Mr. Speaker, the great World War II was at its peak. So, on September 11, 1943, 28-year-old Sandy Thompson left her teaching job and volunteered for the Women Airforce Service Pilots, better known as the WASP. As a pilot, she towed targets for live antiaircraft practice, helped deliver planes to overseas bases, and tested new aircraft.
Of the 1,000 women who were WASPs, 38 were killed during their missions. Sixteen of these unsung heroes still live in Texas, and these pilots are part of the Greatest Generation.
WASPs were considered civilians until 1977. Then Congress granted them veteran status. In 2002, the WASPs were allowed to be cremated and have their ashes placed in Arlington National Cemetery, but now bureaucrats have decided that these veterans are not worthy of having a proper military burial and have revoked burial rights in Arlington. The reason they say is a lack of space. This is disgraceful. A lack of space is a sorry excuse to dishonor these veterans.
Mr. Speaker, the government owns 23 percent of the land mass in the United States. Find space to permanently honor these female veterans.
And that is just the way it is.