Washington State Magazine

Fall 2010 cover

Fall 2010

Cultivated Landscapes

In This Issue...


Back to the city :: Agriculture is rooting its way back into the urban landscape. As King County's farm specialist, Steve Evans '78, '82 has watched agriculture disappear from the area. But now some of the land is going to smaller farms with high value crops. Meanwhile, small farms agent Bee Cha helps East African refugees farm in the urban Pacific Northwest. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Urban agriculture, Gallery 1 and Urban agriculture, Gallery 2 Scenes of urban farms and agriculture around Seattle and Tacoma. Photography by Zach Mazur '06. }

Cultivating new energy :: If only we could simply grow our own fuel. Washington State researchers are looking at the possibilities. by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Slideshow: Renewable Energy from Wind }

The kinder, gentler orchard :: The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 initiated the gradual phasing out of organophosphate pesticides. By 2012, the major chemical defense against wormy apples will no longer be available. But not to worry, thanks to a continuous refinement of Integrated Pest Management and collaboration amongst growers, industry fieldmen, and WSU researchers. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Cultivated Landscapes Scenes around Washington by photographer Zach Mazur '06. }


One version of pastoral :: Shakespeare offers little in terms of convincing natural description. His Forest of Arden is praised for what it isn't rather than what it is. by Will Hamlin

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Erratic Boulders Boulders scattered around Waterville Plateau in north central Washington. Photography by Zach Mazur '06. }



:: FIRST WORDS : The Cultivated Landscape

:: SPORTS: Tools for training

:: IN SEASON: Walla Walla Sweets

:: LAST WORDS: Spiritual landscapes

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Grilling Walla Walla Sweet Onions }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Walla Walla Sweet Onions Photography by Chris Anderson. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Pumping Up in the new WSU Weight Training Facility }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Clips from Back to the Garden From the documentary by Kevin Tomlinson '75 }

Cover illustration: Stone City West by Robin Moline.
Read more about the cover and order a poster version.

WASP Jeanne Norbeck with one of her test planes. Courtesy the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum.


WASP Jeanne Norbeck with one of her test planes. Courtesy the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum

A memorial for Norbeck who died testing a plane. Courtesy the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum.

A memorial for Norbeck who died testing a plane. Courtesy the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum

Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck ’33—Recognition at last

by | © Washington State University

In March of this year, a special Congressional action signed by President Obama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the “WASPS” of World War II. Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck ’33 was awarded the medal posthumously.

Jeanne graduated from Washington State College with a degree in English. President Roosevelt had funded the start of construction on the Grand Coulee Dam, and Jeanne was an early hire. She married a young engineer on the project, Ed Norbeck.

Later, Jeanne and Ed became managers of a large plantation in one of the outer islands in the Hawaiian chain. Given the lack of transportation between islands, Jeanne and her husband purchased a light airplane and both became accomplished pilots. They were at home on the plantation when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. With war raging, Ed joined the Army, and in 1942, when the WASP Corps was formed, Jeanne was one of the first to volunteer.

The WASPS flew over 60 million miles and logged nearly 300,000 flying hours in every airplane in the American arsenal, from P-51 Mustang fighters to the B-29 Superfortress. Also, they ferried more than 12,000 aircraft to bases abroad. A few of the more experienced women pilots—and Jeanne was one of them—served as test pilots.

When you think of test pilots you automatically think of exotic new aircraft just off the assembly lines. But these test pilots tested aircraft that had been badly damaged or worn out in war, then rebuilt to fly.

In October 1944, Jeanne was testing a BT-13 in South Carolina. It crashed, and Jeanne was killed.

The WASPS were civilians hired by the Army, with no benefits whatsoever. According to Lt. Col. Yvonne Pateman, neither the military nor the U.S. Government assumed expenses for Jeanne’s funeral, nor even provided a military escort or a flag for her coffin. Jeanne’s fellow WASPS took up a collection to pay for her funeral, and one of the ladies volunteered to accompany her body home to her parents.

Three other test pilots were killed in the line of duty, as were 34 other women pilots—all without military benefits or honors.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill granting veteran status for the WASPS. For Jeanne and most of the WASPS it was too late in coming.

Now the women flyers have been awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, recognizing their courage and service to their country.

James Quann (’54, ’60 MA, ’71 EdD) was WSU’s registrar from 1971 to 1990. He is the founder of the WSU Veteran’s Memorial and author of WSU Military Veterans: Heroes and Legends (Tornado Creek Publications 2005), which chronicles 120 case studies.

Categories: Military sciences, History, Alumni | Tags: Pilots, World War II, Women's Airforce Service Pilots

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