Two Nevada Pilots Receive Congressional Gold Medal
March 11, 2010
Washington, D.C.—Nevada Senator Harry Reid honored members of the Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs) along with other members of Congress awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal yesterday. Madge Ragan Leno Moore of Las Vegas and Frances Tanassy, who recently moved from Nevada, were among the group of WASPs recognized for their service as World War II veterans.
Below are Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today we honor these brave women not just for the miles they flew, but for the many they inspired.
“More than 600 female pilots patrol the world’s skies as members of today’s United States Air Force. More than 1,600 women serve on active duty at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada. Not too long ago, both of those numbers were zero.
“Each of today’s female pilots – every American who now serves in a more equal military – and every little girl who wants to fly and fight for her country – has the Women Airforce Service Pilots to thank for their dreams taking flight.
“Two of those are Frances Tanassy and Madge Moore, who are here today from Las Vegas. Nevada has always been the home of pioneers, so it’s no surprise that it their home, too.
“The women of WASP wanted nothing more than to serve, knowing full well their service would not be without sacrifice or risk. Their country didn’t initially call them, but they answered anyway.
“When the eleven hundred WASPs volunteered for duty, it meant eleven hundred more warriors could go to the front lines. It meant our military was stronger both at home and abroad.
“Your selfless service was exemplary. Your sacrifices for your nation were necessary. And your leadership was revolutionary in its impact on the United States Armed Forces.
“Congressional Gold Medals are often long overdue. If you look at the list of honorees and when they were honored, you might reasonably ask, what took so long?
“But overdue recognition is nothing new to this brave group. They were given no military benefits during the war, no veterans’ benefits when it ended. The 38 women who died in the line of duty received no suitable honors. Their coffins couldn’t even bear the flag of the country for which they gave their lives.
“And when they were sent home, many of the women who had flown their nation’s most powerful and sophisticated planes had to fly back across the country on their own dime.
“Belated though our thanks may be, these extraordinary medals honor you in the same way our nation has honored other revolutionary American women like Rosa Parks, other long-underappreciated heroes like Tuskegee Airmen and other national icons like George Washington. With you here, they are in good company.
“To all of the aviators here today – and to those who are here only in our hearts: Congratulations, and thank you.”
RenoBruce R. Thompson
Courthouse & Federal Bldg
400 S. Virginia St, Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501
Washington DC522 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Toll Free for Nevadans:
Carson City600 East William St, #304
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-REID (7343)
Las VegasLloyd D. George Building
333 Las Vegas Boulevard
South, Suite 8016
Las Vegas, NV 89101