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WASP Disbanded

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Exhibit in the WWII Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Exhibit in the WWII Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- On July 1, 2009, President Barack Obama authorized Public Law 111-40 awarding the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest civilian recognition that Congress can bestow-to the Women Airforce Service Pilots(WASP). The 111th Congress awarded the medal "In recognition of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces of the United States of America." The medals on display are bronze replicas made by the U.S. Mint. They were presented to WASP veterans Marie Barrett Marsh and Genevieve Landman Rausch in 2010, and donated to the Museum on their behalf in 2015. The original WASP gold medal is kept by the Smithsonian Institution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

WASPs had the privileges of officers, but they were never formally adopted into the USAAF even though they were led to believe this would happen. They remained civil service employees without injury or death benefits. In 1944 bills in Congress to militarize the WASPs met with strong opposition from some individuals, including famed columnist Drew Pearson, and failed like other attempts. Due to political pressures and the increasing availability of male pilots, the WASPs were disbanded effective on Dec. 20, 1944, with no benefits. The exploits of these dedicated women were largely ignored by the U.S. government for more than 30 years. However, in November 1977 President Carter signed a bill granting World War II veterans' status for former WASPs.

Click here to return to the Women Pilots in WWII Overview.

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