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Women Airforce Service Pilots "WASP's" and Arlington National Cemetary


Velos

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"not even all World War II veterans are eligible for burial there" That to me says a lot, and I'd like a clearer explanation. If any honorably discharged combat veteran of WWII is not eligible, I can see the logic behind this decision.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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"not even all World War II veterans are eligible for burial there" That to me says a lot, and I'd like a clearer explanation. If any honorably discharged combat veteran of WWII is not eligible, I can see the logic behind this decision.

 

There is a distinction between in-ground burial and placement of ashes at Arlington:

 

"Eligibility for in-ground burial at Arlington, which has severe space limitations, is extremely tight, and not even all World War II veterans are eligible for burial there. But eligibility for placement of ashes, or internment, is not quite as strict. Arlington's rules state that "any former member of the Armed Forces who served on active duty (other than for training) and whose last service terminated honorably" is eligible to have their ashes placed at Arlington."

 

The legislation proposed for the WASP's is for ashes:

"An Arizona congresswoman filed legislation Wednesday to ensure that a group of female World War II pilots can have their ashes laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery."

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"any former member of the Armed Forces who served on active duty (other than for training) and whose last service terminated honorably" is eligible to have their ashes placed at Arlington."

 

It may not be a very PC or popular opinion, and I have the utmost admiration and respect for WASP's (and the WFTD's and WAFS's that came before them), but by the above definition alone, I agree with the Secretary of the Army's decision. They were granted honorary veteran status and awarded the Congressional gold medal, but did not in fact serve in the armed forces on active duty (the same as the merchant marines who are also not eligible for burial/placement), were not honorably discharged, did not receive any type of combat training or serve in an active military role. No lives were ever lost to any enemy action nor did they ever serve in any theater of war.

 

That certainly doesn't diminish their contribution and the honorary status and congressional recognition is well deserved. However... I do believe that Arlington should be reserved as hallowed ground for those that faced our enemies. Above all others.. those men and women deserve that singular distinction, respect, and honor.

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Yarome, Thank you for posting, I think it is important to hear ALL opinions and not just the "popular" ones so that we can be well informed.

 

 

I believe the WASP's were granted "Full Military Status" and opposed to "Honorary Veteran Status" in 1977*** which may make a difference?

 

I found these two articles on the timeline of the process to be recognized for their service and learned a lot of history.

 

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/flygirls/peopleevents/pandeAMEX08.html

 

 

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/01/01/women-wwii-pilots-barred-from-arlington-national-cemetery.html

 

 

***GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977, granting WASP corps full military status for their service.

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It was not WW2 but WW1 and I had an uncle on the USS Cyclops. I don't know how we have room for everyone that deserves it but if there is a good solution I am all for it. I just hope we can someday account for everyone. That seems the most important to me.

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UPDATE January 12, 2016:
Click here for complete article
Legislation Introduced in Congress to Provide WASP Access to Arlington National Cemetery!

 

"Representative Martha McSally of Arizona, along with Representative Susan Davis of California, has introduced legislation into the House (https://mcsally.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/us-rep-mcsally-introduces-bill-restore-inurnment-rights-wasps-arlington) and Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa have introduced legislation into the Senate (http://www.mikulski.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/mikulski-ernst-introduce-bipartisan-legislation-to-reinstate-inurnment-rights-for-women-airforce-service-pilots-at-arlington-national-cemetery) to secure internment rights for the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in Arlington National Cemetery!"

 

 

There are a lot of issues in this world that need attention . Our daily news bombards us with many topics that concern us; but are outside our circle of influence. The secret is to know what is important to you, know it well, take action and stick to it. Apathy is abundant and patience is not easy but with perseverance anything can be accomplished. Not everyone is a leader but finding a cause you value and contributing where you can ie: signing a petition and sending an e-mail to our representatives takes a small amount of our time and may go a long ways to help achieve the goal. I commend this family for taking action and not giving up. This building block may be the key in helping many others?

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I wonder how many Wasp there were and how many are still living. Most will likely want to be interred with their significant other or family so I would guess the number that will be actually interred at Arlington will be small.

1,074 served according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_Airforce_Service_Pilots

1,078 served according to http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us/wasp/

Fewer than 300 were alive when Mr. Obama presented them with a Congressional Gold Medal http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/america-tonight-blog/2013/11/11/by-the-numbers-femaleworldwariipilots.html

Irene Kinne Englund was the first WASP buried in Arlington National Cemetery 14 June 2002. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ikenglund.htm

There is a precedent, WASPS may be buried in a National Cemetery.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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