2014 Rose Parade presented by Honda

Dreams Come True

Float Entry


Parade Order:


Float Sponsor Company or Organization:  
Wingtip to Wingtip Association
Company or Organization Website Address:  
Float Builder Company: Fiesta Parade Floats
Float Theme : Our Eyes Are On The Stars
How/Why Theme Was Chosen:  
“Our Eyes Are On The Stars” is an impressive floral presentation and an inspiring salute to the 1,102 brave members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who so proudly served their country at the height of World War II from 1942 to 1944. They were the first women in history to fly for the U.S. military, technically as civil service employees but subject to military discipline, and with their domestic flying relieved male pilots for combat flying overseas. Thirty-eight WASP pilots lost their lives while flying for America in its time of need. After training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, these courageous women flew any mission within the continental United States the U.S. Army Air Forces needed done during World War II except combat. The WASP flew seventy-seven different types of American military planes over sixty million miles. Planes they flew included the AT-6, the P-51, and the B-29. The WASP piloting skills were equal to their male counterparts and Commanding General Henry “Hap” Arnold acknowledged they could fly “wingtip to wingtip” with their brother pilots, proving women could be counted on in times of national emergency. The women of the WASP turned their eyes upward to the stars, knowing they could fly and knowing they could help America win World War II. Their example has led countless other American women to turn skyward, fly, and serve their nation in both military and commercial aviation.
How Float Theme Relates to Parade Theme:  
“Our Eyes Are On The Stars” illustrates the determination and courage of this important group of World War II Veterans. Their nation mired in the crisis of War, these young women dreamed of serving their country while flying the greatest aircraft of the day. They worked hard to overcome skepticism about whether “a slip of a girl” could handle heavy military planes and proved they could fly “wingtip-to-wingtip with their brothers.” Sent home as men became available to fly, just as Rosie the Riveter was sent home from the factories, the women held their memories close to their hearts. Their service forgotten by a busy nation, it took 35 years before finally, in 1977, the WASP were recognized as Veterans of World War II. In 2010 their achievement of their dream to fly for their nation was recognized when the WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Number of Years in Rose Parade:  
Float Award Received Last Year:  
Float Designer's Name: Don Davidson
Float Concept Description:  
Inspired by the 70th anniversary of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the Wingtip to Wingtip Association proudly salutes the 1,102 heroic female pilots that served our nation in its time of great need during World War II. This commemorative floral salute to the WASP is symbolic throughout the design. Stretching across the front of this historic float is a sculptured reproduction of the WASP pilot wings so proudly worn by these brave women. Close by is the life-size bronze model of the WASP Trainee statue originally sculpted by Dorothy “Dot” Swain Lewis, herself a WASP, which looks up at the scaled replica of an AT-6, a plane flown by virtually every WASP during their service. A rotating hexagon, with six magnificently detailed floral-graphs, takes center stage and highlights the historic photographic moments in the history of the WASP. These include decorated photographs (from right to left) of (1) A color replica of the female gremlin Fifinella, the official WASP mascot worn on the pilot’s shoulder patches, originally conceived by Roald Dahl and given to the WASP by Walt Disney in 1942. (2) Nancy Love, Executive Commanding Officer for all WASP ferrying operations. Certified in 16 military aircraft and the first woman to be certified to fly the P-51 Mustang, C-54 and the B-25 Mitchell. Love was the first woman in aviation history to make a flight around the world. (3) Four WASP leve their plane, a B-17 named “Pistol Packin’ Mama. (4) LIFE Magazine cover from July 19, 1943 featuring Pilot Trainee Shirley Slade. (5) Housewife and mother, Pilot Libby Gardner, at the controls of a B-26 Marauder. (6) Jacqueline Cochran, Director of the WASP. In 1938 Cochran became famous for winning the Bendix Transcontinental Race. The first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic Ocean and once considered the best female pilot in the United States. Until her time of death (1980) no other pilot, male or female, held more speed, distance or altitude records in aviation history At the side of the float is a reproduction of the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to the WASP in 2010, flanked by 38 stars as a memorial salute to the 38 heroic women that gave their lives to our nation and signifying the ultimate sacrifice these brave WASP gave to America in its time of need. Framing the float are clusters of olive branches, signifying that freedom is not free and the ultimate goal was for peace during turbulent times for our nation.
Construction Height: 16 Feet
Construction Width: 18 Feet
Construction Length: 55 Feet
