Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Community Issues

WASP float honoring female WWII pilots wins National Trophy in 2014 Rose Parade

See also

When the Wingtip to Wingtip float passed the stands, Rose Parade viewers spontaneously stood to honor the women who undergirded the Allied air supremacy in World War II. “Our Eyes Are on the Stars” was built by Fiesta Parade Floats for the 2014 parade to commemorate the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) units that were disbanded 70 years ago. It won the National Trophy for Best Depiction of Life in the USA, Past, Present or Future.

More Photos

Out of several thousand applicants, 1,102 were chosen to fly military aircraft all over the United States. They ferried planes from builder to base, tested aircraft for the boys to fly in battle, and flew tow targets to train gunners. The WASP flew 77 different types of American military planes, including AT-6, P-52 and B-29, more than 60 million miles. Thirty-eight gave their lives.

We were fortunate to interview three former WASP at Fiesta Parade Floats prior to the parade and learned about some of their experiences, and their post-war treatment by the military. WASP had to overcome prevailing skepticism over women’s ability to fly “wingtip-to-wingtip with their brothers,” yet even after they did so, they were denied the same military benefits until 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal until 2010.

The non-profit Wingtip to Wingtip Association is still in need of funds to pay for the float. Donations may be made online at

Eight original members of the WASP team rode the float: Alyce Rohrer, Virginia Lee Doerr, Flora Belle Reece, Marty Wyall, Florence Mascot, Shirley Kruse, Lois Bristol Young, Margot DeMoss. Four other WASP were available as alternate riders: A.J. May Starr, Adeline Ellison, Betty Strohfus, Alma Fornal, Millicent Young. Fourteen women who followed in the footsteps of the WASP as US Air Force pilots in both combat and non-combat roles were outwalkers.

The float was rife with symbols of the WASP units: pilot wings across the front, a replica of the life-size bronze WASP trainee statue originally sculpted by WASP Dorothy “Dot” Swain Lewis, an AT-6 with a rotating propeller, and a rotating hexagon of floragraphs. The sides of the float featured a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal framed by golden olive branches, and 38 stars, one for each woman who died in service.

Floragraphs feature Fifinella, official WASP mascot worn on shoulder patches, conceived by Roald Dahl and designed by Walt Disney in 1942`; Nancy Harkness Love, Executive Commanding Officer for all WASP ferrying operations; four WASP in front of their B-17 named “Pistol Packin’ Mama; LIFE Magazine cover from July 19, 1943 featuring Pilot Trainee Shirley Slade; housewife and mother, Pilot Libby Gardner, at the controls of a B-26 Marauder; Jacqueline Cochran, Director of the WASP. For more details regarding the floragraphs, read the captions in the slideshow attached to this article.

Fresh materials used include more than 15,000 red Freedom roses, red Black Magic, Checkmate and Opium long-stemmed roses, anthuriums, carnations and ilex berries. Dry materials include onion, poppy and golden clover seed, white rice, statice, strawflower, cornhusk, and coconut flakes.

Like this story?
Columnists are not notified of comments via Disqus, so if you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email The theme of the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2014 was “Dreams Come True.” Subscribe to Tournament of Roses Examiner by clicking the "Subscribe" link for the latest news and for upcoming announcements.



  • Dead babies found
    Seven dead babies were found in Utah resident Megan Huntsman's old home
    Shocking Discovery
  • Kendall Jenner
    Get the Coachella looks: Kendall Jenner’s nose ring, green hair and edgy nails
    Coachella Look
  • Dog's Easter basket
    How to fill your dog’s Easter basket with the perfect toys
    Easter Basket
  • Rabbit owners
    Bringing home the bunny: Important information for rabbit owners
    7 Photos
  • Haunted island
    The world’s most haunted island may soon be the most haunted luxury resort
    Haunted Resort
  • Sunken ferry
    Search continues for missing passengers after a ferry sinks off the South Korean coast
    Sunken Ferry

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!