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Local Pilot Honored For WWII Service


Prairie Village, KS – Back in 1944, Marjorie Rees did not consider herself a trailblazer. But President Barack Obama now respectfully disagrees. This month, the President signed a bill honoring Rees and the other surviving Women Air Force Service Pilots, called WASPs. The WASPS were the first women to fly military aircraft, serving their country between 1942 and 1944 during World War II.

Rees and the WASPS will soon receive the highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold medal, in a ceremony in Washington.

Some say the recognition is long overdue. It wasn't easy to become a WASP. More than 25,000 applied and just over 1,000 women graduated. To learn more about this experience, KCUR's Susan Wilson recently visited Marjorie Rees, now 87, in her home in Prairie Village.

This story was produced for KC Currents. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents Podcast.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
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