New rule bars female WWII pilots from Arlington National Cemetery

McLEAN, Va. (AP) – A rule change is keeping a group of female pilots who flew noncombat missions during World War II from having their ashes laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

The women, known as WASPs, served in a special unit called Women Airforce Service Pilots. They flew noncombat missions during the war, to free up male pilots for combat.

During the war, the women were considered civilians. But since 1977, federal law has granted them status as veterans. Since 2002, they have been eligible to have their ashes placed at Arlington.

But in March, the Secretary of the Army ruled that WASPs never should have been allowed in and revoked their eligibility.

The family of a Maryland WASP who died in April is pushing to have the eligibility restored.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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