WASPs not being allowed burial at Arlington

posted at 2:01 pm on January 3, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Another one of those “clean out the basket” stories from while I was away comes to us from the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery. There was a quiet change made to the guidelines for interment there roughly one year ago which impacts a small but rightfully vocal group of citizens and their families. It involves the few remaining members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (or WASPs) from World War II. It seems that the Army is no longer accepting the remains of the female pilots for burial alongside the Honored Dead who rest there. (Fox News)

The ashes of World War II veteran Elaine Harmon are sitting in a closet in her daughter’s home, where they will remain until they can go to what her family says is her rightful resting place: Arlington National Cemetery.

Harmon piloted aircraft in World War II under a special program, Women Airforce Service Pilots, that flew noncombat missions to free up male pilots for combat. Granted veteran status in 1977, the WASPs have been eligible to have their ashes placed at Arlington with military honors since 2002.

But earlier this year, then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh reversed course and ruled WASPs ineligible.

After Harmon died in April at age 95, her daughter, Terry Harmon, 69, of Silver Spring, Maryland, was dismayed to learn that the Army had moved to exclude WASPs. She said her mother had helped lead the effort to gain recognition for WASPs.

I’m not sure what McHugh was thinking when he made this move, or more to the point, how he explained it at the time. I suppose there could technically be an argument to make saying that the WASPs weren’t officially part of the military and didn’t fly combat missions so they should somehow be classified differently, but it’s a weak and rather offensive one. True, they were defined as a “paramilitary” unit and they were specifically assigned non-combat missions to free up the men to fly in combat. But as has been documented repeatedly, they were granted veteran status nearly forty years ago and clearly aided the war effort in a direct fashion which involved flying military aircraft.

I rather doubt that McHugh was doing this because he’s secretly part of the He Man Woman Hater’s club, though the decision casts him in a very bad light. More likely, he was examining the quickly diminishing available space for burials at Arlington and making a ham handed attempt at finding ways to make the land stretch further. That excuse probably shouldn’t be given too much weight, though, since there are barely 100 WASPs left alive today.

The land issue at Arlington isn’t going to go away no matter how this fracas is resolved. Some relief was achieved last year when space for more than 50,000 additional urns of ashes was added and 27 acres to the north of the current fields was opened up. That new real estate will allow for 30,000 additional graves, which is a great start, but we are still burying an average of 7,000 veterans per year there so it’s far from a permanent solution. Also, just getting those 27 acres was a battle because people were fighting against having some of the old growth trees in the area taken down.

Arlington is an actual problem in search of a solution and I believe one can and must be found. It’s going to take a combination of willingness and sacrifice on the part of both the government and private citizens, but a path can surely be carved outward to extend the grounds of Arlington… not through government fiat, but the good will of a nation willing to offer up the proper honors to our heroes. If we can’t solve this one then the nation may be culturally past the point of no return.

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Comments

As a White Anglo Saxon Person, I take deep offense at this headline.

Hucklebuck on January 3, 2016 at 2:04 PM

hundreds of thousands of brave men sailed in the merchant marine to supply Europe with the material to fight the war. Thousands upon thousands died when their ships were sunk by u-boats. None of them get to be buried at Arlington either.

But we are going to make an exception for the women ferry pilots?
.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:08 PM

the nation may be is culturally past the point of no return.

Schadenfreude on January 3, 2016 at 2:08 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on January 3, 2016 at 2:09 PM

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on January 3, 2016 at 2:09 PM

You could try reading the post.

gh on January 3, 2016 at 2:11 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on January 3, 2016 at 2:09 PM

Read for comprehension first, jackass.

Jeff Weimer on January 3, 2016 at 2:12 PM

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Do the salvage work and they can be accepted.

gh on January 3, 2016 at 2:12 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on January 3, 2016 at 2:09 PM

You actually thought that people of a certain race were being kept out of Arlington and you were OKAY with that?

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:13 PM

C’mon Hot Air, quit with the deceitful headlines.

williampeck1958 on January 3, 2016 at 2:13 PM

Do the salvage work and they can be accepted.

gh on January 3, 2016 at 2:12 PM

They are not eligible. This is just a PC story because of the women angle. If the ferry pilots were men, nobody would care.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:14 PM

Jazz,

I think you are mushing some things together. IIRC, the only folks eligible for burials at Arlington are retirees and active duty dead. The WASP is neither. Others, like me, a combat vet, but not retiree can have ashes placed above ground columbaria

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:15 PM

They are not eligible. [snip]
HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:14 PM

They are underwater. Yes, I get the rest.

gh on January 3, 2016 at 2:17 PM

The troll has an empty life. Sad.

