Statement from Acting Secretary of the Army requesting Congress to allow Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and Merchant Marines to be interred into the Arlington National Cemetery
Earlier today, I notified Congress requesting legislation to expand select active-duty designee funeral benefits, to include above-ground inurnment options, at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC).
The Army is supporting legislation making active-duty designees, to include Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and Merchant Marines, eligible for above-ground inurnment in ANC.
Our request recommends proposed legislation that only apply to those active-duty designees approved “as of the date of enactment of this Act,” and exclude those individuals who are already formally interred or inurned. The request is specific in order to maintain a longer-term above ground inurnment capacity for current and future Veterans. Maintaining ANC as an active military shrine and cemetery is in our national interest, and the Army will need continued Congressional support to achieve this desired result. We are also initiating the rule making process to address this; however, legislations is the most expeditious way to achieve the desired result. Active-duty designee Families are invited to submit exceptions to policy while legislation is pending. If the exception were approved, the active-duty designee would be granted above-ground inurnment at ANC. As a nation, it is important to honor the sacrifices of these active-duty designees to include WASPs who paved the way for future generations.