Obama signs bill to allow female pilots' ashes at Arlington

21 May 2016

President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that will again allow the ashes of female World War II pilots known as WASPs to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery.

The women served in a unit called Women Airforce Service Pilots. They flew noncombat missions to free male pilots for combat.

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They were considered civilians during the war, but federal law since 1977 granted them veteran status. They had been eligible since 2002 to have their ashes placed at Arlington with military honors.

But in March 2015, then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh revoked the WASPs' eligibility to have their ashes placed at the cemetery.

The bill Obama signed Friday reverses McHugh's decision.

The WASP program ran from 1942 to 1944. Just over 1,000 women served in the unit.

21 May 2016

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