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March 3, 2008

Contact Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. ­– Liz Strohfus will share her high-flying story of service as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II at 7 p.m. in the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre Tuesday, March 18.

“Love at First Flight: One Woman’s Experience as a WASP in World War II” is part of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership’s Spring Lecture Series. A member of the “greatest generation,” Strohfus will share her story of flight, and of overcoming the many obstacles she and her female comrades faced in climbing into the pilot’s seat.

Strohfus (then known as Betty Wall) grew up in Faribault, Minn., during the Great Depression. There she discovered her love of flying, even putting her bicycle up as collateral on a loan to buy a membership in the local flying club. In 1942, Strohfus applied for the WASP program, an experimental, pioneering program in which women were taught to fly military aircraft.

Of some 25,000 applicants, only 1,800 were accepted, and of those, Strohfus was one of only about 1,000 to earn their wings. In addition to flying military trainers such as the PT-19, BT-13, and AT-6 at the legendary Avenger Field in Texas, she went on to fly the B-26 Marauder and the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and the P-39 Airacobra fighter. For more information on Strohfus, visit

The event is co-sponsored by the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University and by La Crosse Chapter 307 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.


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