: Birdie Schmidt and crew at the christening of the “Birdie Schmidt ARC,” August 1944. Back row left to right: Lt. Wise, Lt. Hoffman, Lt. Randall, Birdie, Lt. Gorton, Cpl. McNutt, S/Sgt. Goo. Front row left to right: T/Sgt. Boney, S/Sgt. Sanders, S/Sgt. Kamacho, S/Sgt. Dopson. During World War II, Columbus native Birdie Schmidt Larrick (1919-2009) became the only woman serving in the Red Cross to have an American bomber named after her. In early December 1943, Birdie traveled to the Air Base in Wendling, England, as program director of the American Red Cross (ARC) Aero Club. Also stationed in Wendling was the 392nd Bombardment Group (BG), which moved to the base in August 1943 and was assigned to the 8th Air Force. As program director, and later as director, Birdie’s responsibilities included managing the Aero Club staff, organizing programs and events for the enlisted men and officers, and managing the club's supplies for soldiers. Because of her popularity among the men at the base, the 392nd named a B-24 Liberator the “Birdie Schmidt ARC” in her honor. A portrait of Birdie’s face was painted on one side of the bomber with the symbol for the Red Cross on the other. The plane flew missions from August 1944 until it was shot down in February 1945. That same year, Birdie joined the ARC Cinemobile and performed with the 7th Army Special Service Shows before returning home in November of 1945. View on Ohio Memory.
: MSS1528AV_B03F10_01 Subjects
: World War, 1939-1945--Women; American Red Cross; United States Air Force; Military aircraft; Places
: Columbus (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio); Wendling (England)