says. When military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 she arrived at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, bombers — as part of the WASP program. Texas, where most of the WASP was trained, They ferried new planes long distances from “Well, there were a lot of other short ones just factories to military bases and departure like me, and we laughed about how we got points across the country. They tested newly in.” overhauled planes. And they towed targets to Short, tall, slim, wide, they all came in give ground and air gunners training shooting knowing how to fly. The military trained male — with live ammunition. The WASP expected pilots from scratch, but not the female civilian to become part of the military during their volunteers. service. Instead, the program was canceled after just two years.

A Dangerous Job

They weren’t granted military status until the 1970s. In 2010, the WASP was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress. Over 250 surviving WASP


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Margaret Phelan Taylor was a WASP during World War II.

Once when Taylor was ferrying an aircraft cross-country, somewhere between Arizona and California, she saw smoke in the cockpit. www.homelandmagazine.com

who never knew her aunt. “The one we lost too soon, the one that everyone loved and wished were still around.” Rawlinson was stationed at Camp Davis in North Carolina. She was coming back from a night training exercise with her male instructor when the plane crashed. Marion Hanrahan, also a WASP at Camp Davis, wrote an eyewitness account: I knew Mabel very well. We were both scheduled to check out on night flight in the A-24. My time preceded hers, but she offered to go first because I hadn’t had dinner yet. We were in the dining room and heard the siren that indicated a crash. We ran out onto the field. We saw the front of her plane engulfed in fire, and we could hear Mabel screaming. It was a nightmare. Taylor was trained to bail out if anything went wrong. “But the parachutes were way too big. They weren’t fitted to us,” she says. “The force of that air and that speed and everything, why that just rips stuff off you. You’d slip right out.” So her plane was smoking and Taylor faced a defining moment.

It’s believed that Rawlinson’s hatch malfunctioned, and she couldn’t get out. The other pilot was thrown from the plane and suffered serious injuries. Because Rawlinson was a civilian, the military was not required to pay for her funeral or pay for her remains to be sent home. So — and this is a common story — her fellow pilots pitched in.

“I thought, ‘You know what? I’m not going until I see flame. When I see actual fire, why, then I’ll jump.’ “

“They collected enough money to ship her remains home by train,” says Pohly. “And a couple of her fellow WASP accompanied her casket.” And, because Rawlinson wasn’t considered military, the American flag could not be draped over her coffin. Her family did it anyway.

Was she scared? “No. I was never scared. My husband used to say, ‘It’s pretty hard to scare you.’ “ The plane’s problem turned out to be a burned-out instrument. But 38 female pilots did lose their lives serving their country. One was 26-year-old Mabel Rawlinson from Kalamazoo, Mich. “I’ve always known of her as the family hero,” says Rawlinson’s niece, Pam Pohly,

Even though she was considered a civilian, Mabel Rawlinson’s family draped her coffin with a flag, a tradition reserved for members of the armed forces. www.homelandmagazine.com

WASP Facts and Stats WASP served as part of the Army Air Forces from September 1942 to December 1944 30 women invited to join the WAFS 28 WAFS assigned to operational duties 25,000 women applied for WFTD/WASP training

The Program Is Pulled

1,830 were accepted

The head of the WASP program was Jacqueline Cochran, a pioneering aviator. (After the war, she became the first woman to break the sound barrier.) Cochran’s goal was to train thousands of women to fly for the Army, not just a few dozen integrated into the men’s program. She wanted a separate women’s organization and believed militarization would follow if the program was a success. And it was. The women’s safety records were comparable and sometimes even better than their male counterparts doing the same jobs.

1,074 graduated from the program and were assigned to operational duties 900 WASP and 16 WAFS remained in service at the time of deactivation, December 20, 1944 38 died while in the WASP program 60,000,000 miles were flown

But in 1944, historian Landdeck says, the program came under threat. “It was a very controversial time for women flying aircraft. There was a debate about whether they were needed any longer,” Landdeck says.

