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Senate says female WWII pilots’ ashes may be placed at Arlington Cemetery

WASHINGTON — The Senate has passed legislation to allow female World War II pilots known as WASPs to continue placing their ashes at Arlington National Cemetery.

By voice vote Tuesday, senators approved the bill, which has won support from Republicans and Democrats.

The WASPs served in a unit called Women Airforce Service Pilots. They flew noncombat missions to free up male pilots for combat.

During the war, the women were considered civilians. But since 1977, federal law has granted them status as veterans. They had been eligible since 2002 to have their ashes placed at Arlington with military honors. But the Army ruled last year the WASPs never should have been allowed in and revoked their eligibility.

The legislation reverses that decision.

The bill now heads to the House for final consideration.