New law allows female WWII pilot to be inurned at Arlington

FILE - In this March 16, 2016, file photo, Terry Harmon, daughter of WWII veteran WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), Elaine Harmon, speaks to reporters after an event with members of congress on the reinstatement of WWII female pilots at Arlington National Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Washington. It took an act of Congress, but World War II pilot Elaine Harmon is finally being laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 7, 2016. Harmon died in 2015 at age 95. She was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), a group of women who flew military aircraft during World War II so that men were freed up for combat missions. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) – It took an act of Congress, but World War II pilot Elaine Harmon is finally being laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Harmon died last year at age 95. She was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), a group of women who flew military aircraft during World War II so that men were freed up for combat missions.

The women were not granted military status at the time they served, but received retroactive status as veterans in 1977. Last year, Army officials concerned about limited space at the cemetery ruled WASPs ineligible for inclusion at Arlington.

Harmon’s family fought the rule, and in May, President Barack Obama signed legislation allowing WASPs in Arlington.

On Wednesday, Harmon’s ashes will be inurned at a funeral service with military honors.

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