WWII female pilots are close to regaining lost burial rights


Women who served in World War II as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) aren't allowed to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery – a 624 acre cemetery honoring more than 400,000 service members and their families (that's about the population of Minneapolis).

But Congress is fighting for the women's rights, having passed a bill that guarantees any remaining women pilots can be buried in the national cemetery, Sen. Amy Klobuchar tells ABC 6.

The senator has been a strong advocate for those rights. And she credits a Faribault woman for helping her understand why this is so important.

Betty Strohfus used to be a WASP. In fact, MPR said earlier this year she was one of the very first women pilots.

According to Sen. Klobuchar, Betty had ferried B-17 bombers across the country and taught male cadets how to fly.

But unlike her male counterparts, Betty was not given the choice to be buried in the national cemetery.

Following her service, Betty advocated for the few former pilots still alive, saying they should be "treated like the other veterans," MPR reported.

But in March, at age 96, Betty died.

Klobuchar says she hopes the bill that was passed this week will move quickly to President Barack Obama's desk so that it can be signed into law.

History of WASP rights

According to the Military Times, it took until 1977 – decades after WWII – for WASPs to even be considered veterans.

But they still weren't allowed in Arlington National Cemetery.

The women continued to fight for the same recognition as their male counterparts. And in 2002, the women were granted the option to be buried there.

That option was short-lived, though.

Just last year, the Army revoked those rights, saying WASPs didn't meet the requirements.

Next Up

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota adds 2 more qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

There will be 17 conditions that qualify people to obtain medical marijuana in Minnesota.

Matt Birk

Ex-Viking Matt Birk confirms interest in future run for governor

The next gubernatorial election in Minnesota is Nov. 8, 2022.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 10.59.59 AM

Handsome Hog in St. Paul to close temporarily

Executive chef Justin Sutherland cited inaction by state and federal leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Dept. of Education adding more gender options when collecting student data

The public can comment on the implementation of the nonbinary gender options until Dec. 13.

police tape, crime scene

Police ID couple found dead in home, murder-suicide suspected

The bodies were found in St. Louis County after the pair failed to show for work.

State Capitol

Minnesota's budget forecast improves, shows $641M surplus for 2020-21

"Higher general fund revenues and lower expected spending result in a projected surplus," MMB said.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Brooklyn Park shooting leaves 2 injured

Two victims sustained non-life threatening injuries during the Monday evening incident.

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 10.38.01 PM

Worthington settles police brutality lawsuit for $590,000, agrees to reforms

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Kelvin Francisco Rodriguez, who spent five days in the ICU after being arrested.

Michael Munoz

Rochester superintendent admits he plagiarized letter to staff

Med City Beat broke the story, prompting the superintendent to apologize.

police tape, crime scene

Man and woman, aged 55 and 62, found dead in their home

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office is investigating.