Blumenthal pushing for World War II women service pilots to be admitted at Arlington

Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, flew hundreds of missions during World War II (Photo courtesy of Gloria Heath)

(WTNH) — They are the first women in history trained to fly American military aircraft. Over a thousand Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, flew during World War II, and Connecticut’s Gloria Heath is one of them.

“If you asked any WASP how they viewed the whole program was that they were so pleased to serve, and of course to fly.”

They flew different types of training and missions all across the United States. Heath remembers the attitude towards female pilots back then.

“One oft sort of comments from Congress, well we’re not sure we want our little girls to be flying airplanes”

She flew a Martin B-26 as a tow plane, pulling a target for male fighter practice.

“People always say now, the public, oh they shot at you. Yes, but the fighter pilots had camera guns and color coated ammunition.”

Heath was the only woman pilot on the base in Pocatello, Idaho. She, along with all other WASPs, volunteered. A total of 38 women pilots died during their service.

“The parents had to pay to ship their bodies home,” Heath said.

For over a decade, the WASPs were allowed burial at Arlington National Cemetery, but not anymore. Senator Richard Blumenthal is now fighting for a reversal.

“Now the Pentagon has abrublty and arbitrally reversed itself, which i think is outrageous,” said Senator Blumenthal. “These women put themselves in harms way. They served and sacrfied. I think if they were men, there would be no question. I think they desrve the right and privelage of being buried at Arlington.”

Although modest in her role, Heath believes it would be an honor for her fellow sisters to be buried at Arlington National Cemetary.

“If they had an honorable discharge, and if the rules are that anybody who had an honorable discharge could be, there is no reason they shouldn’t be.”

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