WASP earned $150 per month while in training, and $250 per month after graduation They paid for their own uniforms, lodging, and personal travel to and from home

By the summer of 1944, the war seemed to be ending. Flight training programs were closing down, which meant that male civilian

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instructors were losing their jobs. Fearing the draft and being put into the ground Army, they lobbied for the women’s jobs.

“It was impossible for anybody to say that. That wasn’t true. We were the first ones,” Yonally says.

“It was unacceptable to have women replacing men. They could release men for duty — that was patriotic — but they couldn’t replace men,” Landdeck says.

The fact that the WASP were forgotten by their own Air Force united the women. They lobbied Congress to be militarized. And they persuaded Sen. Barry Goldwater to help. He ferried planes during the war, just as the WASP did. And then, in 1977, the WASP were finally granted military status.

And so, Arnold announced the program would disband by December 1944, but those who were still in training could finish. The Lost Last Class, as it was dubbed, graduated, but served only 2 1/2 weeks before being sent home on Dec. 20, along with all the other WASP.

Over the years it has been reported that the WASP records were sealed,

Lillian Yonally served her country for more than a year as a WASP. When she was dismissed from her base in California, there was no ceremony. “Not a darn thing. It was told to us that we would be leaving the base. And we hopped airplanes to get back home.” Home for Yonally was across the country in Massachusetts. That was a familiar story, but Landdeck says there were some bases that did throw parties or had full reviews for their departing WASP.

Riling The WASP’s Nest The women went on with their lives. A few of them got piloting jobs after the war, but not with any of the major airlines. And some of them stayed in the air as airline stewardesses. In those days, no major commercial airline would hire these experienced women as pilots. Like many World War II veterans, most WASP never talked about their experiences. And according to Taylor, they never expected anything either. “We were children of the Depression. It was root hog or die. You had to take care of yourself. Nobody owed us anything,” she says. The WASP kept in touch for a while. They even formed a reunion group after the war. But that didn’t last long. Then, in the 1960s, they began to find each other again. They had reunions. They started talking about pushing for military status. And then something happened in 1976 that riled the whole WASP’s nest.

Margaret Phelan Taylor

stamped classified and unavailable to historians who wrote histories about WWII. According to archivists at the National Archives, military records containing reports about the WASP were treated no differently from other records from the war, which generally meant the WASP records weren’t open to researchers for 30 years. But unlike other stories from the war, the WASP story was rarely told or reported until the 1970s. “It’s hard to understand that they would be forgotten and difficult to believe that they would be left out of those histories. But even they forgot themselves for a while,” Landdeck says. In 1992, to preserve their history, the WASP designated Texas Woman’s University in Denton as their official archives.

“The Air Force comes out and says that they are going to admit women

“I’m sorry that so many girls have passed on. It’s nice the families will receive it, but it doesn’t make up for the gals who knew what they did and weren’t honored that way,” Yonally says. to their flying program,” Landdeck says. An Air Force statement says “it’s the first time that the Air Force has allowed women to fly their aircraft.” Thirty years later, that comment still upsets former WASP Yonally.


HOMELAND / March 2015

Yonally is proud to be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, 65 years after her service, but she’s sad that fewer than 300 of her 1,100 fellow WASP are alive to receive it. “I’m sorry that so many girls have passed on. It’s nice the families will receive it, but it doesn’t make up for the gals who knew what they did and weren’t honored that way,” Yonally says.

