WASPs Get Long-Overdue Recognition

: President Barack Obama on July 1 signed into law S. 614, the bill that awards a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II who flew non-combat military missions to free their male counterparts for combat missions. According to the White House’s release, Obama said these female pilots “courageously answered their country’s call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since.” He added, “Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve.” Despite their service—they were the first women ever to fly American military aircraft—WASPs did not receive veteran status until 1977. Three former WASPs were in attendance during the signing ceremony: Bernice Falk Haydu, Elaine Danforth Harmon, and Lorraine H. Rodgers. The bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support as it moved its way though Congress.