May 15, 2016
Women Airforce Service Pilots, commonly known as WASPs, flew noncombat missions to free up male pilots for combat during WWII. During the war, the women were considered civilians; however, since 1977, federal law has granted them status as veterans. They have been eligible since 2002 to have their cremated remains placed in Arlington National Cemetery with military honors. Last year, the Army ruled that WASPs never should have been allowed in Arlington and revoked their eligibility. Last week, both the House and Senate passed legislation reversing the Army’s decision; the bill has gone to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
Update (September 2016): Female WWII Pilot Has Finally Been Laid to Rest at Arlington
After flying military planes during World War II, raising a family, visiting all seven continents and bungee-jumping in New Zealand at 83, Elaine Harmon had one final, seemingly simple wish: to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Harmon got her wish Wednesday, at a funeral with military honors and a flyover, but it took a lobbying campaign by her family and an act of Congress. Read the full story on the ABC News website.
Learn more about WASPs:
Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls (NPR)