Women Air Force Service Pilot inspires future generations

  • Published
  • By Ms. Linda Welz
  • 452 AMW Public Affairs

Margot DeMoss, 97, resides at Alta Vita Village, formerly Air Force Village West, near March Air Reserve Base. She lost her husband in January, and the days of her flying for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during WWII is becoming increasingly more difficult for her to recall.


Perry Brooks, Alta Vita Village IT Systems Administrator and retired Marine, saw that March ARB had a new female commander, so he reached out with hopes of helping DeMoss remember some of her past by asking military women aviators to visit her, and in-turn, be inspired by one who paved the way for them.


“I wanted military women to connect with a piece of history, and give some of the young pilots a chance to see where it all started for them,” Brooks said. “I was thinking that her seeing people in uniform will help her remember a little better because she’ll flash back to uniforms.”


Lt. Col. Jengi Martinez and Maj. Robbie Frantal, 729th Airlift Squadron C-17 pilots, answered the call for visitation by contacting Brooks to see when they could visit.


“When we got word of who she was and the history behind the Women Airforce Service Pilots, it was an honor for us to come visit her, spend time with her,” Martinez said. “There are so many more (WASP) stories to be told. People really have just scratched the surface and it’s unfortunate because they (WASPs) are aging out. There’s not many of them left,” she said. “I think it would be interesting to have that conversation and hear the differences and similarities between the training for them back then versus what we went through. I definitely think the flying was harder for them than what we have with the technology these days.”


At the first visit, Martinez took some patches and a Velcro board to put on DeMoss’s wall so others could leave their patches and wings for DeMoss.


“We looked at a book about the WASPs together and she got a really big smile on her face and said, ‘Those were the days!’ She didn’t elaborate but you could tell she had a moment of clarity at that point,” Martinez said. “I think that’s what makes it worth it for us. Without women like Ms. DeMoss, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have as female pilots today. So being able to just be in her presence is truly an honor.”


Based on her history, there is much more to learn, Frantal said.


Being such a young woman, at such a trying time, and doing so much for the country is amazing,” Frantal said. “She enabled our future as pilots and in the military service.”


Sharing a picture of herself in uniform, DeMoss answered a question posed to her about how it was to fly planes pulling targets while the men shot at the targets. “It was scary.”