Taylor is also excited about the medal. She served her country out of loyalty, she says. That was certainly part of it. But the other reason? “I did it for the fun. I was a young girl and everybody had left and it was wartime. You didn’t want to get stuck in a hole in Iowa; you wanted to see what was going on.”



homelandmagazine.com “As Real As It Gets”

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HOMELAND / March 2015 23

Draws crowd at American Combat Veterans of War’s Oceanside Site – Honest


By Rick Rogers Special to Homeland Magazine

ny credible list of America’s finest presidents would feature Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt at the top -- and for good reasons. Two led the country through near extinction events and the third commanded the very army that created the United States. Among these giants, Lincoln might standalone in his affinity towards war veterans. One himself, it’s often forgotten his masterful Gettysburg Address was inspired by a Civil War cemetery dedication at the Pennsylvania battlefield that marked the beginning of the end for Confederate dreams of a separate nation. Also little known is that lines from Lincoln’s second inaugural address on March 4, 1865 – days after Appomattox and six weeks before the 56-year-old’s assassination -- are still echoed daily by the Department of Veterans Affairs to describe its core mission. In that speech, an introspective Lincoln touches upon moral and religious implications of the bloodiest civil conflict in U.S. history before recognizing the un-payable debt the country owes those who sacrificed life, limb and comfort to preserve the Union. He also further spelled out this national obligation -- and what would later become the role of the VA -- when he said the United States owed to those who served: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”


HOMELAND / March 2015


Those words would again take life in 1959 when plaques embossed with those very impactful lines were placed at the entrance of the VA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. In the weeks following Lincoln’s death, his funeral train fish-hooked its way through 180 cities and seven states in the East and Midwest before delivering the “Great Emancipator” to his final resting place in his adopted hometown of Springfield, Ill. In city after city along the way, Lincoln’s remains were borne through thronged thoroughfares aboard elaborate horse-pulled hearses and trailed by blue clad troops paying last respects to their wartime commander-in-chief.

gold plate, black Ostrich plumes and black onyx finials. In fact, they considered working on the project an honor. One of them was Eric Hollenbeck, a Vietnam vet who served in the 101st Airborne, and owns Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka, California. Hollenbeck’s only request before signing on was that other vets be allowed to work on the project. Staab quickly agreed. “This project was just the thing I needed to engage a group of returning veterans who served on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Hollenbeck said. “I know what these veterans are going through and they need to do something positive.

Nearly 18 months after the project began, the Lincoln hearse rolled up to the Oceanside office of the American Combat Veterans of War, a nonprofit organization respected for its work with former service members deployed to war. There, Staab addressed a group that gathered for the occasion. “This is an unfinished work of art by combat veterans,” Staab said. Carried on flatbed, the wooden body was in transit from Eureka to Tombstone for a final kitting out before heading to Springfield for its May debut. Earlier in the day, Marines from Camp Pendleton got a chance to take a look.

The public outpouring was immense. An estimated 8 million Americans out of a population of perhaps 35 million paid homage to the mournful procession. The closest the procession ever got to California was central Illinois – until mid February. Fast forward about a century and a half. April 15 marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death and Springfield is going all out to celebrate its most famous transplant. Among the tributes and commemorations celebrating Lincoln is a unique one involving modern era combat veterans, California and the recreation of Lincoln’s last ride. A little background first. In mid-2013, The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition asked Staab Funeral Homes in Springfield about ideas concerning a hearse that could be used for the sesquicentennial occasion. Instead of finding one, P.J. Staab II decided to build one. Immediately, he and Lincoln scholars began researching the last hearse that transported president’s remains to the Lincoln Tomb at Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery on May 4, 1865. The exhausting work made necessary because the original hearse burned in an 1887 fire leaving no clue to how it was built let alone its dimensions. To do this Staab assembled a team of historians and craftsmen to re-create the hearse from scratch. Little by little history relinquished its secrets about arguably the most famous hearse of the most famous president. Something else became apparent as well. Staab quickly discovered veterans were eager to help rebuild the 13-foot high hearse complete with www.homelandmagazine.com

Replica - P.J Staab, center, speaks to a group at the American Combat Veterans of War office in Oceanside there to see a work-in-progress replica of the hearse that delivered President Abraham Lincoln’s remains to Springfield, Ill., on May 4, 1865. The hearse, largely created by combat veterans from several states, will play a central role during commemorations marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. This timely endeavor is just the project that these veterans need to rally behind. Having a part I making a positive, historical impact within the great nation they fought for is priceless.” The Blue Ox School for Veterans now has nearly a dozen veterans working on the hearse project. Other veterans were drawn to the project as well. “We didn’t plan to do this with veterans,” Staab is fond of saying. “But that’s where God led us. Somehow it’s about the veterans gaining respect. They deserve 100 percent of the credit on this.” Many other individuals and specialty companies from across the nation pitched in, too. A wagon builder from Kentucky; a metrology and 3D scanning outfit from St. Louis; architect’s from Springfield; a hearse maker from Tombstone, AZ.; a New Jersey flag maker.

