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tv   [untitled]    May 26, 2012 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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, her mother went to another labor camp. she was raised in a child labor camp. and she was brought up as a it textile factory worker and everybody can have a, in russia, an extracurricular activity. hers was parachuting. so then you put it together. and obviously they took her for her parachuting qualities. i think she made 350 jumps. and they say that she really hadn't been schooled that much on the capsule, and she was told what to do. this is what kind of is interesting the fact that we could have done it if they would just let us. a dog did did it. a monkey did it. man did it. a woman can do it. we had to wait, what, 30-some years for eileen to do it, to show us. >> unfortunately but good for -- >> oh, yes. finally progress. >> was it fascinating to be able
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to meet valentina and talk with her? >> very, but she was very guarded. and, of course, she would be. she held a position in moscow as the first lady, and rather interesting. if you lived in a block of buildings and you were to report to her if there was any misconduct in your building, it was your russian duty to report to her. if you overheard anything. if anything was against the government, and this is the way they worked their system. >> very different society. >> in fact, when our astronauts go over, and i've heard this from shannon, she had -- it was a terrible time. the food, the quality, the housing, the clothing, the fact that shannon didn't get all of her gear for a month up into the
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"soyuz" and into the module that they were circling the earth with was really too bad. but she told me a bit about her experiences. i'm looking forward to going to russia and i hope it will be a little bit different than what shannon experienced. but yet when we had the russians come over to america, what do we do? we put them up in a nice place to stay, a car or a chauffeur driven car. clothing. great experiences. but this is just a difference in cultures, you're right. >> very interesting differences. you continue to be a pioneer in i have aviation and for women. you went on to work with the faa and then national transportation safety board. how did those opportunities arise for you? how did you find out about the
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openings and move into them and what did you do? >> quite by accident. probably be at the right place at the right time. i was chief pilot for a company out in california. i took a lot of wealthy people back and forth to vegas, at all times of the night. interesting enough men made their decision making and shook hands over deals in the airplane that i was carrying them in going to vegas and back. not necessarily so much coming back but going. i was applying for a professorship in the university of alaska and i used an faa chap's name that i had known and he said, wally, what is this? you be in my office at 9:00 monday morning. oh, okay. i was there and he said you're set up for an interview next monday morning because we want you to be an investigator -- i mean, an inspector for the faa. i said, oh, my goodness.
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well, that takes an awful lot of education. i don't know if i can -- of course i can do that. caught myself. of course i can do that. i can be the first girl inspector for the faa. and i had my interview, and my first boss was bill glenn. and i answered all their questions, and then i asked hem all about the faa and what they expected of me and what i was going to -- where was i going to go with the faa. and he said, i like her line of questioning. you're hired. so i was with the faa, had a great time with them. and then ntsb stole me over and i became an investigator until i retired in '84. i've done over 450 accidents, whether large or 0 small. >> that must be a challenge. >> that was a great challenge, yes.
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but very interesting and every accident investigation was different. >> absolutely. i'm sure it was a learning experience, too, to see all the different considerations, safety considerationses and things to watch out for. >> that's correct. you hit on a very good word of safety because most of the accidents there has been a safety problem with that accident either by pilot not taking heed or the mechanic or maybe the aircraft itself. that's why one of the reasons why i retired early because i wanted to take my wally funk safety slide presentation around the world in the united states to universities and colleges and show them why people crash into mountains on a clear day.
