A Gold Medal for WASPs

Both the House and Senate have now passed the legislation that would provide a single Congressional Gold Medal to the women who served in World War II as the Women Air Service Pilots, or WASP. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) sponsored the Senate bill (S. 614) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) the House version (HR 2014). In floor remarks before the House vote on June 16, Ros-Lehtinen said the measure “honors a special sisterhood of women, most of them in their 80s, who share a unique place in American history. These women have been mothers and grandmothers, teachers and office workers, nurses, business owners, photographers, and dancers. One was even a nun. But before that they were pilots for the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. They are heroines.” She noted that of the 1,102 WASPs, more than 300 are still alive. Once presented, the Gold Medal is to be displayed by the Smithsonian Institution. (Floor remarks from the June 16 Congressional Record) (For background on this famous group, read Air Force Magazine’s The WASPs)