“The Marines were really impressed to know that their fellow brothers in arms were the ones who created this,” Hollenbeck said. After the Springfield re-enactment, the Lincoln hearse will go to the Staab family. But it won’t be the last time the public sees this relic of the past created in the present to be preserved for the future. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, in Springfield, will display the hearse for four months a year. Rick Rogers is a San Diego-based journalist who has covered military and veterans’ issues for decades. He can be reached at Rick.W.Rogers@ gmail.com.

HOMELAND / March 2015 25

What to


when reporting suspicious activity

What is happening? Who is doing it? Where is it taking place? When did you observe it? Why is it suspicious? 26

HOMELAND / March 2015


Eight Signs of Terrorism This could be done many ways through crimes such as drugs and counterfeit merchandise sales, burglary, or even funneling money from legitimate businesses or non-profit organizations. Be aware of unusually large transactions paid with cash or gift cards, or someone soliciting a donation for a charity you’ve never heard of.



Terrorists may conduct surveillance to determine a target’s strengths and weaknesses. Be aware of someone who appears to be monitoring security personnel or equipment, or gauging emergency response time. Suspicious activities could include using vision enhancing devices, acquiring floor plans or blueprints, and showing interest in security and access facilities.

2 3


A terrorist may try to gain information about the operations and security of a potential target, possibly an important place such as a power plant, stadium, or school. It could be gathered many ways by phone, email, in person, or even by gaining employment at the location.

Testing Security

Someone may use different methods to test security, such as trespassing into a restricted area or leaving a bag unattended in a public place to see how long it takes for people or security to respond.



Terrorists need to raise money for their operations and spend it in away that doesn’t draw attention.

Someone who seems suspicious in what they say or do on the job could be a red flag.




Terrorists often rehearse a planned attack, possibly several times, to make sure their operation runs smoothly. This may include measuring response time by emergency responders, and possibly using police radios.

Acquiring Supplies

To conduct an attack, terrorists may need a variety of supplies, such as weapons, transportation, and communication systems. Suspicious activities could include a vehicle left in an unusual place; stockpiling fertilizers, weapons, even one-time use cell phones; acquiring or stealing uniforms; and forging personal identification or passports.


This is when terrorists are putting their plans into place, getting into position, moving equipment and supplies, and launching an attack.




Terrorists may impersonate law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS or paramedic personnel, mail carriers, or company employees to gain information.

San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center Phone: 858-495-7200 • Fax 858-503-5621 www.SDLECC.org San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force Phone: 858-320-1800 San Diego Police Department Phone: 619-531-2000 • If imminent dial 911 www.sandiego.gov/police/

When determining whether activity is suspicious, please remember to focus on the actual behavior. Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. We are committed to ensuring that the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of our citizens are preserved.

HOMELAND HOMELAND / February / March 2015 2015 27 27

1. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?

New York


Washington D.C.


John Adams

James Madison

John Hancock.

Benjamin Franklin

2. Who was the first person to sign the U.S. Constitution?


HOMELAND / March 2015


George Wahington


3. What is the national flower of the USA?






4. This state was misspelled in the signature area of the Constitution.






Benjamin Franklin

George Washington

James Madison

John Adams

Alexander Hamilton

5. Which Founding Father died in a duel?

6. What is the official language of the USA?

NONE Spanish





The Ocean



7. On the American flag, red stands for valor, white stands for hope and blue stands for?

Allegiance to England Loyalty www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / March 2015 29

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