It is with my deepest sorrow that we have a lost a great person, mother
and WASP. Janet E. Wayne (Tuch), 44-W-9 passed away on July 28, 2004.
Her fondest memory of life itself was having been in the elite group.
She was buried in the town in which she lived for 40 years, Barrington
Illinois. She was attired in her WASP uniform, with the air Force
Color Guard performing military services and presenting the flag to my
sister. The WASP emblem is being placed upon her monument.
Most recently she enjoyed the WASP "Rap" song.
Printed below is a document that her son-in-law had written on her behalf
years ago and was read at the funeral service.
William G. Tuch, KOW and son
JANET WAYNE TUCH - WASP 44-W-9
Like most of us, I always wanted to fly. As
a child, I sent in cereal box tops in order to receive little "cub wings"
which I still have. After graduation from High School, I completed the Civil
Pilots' Training course and earned my Private License. During my second year
at college, I read about the WASP program and of course wrote immediately,
requesting acceptance. The coveted telegram from General "Hap" Arnold
informing me to report to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas, arrived in
After a long trip on an antique train from Chicago to Sweetwater, I
arrived to an over-booked hotel. The next morning I caught my first
glimpse of Avenger where two "6''s had collided in the traffic pattern the
previous day and had been pulled off to a nearby field. But I was young,
fearless and, of course, immortal, as we all were.
My most terrifying flight experience came on our 500 mile cross-country
flight from Avenger to Blyth, California. After making a fuel stop at
Deming, New Mexico, we headed for our next stop, Tucson, Arizona. A
thunder and lightening storm suddenly loomed ahead of us. Most of the
girls and instructors turned back to Deming. Others landed in the desert.
Not realizing how dangerous the storm was becoming, I flew on and became
lost among the mountain peaks north of Tucson with lightening, rain, and
darkness surrounding me. Fortunately, we had completed our instrument
training. I tuned into the Tucson radio range station and miraculously
found the beam that guided me into Tucson. No one else flew in that night
and rather than continue to Blyth the next day, we were told to return to
Sweetwater. I am sure that some of our members remember that X-country
and their own experiences. At that point in my life, I eliminated the
word "fearless" and substituted the word "stupid." (I have also
eliminated the words "young" and "immortal" from my vocabulary.)
After graduation, Francis Stroud and I were assigned to Craig Air Force Base
near Selma, Alabama. It was an advanced training and engineering
headquarters. We did engine testing and some weather reconnaissance.
We transported "AT6"s to the Ease Coast and flew
terrified Air Force personnel to various parts of the country
during the next few remaining months. Then in December it was time to
go home and back to reality.
I met my husband while I was employed as a
secretary in an Airline Transport Rating school near Chicago. He was a
Trans World Airline pilot, flying both domestic and international routs.
Thanks to airline personnel benefit6s, he and I and our two children
traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia.
We moved to the country and raised our lovely daughter and rather
rambunctious young son. During our "growing up" years, we acquired four
horses, two dongs, and various wild critters which somehow managed to
"follow the children home."
As I reminisce, I think back again to our younger flying days of spins
and loops, slow rolls, snap rolls, and chandelles. I will always be
grateful for the training, experience, and mostly the friendships while
belonging to our unique WASP organization.
Janet Wayne Tuch