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Women move history forward

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- It has been more than 150 years since the world's first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19-20,1848. A Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was debated and ultimately signed by 68 women and 32 men, setting the agenda for the women's rights movement. 

Women's History Month is celebrated this year by honoring the contributions of these and many other women of every race, class and ethnic background to the growth and strength of our nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways. 

Every year the president has signed a proclamation recognizing March as Women's History Month. The theme for this year's Women's History Month is Generations of Women Moving History Forward. 

To kick off Women's History Month, the Federal Women's Program Committee invites everyone to attend a luncheon in the Gordon Conference Center from noon to 2 p.m., March 28. The menu is Chicken Picatta buffet. The cost will be $15 for Club members and $17 for non-club members. Reservations are required. There will be no tickets sold at the door. Please see your unit ticket representatives. 

The guest speaker will be Iris Critchell, who is an Olympian, WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilots) and Aviator. At a young age, Critchell was interested in math and science, something that was unheard of for a young girl to be thinking about. 

She started flying in 1939 at Mines Field (now LAX) as a Sophomore at University of Southern California in a Piper J-2 Cub plane. In 1942, she reported to Houston for Army Air Corps training and was then assigned to the WAFS (Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron), later known as the WASPs. Until 1944, she served as a civilian ferry pilot with the Army Air Corps, Air Transport Command, 6th Ferrying Group at Long Beach. During this time, Critchell flew more than 18 types of military airplanes as pilot-in-command including World War II trainers, P-47, P-40, P-39 and P-51. 

In February 2007, Critchell was inducted in the Women of Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. Her presentation will be on "Women in Aviation History; Their Legacy and Our Challenge for the Future."