WASP Bill Gains Steam

Legislation to allow Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery has gained support in both the House and Senate, as well as endorsements from several military organizations. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill to overturn a recent decision by the Secretary of the Army to rescind WASPs’ eligibility to be buried at Arlington, while Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced similar legislation in the? Senate. In addition, more than 146,000 people have signed a petition on change.org, supporting the burial of WASPs at Arlington. WASPs were the first women to be trained to fly American military aircraft. They flew noncombat missions during World War II, but were not granted veteran status until 1977. They were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010. McSally called the decision to rescind their Arlington eligibility “appalling.” WASPs “fought, and died, in service to their country … They deserve the full honors we give our war heroes, and I’ll continue to fight until they get them,” she said. The Air Force Association is one of several organizations supporting the effort. “These women pioneered the way for all women to serve in uniform and deserve the honors they earned,” AFA President Larry Spencer wrote in a letter to McSally. “We must properly memorialize the legacy of WASPs and restore what they earned during a time of crisis in our nation.”