WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today applauded passage of U.S. Representative Martha McSally’s (R-AZ) legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to reinstate the Women Airforce Service Pilots’ (WASPs) right to have their ashes placed at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.
“The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II were trailblazers and forged the way for women serving in today’s military forces. These women served our nation with great honor – and put their lives on the line. If the Pentagon won’t act to restore the WASP’s right to have their ashes placed at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors, we will. I’m thrilled that the House passed this legislation, and moved us one step closer toward achieving that goal. It is my hope that the Senate will act quickly, followed by the president, so we can restore this right,” said Senator Ernst.
Click here to read the statement from Representative McSally.
In January, Senator Ernst helped introduce bipartisan legislation with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to restore the inurnment rights. A recent policy change made by the Army now prevents WASPs, who flew domestic military missions during World War II, from being inurned at Arlington.
Last week, Senator Ernst led a bipartisan, bicameral press conference with Representative McSally to call on the Army to reinstate the WASPs at Arlington. As the Iowa Senator noted, “Iowa was at one time or another, home to at least 25 courageous WASPs.”
Following the press conference, Senator Ernst pressed Defense Secretary Ash Carter on this issue, noting “…it is a travesty that these women, who are pioneers in military aviation, had the honor of having their ashes inurned at Arlington National Cemetery revoked last year, during the same year that historically you opened up positions that had been previously closed in combat to women.”