CWforFreedom on January 3, 2016 at 2:17 PM

I’m not touchin’ this…

listens2glenn on January 3, 2016 at 2:17 PM

They are underwater. Yes, I get the rest.

gh on January 3, 2016 at 2:17 PM

Thousands were pulled out of the water drowned. Like the navy sailors. Sailors are eligible, merchant marine is not. Not saying that is right, but they suffered much more than any ferry pilot and nobody goes to bat for them.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Jazz,

I think you are mushing some things together. IIRC, the only folks eligible for burials at Arlington are retirees and active duty dead. The WASP is neither. Others, like me, a combat vet, but not retiree can have ashes placed above ground columbaria

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:15 PM

The WASPs’ status in this regard is currently unclear. They were granted veteran status decades ago which to my mind would make them “retirees” as fits the appropriate definition. John McHugh’s ruling unilaterally undid that change, and only did so because Arlington is running out of space.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 2:19 PM

I’m pretty sure if would have asked most of these people when they were alive if they wanted to be buried in Arlington or their local cemetery, none of them would have really cared one way or another. Hard as it is to hear, most of this isn’t about honoring those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, it’s about family bragging rights.

lowandslow on January 3, 2016 at 2:27 PM

Hillary will use this topic to issue a tweet, and Arlington will suddenly find space for them.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:27 PM

Thousands were pulled out of the water drowned. [snip]
HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Ok.

gh on January 3, 2016 at 2:31 PM

I think you are mushing some things together. IIRC, the only folks eligible for burials at Arlington are retirees and active duty dead. The WASP is neither. Others, like me, a combat vet, but not retiree can have ashes placed above ground columbaria

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Mostly, yes. Also any MOH recipient, congresscritters, Former Cabinet Secretary’s. There’s a bunch of exceptions.

bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 2:32 PM

If they’re running out of space at Arlington, they may need to restrict the criteria for future burials further. Those who are excluded from future burials should be grateful that they have lived long enough to see the criteria change.

J.S.K. on January 3, 2016 at 2:41 PM

and only did so because Arlington is running out of space.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Just how bad is it? Well, a friend of mine discovered that she had inherited 3 plots at Arlington. She sold them back to Arlington… for $20,000.00 per plot. These were not casket plots, they were Urn plots. John McHugh’s ruling actually make a lot of sense in this light.

oscarwilde on January 3, 2016 at 2:42 PM

Jazz,

I think you are mushing some things together. IIRC, the only folks eligible for burials at Arlington are retirees and active duty dead. The WASP is neither. Others, like me, a combat vet, but not retiree can have ashes placed above ground columbaria

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:15 PM
The WASPs’ status in this regard is currently unclear. They were granted veteran status decades ago which to my mind would make them “retirees” as fits the appropriate definition. John McHugh’s ruling unilaterally undid that change, and only did so because Arlington is running out of space.

gryphon202

Veterans (or not all veterans) are not retirees, as I made clear in my case.

@bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 2:32 PM

Yeah, agree, I was keeping it simple. SS and DSC’s get in as well, etc, but not a random (WASP) short service, non-combat vet.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Just how bad is it? Well, a friend of mine discovered that she had inherited 3 plots at Arlington. She sold them back to Arlington… for $20,000.00 per plot. These were not casket plots, they were Urn plots. John McHugh’s ruling actually make a lot of sense in this light.

oscarwilde on January 3, 2016 at 2:42 PM

Sorry, I don’t believe this

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

No solution will extend Arlington indefinitely. Why not start a second national cemetery somewhere else? It wouldn’t have the immediate cachet of Arlington, but it would solve the problem.

Rosmerta on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Thousands were pulled out of the water drowned. Like the navy sailors. Sailors are eligible, merchant marine is not. Not saying that is right, but they suffered much more than any ferry pilot and nobody goes to bat for them.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Good point about the Merchant Marine. Here’s an honor they get, but it’s not nearly enough:

http://www.marad.dot.gov/newsroom/news_release/2011/national-maritime-day-honors-sacrifices-of-merchant-mariners-in-war-and-peace/

But there’s no need to dis the WASPs, who served honorably and lost several members in service. I remember back when the Confederate Air Force (now the Commemorative Air Force) was an all-men’s org, many of whom were WW2 vets. They were one of the prime backers of the effort to get veterans benefits for the WASPs.

It seems from comments above that the requirements to merit burial at Arlington disqualify both the Merchant Marine and the WASPs.

juliesa on January 3, 2016 at 2:46 PM

Sorry, I don’t believe this

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Everything oscarwilde posts is 100% truth. You’d know that if you’ve read his stuff for a while.