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it's incredible. i mean, in the middle of arizona is taylor mountain -- or, no, excuse me, flagstaff. i can't recall the name of the mountain right now. nothing around it. and yet i've done several accidents where people were coming and going right into that particular peak and that was the only peak for maybe hundreds of miles. i climbed that one many times. i've gotten to many accidents by horse, by mule, by helicopter, by rappelling, by being dropped down, by boat, walking, you name it, i've gotten there. >> quite an active life you've had. >> yes. i've lived every bit of it. wouldn't change it for the world. >> it's great. i hope that i'm able to say that and still be enjoying life as much as you in my own few years. >> well, i have a lot to do. i have 50 more years of stuff to
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do -- >> absolutely. >> i've got to keep on going. >> and i'm sure you will. i'm sure you will. when you mentioned earlier that you hadn't known any of the women that went through the mercury it testing with you at the time, you knew geri cobb and jackie cochrane but not the others who had passed, and that you only got to meet them a few years ago. what was that like? >> it was pretty neat. being the youngest, i was outvoted on who was going to talk first, so i sat there and listen ed a lot, and i did have my camera so i got to film a lot of what was going on in the various impromptu clutches that we would get into. and every time we got together, there would be more stories that came out. they all thought of things, especially some of the girls that went together. now, see, i was by myself so i didn't have anybody to talk to. i didn't -- but they being older
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could have each other to talk to or they'd talk more to the doctors and the nurses more than i would be. i just considered myself a subject, and i was there to take testses and i didn't ask questions and i just was there. so i still listened to their stories because i didn't have the fascinating stories. i've told you some of my experiences. sarah ratley said she had her hair all done up the day before she went to lovelace. the minute you go in you're handed a weekly sheet of expectations. and the first thing was, wash your hair thoroughly and don't do anything with it. and you're going to take an enema. we did everything we were supposed to. >> interesting. interesting. and now how have you kept in
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contact then since you've all met and kept up a regular correspondence or meetings? >> we have geri truehill is our gal that everybody calls and gives information to. when we come down here to the cape to see eileen off, we all get together, those of us who can still travel. >> that's good. that's great to see you all still keeping together and keeping up. as you've -- well, when did you find out that eileen was going to have the opportunity to pilot the shuttle? >> gosh, i think we met back in the mid-'80s. she had just been hired by nasa at women in i haveaviation conf
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in las vegas. and the women in aviation is a large organization now that encompasses all girls that want to fly around the world whether you want to do -- fly for the airlines or for commuters or as i am a chief pilot or just as a beginning flight student or a nasa individual like eileen. we've all been speakers. and this has opened the floodgates to let people know there's an organization where young people to come to to find out about military, to find out what's out there for them. and peggy baty from dayton, ohio, is the one that has start this had organization, and we've just had our tenth anniversary. we meet the second week of every -- the second week of every march somewhere in the united states. and women in aviation international has probably given out hundreds of scholarships for
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the airline industry, for anything that any girl wants to apply for. and those things are out there. we teach people how to get hold of scholarships, to use pell grants. none of this was even remotely thought of 15 years ago when i was -- i wasn't struggling but when i was struggling to get my licenses and what geri and the rest of the girls had to do to get their licenses. >> that's wonderful to be able to work with a young generation and to help them have the exciting experiences you have. >> yes. and when you interview the wasps you'll find you're going back in time even more and they helped open the gates for us in women in aviation and for us getting into some of the space program. >> and i'm guessing many of them
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are involved in the women in aviati aviation? >> absolutely. oh, and also the friendship inducted quite a few ladies in actually ckansas in the middle f june this year. and i suspect there were with about 20 there, yes. you see there's about four or five organizations where we all see each other through the year whether you're a helicopter pilot, a fixed wing pilot, women in aviation, or a forest of friendship up at amelia earhart's. a great network today. >> you mentioned all the different types of pilots there can be, and you've flown a have a rye ty of different aircraft, if i'm correct. was there a favorite that you had? >> yes. it's an old bi-wing, open cockpit airplane, and i owned one as a youngster -- well, as a youngster, as a 22-year-old in
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hawthorne, california. silly me, i sold it when i wanted to go overseas, because i couldn't get anybody to work on the radial engine. and of course to find a mechanic to work on a radial or a sill ind er type of an engine when they could be out there working on a jet engine, uh-uh, unheard of. i sold it for, the audience will love this, $3,000. today that airplane is worth in good shape $130,000. and i'll go up to somebody who has a nice steerman and i'll say, well, i guess -- can i have a ride? can i pay for a ride? i used to own one of these. i have about 3,000 hours in one, in tcs, all the old war birds. well, i don't know. you have to take our course. okay. let's go for a ride. >> oh, that's -- >> but i did make an
