I first heard about this event a few years ago; I liked the idea of having a World War 2 immersive event that does focus on something that actually happened in Los Angeles. Swing and big band music draw in 1940s and history aficionados to San Pedro’s Fort MacArthur. Right off the 110 freeway and down Gaffey Street lies the fort-turned-museum. This is the biggest hit for the historical site. This is my second time attending The Great Los Angeles Air Raid.
Last year, I represented the WASP’s. This year, I represented the WAVES in an outfit I made myself. This outfit was made over the course of a few months. For the longest time, I was looking for a WAVES uniform that would actually fit my curvy body. Seeing that vintage sizes didn’t cater to these dangerous curves, I decided to make my own. I took a retro reproduction of a Simplicity pattern and collected as many reference photos to get all the little details. This took me a few months to complete.
I also bought a few odds and ends from the World War II Store in Torrance. The garrison cap is the most expensive item. I collected the buttons and the insignia from the same store as well.
I’m wearing a wig from Epic Cosplay. My hair is naturally long and because this event gets cold, having a wig keeps my head warm. The wig is a Diana from Epic Cosplay – it’s perfect for a basic 1940s look.
I decided to represent the WAVES because I’m a nerd for World War II maritime history. Also, after having a few negative experiences regarding my Filipinx American (read: non-white) background at these events. It was important to me to represent the Filipinx Americans who served. My uncle is buried not too far from Fort MacArthur and he served his country during both World War II and Korea.
The make up is from Besame Cosmetics. I’m using a Victory Red with the eyeshadow palette from the Agent Carter collection. For the cheeks, I used the apricot cream rouge.
Upon entering Fort MacArthur, you are given a safety spiel by one of the on duty gents. This spiel is given to the fort’s guests and a kind reminder to have a good time, though the fort is “active.” As you enter, you are totally immersed into the 1940s. Military vehicles, classic cars, campsites, searchlights, etc. Everyone is dressed the part! Volunteers are in period authentic uniform. Guests are either in uniform or are wearing 1940s glamour.
What I loved about this event is that it’s very immersive. You get announcements in between dancing. You get updates about strange lights found in the South Bay.
The air raid itself is pretty intense. I got a pretty good view of the Sherman firing off from the hill. Thankfully, in real life, there were no casualties. If you’re curious read more about this uncanny event, you can read more about it here.
The music was performed by the Fort MacArthur Officers Orchestra. We had live music which was nice. This was my second time attending and I finally went on the dance floor! I met someone who knew me from Instagram. He asked me to dance (which was really sweet!) The highlight of the night was a 10 year old kid in a sailor’s outfit who asked me to dance. He saw me doing the Carlton on the sidelines. He said, “You look like you’re having too much fun to not be on the floor. Do you want to dance?” Gents…if a 10 year old sailor can ask a girl out, so you can you!
I do enjoy hearing classic 1940s standards live. I used to be trained in singing standards, but that was another life…or for karaoke night.
This is the one World War 2 event that I attend. I really want to attend more as an excuse to wear my WAVES uniform more often. I do admit that I do get socially shy and awkward when I don’t know many people at the event and my imposter syndrome kicks in. I did like seeing and talking to everyone I met at the Great Los Angeles Air Raid. I loved everyone’s outfits and effort put into military uniforms. If I were to make a uniform, I’d probably make an Army Nurse Corps uniform.
I met many of my Instagram followers and friends at this event. If you do see me at event, do say “hi.” I love meeting you all! I look forward to discovering more of these events out west. I do appreciate all the compliments I got on my WAVES uniform. Many thanks to Fort MacArthur for hosting the show, everyone who asked me out to dance, and all of my lovely friends in time.