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Dr. Angel Pilato at WAAAM May 10

‘How being part of history turned into a memoir’

Continuing with the annual tradition, the May 10 Second Saturday events at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum will feature the American armed forces. WAAAM’s military fleet of airplanes and automobiles will be flying and driving to celebrate the day.

As a thank-you to past and current military personnel, the active duty American military admission price is complimentary for the day (with service card) and veterans of any era will receive half-priced admission.

While the central theme for the day is M*ASH and the Korean War, part of the special events will include two talks from Dr. Angel Pilato, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served during the height of the Vietnam War.

The talks will occur at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and will be about Pilato’s service and experiences of being the first woman officer to manage an officers’ club and the first to be assigned to run one on a fighter base in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

Many other themes for Pilato’s talk can be found in her recently completed memoir, “Angel’s Truck Stop: A Woman’s Love, Laughter and Loss during the Vietnam War,” which recounts her experiences while stationed at Udorn Air Base in Thailand from 1971-1972. There, testosterone-fueled fighter pilots take off on sorties over dangerous targets in North Vietnam — some came back, many do not.

Captain Pilato, a starry-eyed idealist, enters into this fog of war to manage the officers’ club. The fighter pilots christen the club “Angel’s Truck Stop,” which becomes the backdrop for the conflicts, challenges, and choices she encounters. It reveals a woman’s struggle to fit into a man’s world.

As the realities of war erode her ideals, the plans she imagined for her future evaporate.

Early reviews for Angel’s book:

“Angel’s Truck Stop is an eye-opening account of an era many Americans did not or do not understand, and that many choose to forget. Angel pulls no punches. Her stories make you laugh and cry, and you are left with a somber appreciation of what is asked of our servicemen and women.”

— Barb Randall of Lake Oswego Review, West Linn Tidings

“Angel is a very talented storyteller. Those of us at Udorn spent 90 percent of our time on the flight line, flying, or at ‘Angel’s Truck Stop.’ It was a great ‘Stop’ because Angel had a fighter pilot’s attitude and knew what made us tick. Thanks again from all of us for the memories.”

— Joe Kittinger, colonel, USAF, (ret)

There will be a question- and-answer period after Pilato’s talk. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at $24.95. They can also be purchased via her website angels-truckstop.com or at amazon.com. E-books are also available on Kindle and iPod.

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