Female WWII Pilots Fight to Be Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Female pilots who served during World War II were fighting to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a right that was revoked by the U.S. Army last year.

When the U.S. was experiencing a shortage of pilots during WWII, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, were civilian women trained to fly military aircraft to release male pilots for combat duty overseas.

Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego) and several WASPs attended a news conference Sunday at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad to honor the pilots and to push for the WASP Arlington Inurnment Restoration, legislation that was introduced by Davis and congresswoman Martha McSally (R-Arizona) to overturn the decision.

"It was their living wish, and they expressed that wish, and so if they were here, they would be devastated to know that it wasn't going to be honored," said WASP Bernice "Bee" Falk Haydu.

In 2002, Arlington approved active duty designees, including WASP pilots, for military honors and inurnments, but in March 2015, then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh reversed this decision.

The issue was brought to light after the family of Elaine Harmon, a former WASP who died in April 2015, sought military honors for her from Arlington but were denied by the Army.

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