Btw, would you like to buy a tunnel connecting Siberia to Alaska? I have one I need to sell quick.

DarkCurrent on January 3, 2016 at 2:50 PM

oscarwilde on January 3, 2016 at 2:42 PM

Sorry, I don’t believe this

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Personally, I could care less if you believe me, I know the woman, and saw the check.

oscarwilde on January 3, 2016 at 2:53 PM

It’s going to take a combination of willingness and sacrifice on the part of both the government and private citizens, but the good will of a nation willing to offer up the proper honors to our heroes. If we can’t solve this one then the nation may be culturally past the point of no return.

…Jazz our govt works for US…or at least it used to…no collaboration should be necessary…

…we have a POTUS who willingly prohibits our Heroes from visiting their own monuments and an entire Federal agency dedicated to caring for our Heroes that refuses to do it’s job…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 3, 2016 at 2:53 PM

No solution will extend Arlington indefinitely. Why not start a second national cemetery somewhere else? It wouldn’t have the immediate cachet of Arlington, but it would solve the problem.

Rosmerta on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

National Cemeteries

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 133 national cemeteries in 40 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites. Please note that there is not a VA national cemetery in every state.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch

Clearly, reading an article and comprehending its’ content is not your strong suit, junior.

Gothguy on January 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

hundreds of thousands of brave men sailed in the merchant marine to supply Europe with the material to fight the war. Thousands upon thousands died when their ships were sunk by u-boats. None of them get to be buried at Arlington either.

But we are going to make an exception for the women ferry pilots?
.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Actually they are, or at least eligible.

From the Arlington National Website:

Eligibility

Persons Eligible for Burial in a National Cemetery

e. World War II Merchant Mariners

(1) United States Merchant Mariners with oceangoing service during the period of armed conflict, December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946. Prior to the enactment of Public Law 105-368, United States Merchant Mariners with oceangoing service during the period of armed conflict of December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945, were eligible. With enactment of Public Law 105-368, the service period is extended to December 31, 1946, for those dying on or after November 11, 1998. A DD-214 documenting this service may be obtained by submitting an application to Commandant (G-MVP-6), United States Coast Guard, 2100 2nd Street, SW, Washington, DC 20593. Notwithstanding, the Mariner’s death must have occurred on or after the enactment of Public Law 105-368.

(2) United States Merchant Mariners who served on blockships in support of Operation Mulberry during World War II.

I understand your thoughts. MY dad was a merchant marine, made three hitches, one for 2 years in the Pacific, was injured twice, once off the Outer Banks by a sub, and nearly died off of Oran from shrapnel by a German bomber. He’s still alive and I’ve asked him, but he wants to be buried in the red clay of his birth.

itsspideyman on January 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Others, like me, a combat vet, but not retiree can have ashes placed above ground columbaria

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:15 PM

peacetime disabled vet (both knees at age of 20 while overseas) not eligible.
wasps however were in service during declared (formally) war, should be eligible.

dmacleo on January 3, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Why not start a second national cemetery somewhere else?

Rosmerta on January 3, 2016 at 2:45 PM

From Wiki:
“United States national cemetery” is a designation for 147 nationally important cemeteries in the United States. A national cemetery is generally a military cemetery containing the graves of U.S. military personnel, veterans and their spouses, but not exclusively so. There are also state veteran cemeteries.”
…including the one here in Dallas, TX where I plan to be planted.

In addition there are a number of cemeteries outside the U.S. mostly for those who died during WWI and WWII.

Arlington is just the best known military cemetery.

it’s about family bragging rights.

lowandslow

Many families don’t want their loved ones interred at Arlington simply because it harder to “visit” a grave in Arlington when your family’s in Oregon.

There are many options and locations available.

Personally, I’m more upset that the USAF has cancelled 21 gun salutes at retiree funerals to save money.

E9RET on January 3, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Personally, I could care less if you believe me, I know the woman, and saw the check.

oscarwilde on January 3, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Oscar, no individual owns any plots or slots at any national cemetery. They are the property of the United States. If you saw a check, it wasn’t payment for plots. Take it from a retiree who has spent far too much time at Arlington in recent years, this woman is FOS.

Longhorn Six on January 3, 2016 at 3:05 PM

I could think of several Cabinet Level agency buildings that could be scrapped and used to annex more space.

bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Personally, I’m more upset that the USAF has cancelled 21 gun salutes at retiree funerals to save money.

E9RET on January 3, 2016 at 3:05 PM

That’s just sad. What a shame.

bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

I served a little over ten years before being medically discharged, and hence I am not eligible for burial in Arlington, and it bothers me not in the least.

