WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) signed on to legislation that, if passed, would award the Congressional Gold Medal to surviving Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II. Twelve members of WASP currently live in Washington state. Between 1942 and 1944, young women from across the country volunteered for flight training and service. They were America’s first women to fly military aircraft, and were recruited to fly non-combat missions. When the war ended, 1074 female pilots received their pilot wings, and all told, they had flown over 60 million miles around the world.
“The women of the Women Airforce Service Pilots were not just part of the Greatest Generation, they were trailblazers who had a tremendous impact on the role of women in the military today,” said Cantwell. “By honoring these American heroines with the Congressional Gold Medal, we can finally commend and celebrate their courage, loyalty, and service to country that brought about a historic change in our armed services and our nation.”