Pioneering women pilots of WWII get a belated honor





They were mavericks of their day, taking to the skies when the nation was at war and most women were at home caring for families. At a ceremony this spring, 11 Washington women will join the 200-some surviving Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in receiving Congressional Gold Medals for service during World War II.

Sixteen more medals will be given to local WASPs posthumously.

Congressional Gold Medals have been awarded nearly 150 times since the nation was born in 1776. The women join polio-vaccine inventor Dr. Jonas Salk and poet Robert Frost, as well as two other World War II groups honored since 2000: the Navajo Marine Corps Radio Operators, known as the "Code Talkers," who developed a code using their Native language to communicate military messages, and the Tuskegee Airmen.

Congress and President Obama approved the honor for the WASPs last year....


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