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advertisement in the early '80s for merrill lynch, and i flew a steerman and i did all kinds of acrobatics and had -- did a big enough loop where i could have a helicopter run through and it was wonderful because mother could be in the chase plane and she had never seen me perform. and for merrill lynch as i went into the sun, the bull was coming out of the sun and then i had some words to say but as we were going back home and the sun was setting, mother was in the chase plane and i was right next to her and we were just both tears coming down our eyes because we could be up in the air together. she had her wish and passed on to her daughter with the gene of flying. >> that's wonderful. that must have meant so much to her. >> i didn't know about it until
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a few years ago. >> your mother sounds like a wonderful woman. >> she was great. she was everything to me. >> nice to have so much support, too, and that must have helped in your career and being able to have so much fun with what you did to have such support and a friend. >> they both were. but, mind you, i grew up in an area where you had free spirit. there were no reins. i was brought up by the indians in taos, pueblo, and they taught me how to fish and hunt and camp at a very early age and survive the wilderness. so i had all that going for myself. where a youngster today is in a city, in an apartment, and that's all they know. they don't know ocean and skiing and snow and and air as i was able to know it. and that's why i thank the good
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lord for putting me where he put me. >> you were in a wonderful environment, it sounds like. >> thank you. >> the future -- we we were talking earlier. you have quite an exciting future in front of you. you mentioned going over to russia to do the training, but you're also gearing up for -- >> yes, i'm gearing up to go into space, and it's really going to happen. i always knew even though the mercury tests were stopped, i knew that i would one day go up. it was in my bones. i knew it. and, sure enough, a company called zegram voyages out of seattle, washington, has the plans to put a vehicle into space with a space cruiser attached underneath. and what will happen is that the mothership will take the space
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crui cruiser up and peel off and then the space cruiser will then go into orbit. and they will only have nine of us onboard. it's going to take a lot of training before we get to go up. but my space star city training will help for that, of course. and i'm going to have my nose pressed against that window as hard as it can go and watch what the astronauts see when they go around, and i'm not going to have any duties. >> that's the best way to go. >> yes. >> i'm going to go as a paying passenger. >> and be able to look all you want. >> that's right. >> that will be fabulous. hopefully we'll be able to have a chance -- >> you will. maybe you can come to the launch, because the launch will be somewhere in california. because, you see, the vehicle will be able to take off and land as an airport. >> oh, that's great. >> that's how it's being designed. >> i will put it on my calendar. i will be there.
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>> 2002 or 2003. >> absolutely. looking back, what was the most challenging aspect for you in your career? >> career -- not tests. >> well, test, too. >> i can't say that my tests have been a challenge because i went in not knowing what was going to happen to me, so nothing was preconceived. challenging -- i suspect when i was an investigator and going to all the schools that the ntsb allowed me -- i went to five schools a year. i went to every aircraft manufacturer, engine manufacturer, propeller manufacturer, and any of your parts that go with any of the engines. that was challenging. going to an accident investigation, a large magnitude was challenging.
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but we always came up with a solution. today it takes much longer because we're having more acciden accidents. unfortunately, and we don't have the manpower. excuse me, the people power. but in my tenure in the office in los angeles we had three states, the entire south pacific to have as our territory, and there were only six of us, so we were really scattered, and i was on the road about every third or fourth day. so i had a life that was on to the beeper. we didn't have faxes in those days. we didn't even have ways of transmitting information. it was the good old phone
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>> huh. well, golly gee whiz, i haven't gotten there yet.
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if i can make it through star city and i can make it into space, that would be it. but everything has been like building up to it, and i've had wonderful experiences and wonderful accomplishments, and i couldn't do it with all the people that we're helping to push behind me and seizing opportunities. it's recognition of the opportunity. >> that's a very important factor that i'm sure you poos on to your students, take advantage of those opportunities when they come up. >> that's right. >> well, i want to thank you for sharing so much with us today. it has been fascinating. >> well, it's been my pleasure to be here with you and i hope that all of your viewers will enjoy it as much as i have. >> i'm sure they will. they'll enjoy it as much as i did. thank you. >> my pleasure. you can watch oral histories here every weekend, saturdays at 8:00 a.m., sundays at 3:00 p.m.
