by Jess Clackum
Alex Esquerra is a former U.S. Navy Airman. An experienced pilot, he enjoys taking to the air in his flying club's warbird, the Vultee BT-13A Valiant, a military trainer used to train US pilots during World War II.
"They say when you fly warbirds, you feel like you've become a guardian of history, and I can verify that is an absolute fact. As a side effect, I have delighted in the inevitable practice of sharing the plane's heritage with the public, often at local fly-in's and air shows."
Alex is behind Operation Valiant with the mission of restoring a BT-13A Valiant to be flown at the WASP reunion on May 28, 2016 at the WASP National Museum, Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. The BT-13 has never been present at the reunions...until now!
Alex has enlisted the support of the Commemorative Air Force Houston and Jayhawk wings. Present at Avenger Field on May 28th will be the:
North American T-6G "Texan"
Vultee BT-13 Valiant
For Alex, restoring the BT-13A Valiant and flying it to the WASP reunion is a labor of love for he has a tremendous respect and admiration for the WASP.
"There are a myriad of examples of perseverance, pride of service, honor, courage, and sacrifice that made the ladies of WASP what they are to me today. The WASP did not participate in combat, but that does not make them any less heroes than their male counterparts. If anything, I see their service as even more heroic considering the low expectations that many in the military had of them because of their gender. Like a male combat unit that manages to win the day despite predictions that they won't, the pilots of WASP hit the challenging situation head on, determined to not go out without giving it their all. And in the end, they shattered the notion that women were not suited for flying military aircraft".
The team behind FlyGirls the Series appreciates Alex and his dedication to preserving the history of the WASP. It is because of people like him, the WASP legacy will live on for generations to come.