Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Women Pilots Who Served in WWII
March 22, 2016
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), an original cosponsor of the Women Airforce Service Pilot Arlington Inurnment Restoration Act (H.R. 4336), released the following statement after the legislation passed unanimously in the House today:
“Today we honored the more than 1,100 women who voluntarily served our nation in a time of great need during WWII. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew 60 million miles in 78 different types of aircrafts, including the B-26 and B-29 bombers, and flew missions like ferrying airplanes, training combat pilots, and towing airborne targets to free up their male counterparts for combat. These women blazed the trail for women in uniform, and it’s time we give them the honor they have earned and deserve—to lay in final rest among so many of our nation’s great heroes at Arlington Cemetery. Today’s unanimous passage of H.R. 4336 is progress, and I look forward to continuing to work to get this legislation signed in to law.”
In 1977, Congress passed legislation retroactively granting active duty status to Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) for the purposes of all laws administered by the VA, and in 2009, Congress awarded the WASPs the Congressional Gold Medal. Arlington National Cemetery approved in 2002 active duty designees, including WASP pilots, for military honors and inurnments. However, in March 2015, then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh reversed this decision. H.R. 4336, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02) earlier this year, would restore the rights of the WASPs to have their ashes inurned at Arlington National Cemetery.