On March 3, First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama presented a special U.S. flag to retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. Wilma Vaught.
Mrs. Obama want the female veterans to stand up for themselves.
“I know that so often you are trained to focus on your team and your mission, and not yourself,” Obama said. “If you’re a woman veteran, if you’ve worn this country’s uniform and served us so bravely, I ask you to stand tall and share your story.”
The military, which is dominated by men for many years and that ought to be changed. General Vaught played an important role in helping to make that change and so she was handed the special U.S.flag.
In 1948 Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act which allowed women to become full-fledged members of the military. In those days is was a revolution, said Gen.Vaught. Since then, women in the military have fought for further rights, even suing to achieve equality with men in the armed services.
Thinking of the female veterans, who still struggle for recognition, one can say that the revolution is not ended yet.
In the United States there is much going on concerning female veterans of the Second Worldwar. After nearly 70 years recognition for their war efforts is still not happened.
Sarah Byrn Rickman wrote several books about the WASPs -the women who joined the Women’s Air Service Pilots and she has written an interesting article in the New York Times in which she stand in the breach for these veterans to get them the military honour they deserve.
The WASPs were necessary as more men were sent to the frontlines. Planes had to be flown from factories to the docks to ship them to England. But also repaired aircrafts had to be tested; and nonflying personnel had to be transported. Several women who had their flying licences volunteered and soon the group grew. Over 1000 women flew all kind of aircrafts, in the beginning only small ones, but as the war lasted, they flew bigger planes.
After the war there were no decorations, neither did they get the military status. And today, after 70 years, when a female veteran dies, her family doesn’t get permission to be buried on Arlington!
Thank God, there are women like Sarah Bynr Rickman and many others, who want to restore this terrible mistake in history. All women in countries who were occupied by the Nazi’s should pay their respects to these brave women in one way or the other. We owe it to them, because they were part of the warefforts, so we all can live in peace for 70 years now.
Read the article of Sarah Byrn Rickman: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/opinion/sunday/the-female-pilots-we-betrayed.html
When Elaine Harmon died at the age of 95, she had hoped her ashes would laid to rest at Arlington. Elaine Harmon was a WASP –Women Airforce Service Pilots in the Second World War. But a new rule decided otherwise: no women are allowed at Arlington, because the cemetary is running out of space.
From the moment that the WASP- program was started in 1942, General Henry H. ‘Hap’Arnold hoped the women would get the full military status, but that never happened and today even after their death this status is still denied.
The WASP was founded in the summer of 1941 on initiative of Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran and test-pilot Nancy Harkness Love. The United Kingdom had already a program for women to become a non-combattant flyer, which was called the ATA- Air Transport Auxiliary and Jackie Cochran was determinded to start a similar program in the United States of America. When female pilots flew aircraft from factories to military bases, this would free the male pilots to fly warmissions. Many American female pilots followed Cochran to Britain and became members of the ATA.
However, the American Airforce ran out of male pilots because of the war, so there was no alternative than to draft women for a transport unit. The WASP was born with Cochran in command. Over 1.000 women joined the program from 1942 till 1944. They flew sixty million miles of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. But after the war all these women were soon to be forgotten. After decades of lobbying, the WASP finally earned veteran status, but they were not guaranteed military burial rights.
Tiffany Miller has started a petition to change this ridiculous rule. Let us never forget the warefforts of military nor civilians, men nor women!