Waco, Texas Monday, August 17, 2009
A new ten-million dollar hangar was officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony today at L-3 Integrated Systems in Waco, Texas .
L-3 invited Waco resident WASP Deanie Bishop Parrish to cut the ribbon celebrating the official opening of their new hangar, —87, 000 square feet of state-of-the-art space, which will house four C130's or P-3 aircraft and many smaller sized aircraft. It was constructed by Rubb Building Systems of a composite fabric, allowing for faster construction at a lower cost and providing a very bright work environment. L-3 Communications is the 6th largest defense company in the United States.
L-3 Platform Integration President James Burkhardt presents WASP Deanie Parrish with the division’s president’s coin, a military style challenge coin awarded to high-performing employees and distinguished visitors.
Deanie has a unique 'historical connection' to L-3. She is one of 1100 pioneering female pilots of World War II known as WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots, the first women in history to fly America’s military aircraft. As a WWII Army Air Force trained Martin Marauder B-26 pilot, Deanie trained to fly instrument on what she calls, "The Blue Box," which is an early flight simulator invented by Ed LINK. This "Link Trainer" was used to train ALL Army Air Force pilots during WWII, and is a colorful part of L3's long history in aviation, setting the standard in aviation training and flight simulation for 80 years.
During her visit, Deanie was also warmly welcomed to the USAF 661st Aeronautical Systems Squadron and was given an opportunity to meet some of the Air Force personnel attached to the squadron and share a short history of her service as a WASP during WWII.
USAF Captain Jeremy Smith welcomes WASP Deanie Parrish to the 661st Aeronautical Systems Squadron
As the result of recently passed legislation, which was signed into law on 1 July 09 by the President of the United States, more and more WASP are being honored across America. Public Law 111-40 will soon honor the service of Deanie and the other WASP with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award the Congress can bestow on a civilian. The medal ceremony will be held in the US Capitol, at a date to be determined, following the designing and 'striking' of the gold medal by the US Mint.