|Parachute chic. / Christopher Sessums, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
. . . make a dress from a parachute with its yards and yards and yards and yards of beautiful white silk (or nylon late in the war). The best wedding gowns were made from their sweetheart’s parachute that brought them to safety. Ruth, Rosalie, Janet, and countless others all around the world did just that.
|Violette de Courcy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License // CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
While returning from a bombing raid over Japan in August of 1944, B-29 pilot Maj Claude Hensinger and his crew were forced to bail out when their aircraft caught fire. After it saved his life, Claude used his parachute as a pillow and blanket until he was rescued. When he returned to the States, he used his life-saving parachute in lieu of a ring to propose to Ruth, asking her to make her wedding dress out of it. Claude and Ruth wed on July 19, 1947. The couple’s daughter as well as their son’s bride wore this dress before it was donated to the Smithsonian.
|Parachute Wedding Dress / nationalmuseumofamericanhistory / CC BY-SA 2.0
Reo Arland Casper, a native of Idaho, enlisted in the US Marines at age nineteen. Janet Gleason of Massachusetts signed up for the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted Volunteer Emergency Service) at age twenty-one. Their paths crossed at Fort Dix in New Jersey, where they struck up a friendship that evolved into a romance, and they fell in love. Janet packed Reo’s parachute for his final jump before graduation Paramarine training. Before he shipped out for his first duty, he proposed, and the pair planned to wed after the war was over. Knowing she couldn’t afford a wedding dress, Janet’s commanding officer gave her a Japanese silk parachute. With it, she fashioned the gown she would marry Reo in and packed it away until the end of the war. And the war did end, but Reo’s mother objected to the marriage because of religious differences. So, the couple went to Montana and eloped. They were married for fifty-eight years. You can learn more about Reo and his bride HERE as well as see Janet’s dress.
Here are a few others.
MRS. WITHERSPOON GOES TO WAR (Heroines of WWII series)
A WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) flies a secret mission to rescue three soldiers held captive in Cuba.
Margaret “Peggy” Witherspoon is a thirty-four-year-old widow, mother of two daughters, an excellent pilot, and very patriotic. She joins the WASP. As she performs various tasks like ferry aircraft, transporting cargo, and being an airplane mechanic, she meets and develops feelings for her supervisor Army Air Corp Major Howie Berg. When Peggy learns of U.S. soldiers being held captive in Cuba, she, Major Berg, and two fellow WASPs devise an unsanctioned mission to rescue them. With Cuba being an ally in the war, they must be careful not to ignite an international incident.
Get it HERE!