Some time ago I wrote a story in The Mountain Eagle about a group of women I saw in the base exchange in Texas over 70 years ago. They wore uniforms I did not recognize.
I later found this little group of women answered the nation’s call to service by enlisting in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), a group of more than 1,000 female pilots who worked ferrying planes, towing targets for gunnery training and serving as flight instrument instructors for male pilots during World War II. In May 2016, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law ensuring these female aviation pioneers are properly honored in death.
“Today we have righted a terrible wrong so Women Airforce Service Pilots can once and for all be laid to rest along our nation’s patriots at Arlington National Cemetery,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski. “If they were good enough to fly for our country, risk their lives and earn the Congressional Gold Medal, they should be good enough to be laid to rest at Arlington.”
Thirty- eight WASPs died in service to their country.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California).