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In the 1940s, the U.S. was faced with a shortage of pilots and the courageous new group known as WASP, became the first women to fly military aircrafts. Their jobs were not without danger. Thirty-eight female pilots died in service.
Congress just passed legislation to allow the cremated remains of Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery — the hallowed burial place typically reserved for those who worked for the U.S. armed forces.
The legislation is currently waiting for a signature from President Barack Obama.
More than 1,100 young women, who were all considered civilian volunteers during the war, flew almost every type of military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 bombers — as part of the WASP program.
They weren’t granted military status until the 1970s. And now, 65 years after their service, they will receive the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. Congress. Last July, President Obama signed a bill awarding the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal.
Discover more about these original fly girls, here >
The UK’s female pilots have been remembered in an incredible collection of images.
The pictures, taken from the Getty Images archives, show the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary who were responsible for ferrying new fighter and bomber planes to their bases, as well as flying transport aircraft and some air ambulances. Dubbed the ‘Attagirls’ by their male comrades, the 168-strong squadron was based at RAF Hamble in Hampshire and RAF Cosford in Shropshire, and were trained to fly 38 types of aircraft.
Top Gun: First Lieutenant Maureen Dunlop sits at the controls of her Spitfire fighter plane in September 1944
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