On This Day
1814 – Battle of North Point: an American detachment halts the British land advance to Baltimore in the War of 1812.
The Battle of North Point was fought on September 12, 1814, between General John Stricker’s Maryland Militia and a British force led by Major General Robert Ross. Although the Americans retreated, they were able to do so in good order having inflicted significant casualties on the British, killing one of the commanders of the invading force, significantly demoralizing the troops under his command and leaving some of his units lost among woods and swampy creeks, with others in confusion. This combination prompted British colonel Arthur Brooke to delay his advance against Baltimore, buying valuable time to properly prepare for the defense of the city as Stricker retreated back to the main defenses to bolster the existing force. The engagement was a part of the larger Battle of Baltimore, an American victory in the War of 1812.
Born On This Day
1894 – Dorothy Maud Wrinch, Argentinian-English mathematician, biochemist and philosopher (d. 1976)
Dorothy Maud Wrinch (12 September 1894 – 11 February 1976; married names Nicholson, Glaser) was a mathematician and biochemical theorist best known for her attempt to deduce protein structure using mathematical principles. She was a champion of the controversial ‘cyclol’ hypothesis for the structure of proteins.
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From the Desk of:
Major Heather Penney, USAF (Ret.)
Major Heather ‘Lucky’ PenneyLate in the morning of September 11th, 2001, I took off from Andrews AFB in an F-16.
Heading west with my flight lead, we searched low for the other airliner inbound towards Washington DC.
The Pentagon had already been hit, and we knew another was coming.
But our fighters didn’t have any live ammunition or missiles. All we had were some dummy bullets left over from a training mission.
This meant that the only way I could protect our nation’s capital was to become a kamikaze pilot.
Watch: Heather Penney’s Suicide Mission…
But because of the courageous and self less actions of heroic passengers of Flight 93, my sacrifice was not needed.
Perhaps you think my service as a military pilot is unique. It is true that I was the first female pilot in the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air National Guard. And I was among the first wave of women to sign up when Congress opened up combat aviation to women.
But I am less of trailblazer than you might think…
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), or Fly Girls as they were called by the media, were my inspiration to become a military pilot. In 1942, a small and elite group of ground-breaking women answered a desperate nation’s call to man the stateside flying missions of the Army Air Force. Their patriotic and selfless service made it possible for me to serve 50 years later.
These 1,102 women helped tow targets, flight test air planes, ferry fighters and bombers, and train men to fly in World War II.
Thirty-eight Fly Girls died serving our nation.
And while General Hap Arnold strongly supported making them members of the military, for years they were denied their rightful status as veterans.
Their service and story was forgotten.
The Forgotten Airforce
If you believe, as I do, that the pioneering spirit of America’s early pilots is an important part our national character, then I urge you to join with me in supporting a museum dedicated to honoring this very special group of pilots and inspiring future generations of women.
The National WASP WWII Museum is in the process of a major expansion that will feature interactive exhibits and a teaching theater, and tell the important history of women in aviation from the early barnstormers to today’s female pilots.
The Women Airforce Service PilotsEvery Memorial Day weekend the Museum hosts a HOMECOMING that WASP from around the nation attend.
Sadly, the number of Fly Girls who are able attend HOMECOMING goes down each year.
While it’s true you and I can’t defeat “father time,” we can make sure these women are permanently remembered.
That’s all these women want from you and me.
Beyond ferrying aircraft, test flying planes, towing targets for military training, and training the men who would go to war in the skies of Europe and the Pacific, their legacy helped make it possible for women like me to fly and serve our nation.
Please help keep their memory, their story, and their spirit alive by supporting the Museum Expansion. This is as much about honoring these Fly Girls as it is about inspiring young women for generations to come.
I urge you to join with me in honoring the Fly Girls who contributed so much to our nation. Thanks so much.
Major Heather Penney, USAF (Ret.)
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