This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Although the second Great War predates the history of Southwest Airlines, our home of Love Field played in an important role in supporting the efforts of the allied forces and the march to victory following the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945.
Love Field’s very name derives from early Army aviator Lt. Moss Lee Love, who was killed in a crash during the buildup to World War I. Prior to the United States entering the second War, pilots from the Royal Air Force trained at Love Filed and other nearby airports in North Texas. It offered much better weather for flying, and was also far enough removed from active combat to alleviate the fear of attack from German fighters and bombers. The 5th Ferrying Group, with men and women from the civilian and military ranks, also established a home at Love Field to support the movement of aircraft from stateside factories to bases and fronts throughout the conflict.
In honor of the 70th anniversary celebration of the end of World War II, Southwest Airlines has the privilege of flying Elinor Otto (pictured above), who is referred to as the longest working “Rosie the Riveter,” to San Diego to celebrate at the USS Midway Museum. The name 'Rosies' were given to women who took on the thousands of jobs left, after men had departed for the war. Elinor built airplanes for more than 50 years. In November 2014, Ms. Otto was honored for her contributions to the military with the Lillian K. Keil award from the American Veterans Center. Southwest Airlines is a proud community partner of the USS Midway Museum and we are honored to welcome Elinor Otto onboard.
Here in Dallas, the Frontiers of Flight Museum (home to the Southwest Airlines Heart of our History exhibit) will also be paying tribute to the Rosies with their “Greatest Generation’s Greatest Day” event. They will be attempting to set a Guinness World with the largest gathering of people dresses as Rosie. It’s another way to celebrate those who served both at home and on the front lines, preserving many of the freedoms we cherish today.