The House of Representatives has unanimously passed H.R. 4336, AOPA-supported legislation that would once again allow Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) to have their ashes placed in Arlington National Cemetery, restoring a privilege that was revoked in 2015. Similar legislation is still pending in the Senate.
“These women served critical roles during World War II, testing newly built aircraft, towing aerial targets, and ferrying aircraft,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Very few of these brave women are still with us; we hope the Senate will act quickly to pass its own legislation and restore their right to inurnment in Arlington.”
The Senate bill, S. 2437, has been referred to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee but has not yet come to a vote.
Between 1939 and 1944, the WASP program accepted 1,900 women who flew a wide range of missions for the military in order to free male pilots for combat during World War II. Those missions included testing newly built aircraft, towing gunnery targets, and transporting cargo.
But the WASP were not awarded full military status until 1977. In 2002, they were approved for inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery, but the Secretary of the Army reversed that decision in 2015.