Flowers and Dry Materials Used for Decorating:  
In commemoration of the 1,102 WASP and their accomplishments are six gigantic floral-graph depicting historic moments in America’s history. Five are crafted in onion seed, poppy seed and crushed sweet rice creating nine color mixes of various shades of gray using just these 3 different materials. The colored floral-graph of the female gremlin Fifinella, the official WASP mascot, has been artistically crafted if fresh floral materials including shades of sinuate statice, individual red ilex berries and yellow strawflower petals The bronze statue of the WASP Trainee has been created with golden clover seed. The Congressional Gold Medal and the WASP pilot wings are crafted in delicately-cut gold and yellow strawflower petals. The AT-6 plane is decorated in silverleaf protea leaves to create the look of stainless steel with accents of red carnations. Gold and yellow strawflower petals, with accents of ironed cornhusk, decorate the olive branches. Crisp white coconut flakes and sweet rice with cream colored ironed cornhusk accents create the sculptured columns. Magnificent floral arrangements cascade with an abundance of elegant red Black Magic, Checkmate and Opium long-stemmed roses, anthuriums, carnations and ilex berries. Roses, America’s national flower, are prominently displayed and showcased in magnificent lush deck gardens of over 15,000 vibrant red Freedom roses running the length of the float.
Estimated Number of Flowers Used (by type):  
Over 15,000 red Freedom roses on deck.
Unique or Unusual Use of Decorating Materials:  
Roses, America’s national flower, are prominently displayed and showcased in magnificent lush deck gardens of over 15,000 vibrant red Freedom roses running the length of the float.
Description of Float Animation:  
The six-sided hexagon slowly rotates to feature the magnificently detailed floral-graphs. The propeller on the AT-6 plane spins. Music from an on-board sound system adds to this patriotic tribute.
Construction or Mechanical Innovations:  
Exacting research was conducted to reproduce the historical photogenic floral-graphs featured on the float.
Rider Names: Eight original members of the WASP team ride atop the float. - Alyce Rohrer - Virginia Lee Doerr - Flora Belle Reece - Marty Wyall - Florence Mascot - Shirley Kruse - Lois Bristol Young - Margot DeMoss Four other WASP are available as alternate riders. They are: - A.J. May Starr - Adeline Ellison - Betty Strohfus - Alma Fornal - Millicent Young
Outwalker Names: Flanking the sides of the float are fourteen women who represent the legacy of the WASP. They are: - Lt. Colonel Kimberly Scott, U.S. Air Force; Alaska Airlines Pilot; USAF Academy Graduate, pilot of C-17A and KC-135R including combat and combat support - Commander Carol Skiber, U.S. Navy (Retired) - Lt. Colonel Jennifer Cress, U.S. Air Force; AWACS pilot including as part of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM - Lt. Colonel Samantha Weeks, U.S. Air Force; USAF Thunderbird pilot 2007; combat pilot in F-15C; currently with NORAD/USNORTHCOM - Suzette Umphrey McComas, U.S. Air Force; Southwest Airlines Pilot - Captain Lucy Burwell Young, U.S. Navy (Retired) - Captain Joellen Drag Oslund, U.S. Navy (Retired) - Patricia Beckman, U.S. Navy (Retired) - Colonel Sandra Opeka, U.S. Air Force Reserves (Retired) - Colonel Nancy Sumner, U.S. Air Force Reserves (Retired) - Wendy Cooper, U.S. Air Force (Retired) - Gina L. Louis, U.S. Air Force Reserves - Connie Tobias, U.S. Airways/American Airlines Captain
Company/Organization Information:  
Wingtip to Wingtip Association is a Texas Non-Profit Corporation Formed April 2, 2008, organized as a national not-for-profit association of like-minded individuals under the laws of the State of Texas for the purpose of preserving the heritage of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (hereinafter “WASP”) of World War II, assisting all living members of the WASP, their families and caretakers with meetings among themselves and others, and promoting the accurate remembrance of their ground-breaking efforts on behalf of their country and the spirit of transformation which those efforts represent. The Official Archive of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) is located at the Texas Woman’s University. Media Contact is Dr. Kate Landdeck, Vice-President WTWA. kate@fifinella.com 940-368-0164
Additional Information of Interest to the Public:  
The legacy of the WASP is celebrated and represented through the fourteen women walking alongside them and their float. The WASP and the walkers visually show what determined women are able to do. The walkers include some of the first women to serve in military aviation after the WASP, in the early 1970s and 1980s. They also include commercial airline pilots, the second female USAF Thunderbird pilot (the third female Thunderbird pilot, Caroline Jensen, will be flying overhead at the beginning of the parade), and current active duty military pilots. The Wingtip to Wingtip Association goal is to expand and protect the legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII and assisting the WASP and their families with continuing reunion activities, educational outreach, and communications. These fourteen women represent the thousands of women who are the legacy of the WASP of World War II.