My husband and I visited the Arlington Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois recently, and he found this marker, which we thought looked interesting. We didn’t know what W.A.I.T. meant, although we thought we remembered something about what the Doolittle’s Raid was.
I did some research, and found not only Maxie’s obituary, but also some information on the Doolittle’s Raid. According to her obituary, “Maxie served as a Womans Air Instrument Technician (W.A.I.T) during world WW2. She was on the team that prepared the instruments on the 16 B-25 bombers used in Doolittle’s Raid over Tokyo. She recalled flying with and calibrating General Doolittle’s plane personally.” So now, we figured out what the W.A.I.T. was.
Doolittle’s Raid was on April 18, 1942, and was a secret raid made by the U.S. on Japan, about four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On that date, 20 B-25 bombers left on the mission, but none of the planes made it back. However, most of the 80 crewman who flew the planes did survive. I found two interesting articles, one on NPR, and the other on Naval History.org, if you’d like to read more.
Maxie sounds like the kind of woman I would have liked to meet, and hear her stories about being a member of the W.A.I.T.
Arlington Cemetery had a number of interesting parts to it, including several sections dedicated to people who had served in the Spanish-American War. I’ll be posting more photos from this cemetery on the blog in the coming weeks. I have been doing a bit of research into this cemetery, since it apparently a privately owned cemetery, but has numerous sections for veterans. I found an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune, and plan to look for some more information.