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and early monday mornings at 4:00 a.m. eastern time right here on c-span 3. for more information about american history tv, including our complete schedule, go to c-spa c-span.org/history. to keep us with us during the week or to send us your questions and comments, follow us on twitter. we're at twitter.com/c-spanhistory. the third u.s. infantry or old guard was founded in 1784 and is the oldest active infantry unit in the army. stationed at ft. meyer, virginia, near arlington cemetery, the unit conducts about eight military funerals each day and has participated in presidential and state funerals since is 1948. american history tv visited ft. meyer to observe preparations for sem is tear missions and to learn about the history of the third infantry and funeral caissons.
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>> my name is staff sergeant robert maskey. i'm a squad leader in the caisson platoon. right now we're doing tack prep in the morning for all of the missions. there's 20 funeral missions a day in arlington cemetery. there are eight full honors funerals. they are usually for sergeant major above, medal recipients and active duty soldiers and for office officers. so there's eight of those a day. >> the caisson came about, the first instance we found is during the war with mexico, the late 1840s, during that time a colonel's body, according to one account, was carried away from the battlefield as part of the procession on the caisson that was present on the battlefield. it was during that time that the u.s. army's artillery came about in its own age and so the artillery was heavily used in
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the war against mexico and part of that continued on through the day. the civil war it was used quite a bit to ferry bodies away when an a.m. blaps was not available and through today it's still used. a caisson, what we think of today as the caisson is actually two parts, the limber and the caisson, the limber is the front part. the caisson being the rear part of the wagon, if you will. it was used to carry the tools, the artillery that was used for a battery firing a gun. often they had to go back to the supply lines to restock, get ammunition maybe, and so since they were going back they could carry a body, either a hurt or a dead soldier back to the field
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hospital. >> i'm just pulling out of her stall and getting her ready for the day. we're going to be getting them out in the stall so that they don't roll around in their bedding and get dirty and then this way we'll go put the tack on them and have them looking all nice, go out in the cemet y cemetery. there's a couple more over here. this is clinger. clinger has a children's book written about him. >> the old guard participated in the kennedy funeral. because it was a nationally watched event on live television, people sought many elements of the old guard in action as part of that. the caisson, of course, conveying the remains of the president to his final resting place. ♪
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♪ >> united states army -- >> ready. >> ready. >> ready. >> caisson pull.
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you can view more american artifacts programs online at c-spanvideo.org. enter american artifacts in the search box. welcome to old cow town museum, wichita, kansas. yeehaw! >> here in the city of wichita, brett and trace. of course waking up the city for 22 years and we think we have a heck of a start. that's why the mayor comes in every wednesday. today he'll be talking a little bit about the problem we're having in the city with ta
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taxicabs. so 9:20, hang on for that if you will. >> june 2 and 3, book tv and american history it tv explore the heritage and literary culture of wichita, kansas. >> modest looking paper wrapped binding. but what it contains is an alphabetical list of the members of the senate and the house of representatives done in 1831. i believe this was issued only, as it says here, for the members' immediate use only. not that they had xerox machines but they were not supposed to loan this out because, as you can see, it would tell you exactly where everybody lives so you could go and buttonhole them and punch them if you didn't like them. >> watch book tv and american history tv in witchchita on jun and 3 on c-span 2 and 3. american history tv is marking memorial day 2012 with programming featuring the stories, recollections and
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memories of america's veterans. known as declaration day until 1882, memorial day is now observed annually in the united states on the last monday of may to honor all americans who have died in all wars. to find out more about this weekend's programming or to watch something you may have yo visit our website at c-span.org/history. you're watching "american history tv" memorial day weekend and every week end on c-span3. as our memorial day weekend programming continues, we hear from three veterans of the army's 101st airborne division and a holocaust survivor as they reflect on their experiences during world war ii. they're joined by two actors who appeared in the hbo mini series "band of brothers" which portrays the lives of the airborne soldiers. this

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