2LtElaineHarmon.Arlington.WASPS

We have noted previously the struggles of WASPS, a thousand female pilots who joined the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, for respect and equal treatment, epitomized by the refusal of the current superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery to allow them to be buried in the nation’s holiest ground. They tested aircraft, trained thousands of male pilots – freeing up male trainers for combat duty – and flew logistics missions stateside; 38 of them died. Above is 2nd Lieutenant Elaine Harmon during her service days; she led the “Battle of Congress” for political recognition until her death in 2013. WASPS had been buried at Arlington previously, but the new superintendent reversed that policy, saying Arlington is running out of space and that the WASPS were never “real” military anyway – though they were granted full military status retroactively in 1977. Today the argument continues over Harmon’s ashes, and we’re left wondering what will happen to that superintendent if the next commander-in-chief is a woman.

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