Female World War II aviators honored at Nation's Capitol - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Female World War II aviators honored at Nation's Capitol

















(Former WASP Deanie Parrish, flanked by Congressman John
Boehner (
R-Ohio) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, receives a
Congressional Gold Medal)


WASHINGTON. - The first women to fly U.S. military planes had a moment in the sun Wednesday, long after they served their country.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II received Congressional Gold Medals at the Capitol Wednesday.

About 1,100 civilian female pilots were recruited by the Air Force in 1942 because of a shortage of pilots.

The WASPs performed domestic duties such as testing newly-developed aircraft and flying military planes across the country.

Fewer than 300 wasps are alive to receive the commendation and experience the historic event in U.S. Women's history.

While they all received medals, former WASP Deanie Parrish spoke on their behalf.

"All we ever asked for is that our overlooked history would some day no longer be a missing chapter in the history of World War Two, in the history of the Air Force, in the history of aviation, and most especially in the history of America," said Parrish.

Thirty-eight of them were killed in service. But they were long considered civilians, not members of the military, until 1977 when they were afforded veteran status.

The medal is the highest award Congress gives to honor civilians for achievements and contributions to society.

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