In honor of Women's History Month - and International Women's Day, I plan to showcase a series of remarkable women from our County. Jean Harmon of Menlo Park is my first--she's a veteran.
Jean Harmon was an elite member of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). The WASP’S were trained pilots who flew military planes during World War II. Jean was introduced to airplanes at the age of 7 when she got her first airborne ride with a relatives. It was love at first flight. Amelia Earhart was her heroine. Jean graduated high school at 16 and attended University of the Pacific in Stockton California when World War II broke out during the first semester. She left college to pursue her training to become a pilot.
The WASP’s were formed in 1942 due to the high demand of military pilots. In Sweetwater, Texas the WASPS learned the “military way to fly”. They tested and delivered military planes. Unbelievable as it sounds, the WASPS had to pay their own way for that training.
Jean was stationed in Marana Air Base in 1944. After the war, men assumed the peacetime pilot jobs. Seventeen years after serving in the military, the WASPs received veteran status.
Jean Harmon was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010. She was a pioneer, a role-model, and pursued her dreams. She was a trailblazer for the women who serve as veterans today.