Here’s my take on the subject at hand. Allow only those veterans and active military who received the Purple Heart for wounds received in action, or killed in action, MOH recipients, or those who died while serving be allowed to be buried there.

The only politicians that should be allowed to be buried there is the President, and those politicians that are veterans and received the Purple Heart.

These are my thoughts.

Gothguy on January 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

I had heard there was an effort to make Arlington more for medalled veterans, something like Bronze Star or higher, or a purple heart/killed in combat, to help stretch it out.

OregonPolitician on January 3, 2016 at 3:11 PM

The only real solution for Arlington, is to determine a date certain in the future when all burial there will cease, and then stick with it. The idea of perpetually expanding Arlington is impractical.

paulsur on January 3, 2016 at 3:13 PM

The only politicians that should be allowed to be buried there is the President, and those politicians that are veterans and received the Purple Heart.

These are my thoughts.

Gothguy on January 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

I agree with you about the politicians. Could you imagine the likes of Debbie Was-a-man Schultz being buried there?

bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 3:14 PM

I personally think a small memorial listing all of the names, and adding to the list as needed, is much more moving than an ever-growing cemetery with homogeneous burial markers.

In fact, I may be in the minority on this issue, but I view cemeteries as a gigantic waste of space and plan to personally be cremated. I don’t know how anyone can expect to be maintained in perpetuity in a plot of land after death, and since it is only a matter of time before your burial plot is ‘recycled’ for the purpose of the living at whatever time that may be (whether decades, centuries, or whenever), why not just utilize cremation and avoid the eventual possible mishandling of whatever remains of your physical self?

I suppose having grown up outside of NYC and spending years driving past cemeteries the size of small villages, locking up land surrounded by millions of people where space was at a premium, I found myself wondering whether there wasn’t a better way. Cremation is it for me at least.

xNavigator on January 3, 2016 at 3:19 PM

I suppose having grown up outside of NYC and spending years driving past cemeteries the size of small villages, locking up land surrounded by millions of people where space was at a premium, I found myself wondering whether there wasn’t a better way. Cremation is it for me at least.

xNavigator on January 3, 2016 at 3:19 PM

Well, I’d bet if both your parents were buried in ANC you’d feel differently. But then hey, I’m not you..

bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 3:22 PM

The WASPs were previously allowed, so it’s not at all a cut and dried issue. As to other comments here, I would not at all object to the start of a new holy ground for the Honored Dead at a new site. It’s worth considering.

Jazz Shaw on January 3, 2016 at 3:30 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on January 3, 2016 at 2:09 PM

Your stupidity is beyond belief.

bw222 on January 3, 2016 at 3:40 PM

Ok Folks don’t get your panties in a wad.
Veteran Status granted in 1977 DID NOT make the WASPs eligible for burial at Arlinton.
The rules are very straight forward.
Retirees who are receiving retired pay at the time of death are qualified.

WASPs no matter how brave if not retirees are not qualified unless they received battle related awards like the silver star.

You can look on the Arlington website and it very plainly lays out the requirements.

Quit whining because you don’t get the bragging rights you want. Bury the poor woman’s ashes in the MD Veteran’s cemetery with the
honors she deserves.

APO_AE_09173 on January 3, 2016 at 3:42 PM

Don’t care after Taps is played.
As a constituent of McHugh’s district I am very surprised he has been under the radar all this time.

gbear on January 3, 2016 at 3:43 PM

Veterans (or not all veterans) are not retirees, as I made clear in my case.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 2:43 PM

And I made clear that the WASP situation is currently unclear. McHugh unilaterally undid a decision that was already done to allow the WASPs burial at Arlington, and did so for lack of space. This particular fact is not in dispute. What is in dispute is what should happen going forward. I am of the opinion that WASPs should be allowed the honor of an Arlington burial if for no other reason than that the decision was already made decades ago. YMMV.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Dig up the bloated whale carcass of Captain Oldsmobile, the Hero of Chappaquiddick and bury the WASPS in his place…

glcinpdx on January 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

@gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Two different issues.

1. basic eligibility. I am Active Army Vet. Somebody might be a former WASP. Both are potentially eligible IF and ONLY IF other conditions are met.

2. In my case, I have a Bronze Star, but not a Silver Star. Not eligible.
I did not die on active duty, I am not retired. not eligible

3. If a WASP died on active duty, bury her. If she went on to serve till medical or standard retirement, bury her.

However, no way a woman who flew planes around the country, in uniform for a year, should get buried in Arlington. automatically…

BOTH of us are eligible for the placement of Urn Ashes.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Well, I’d bet if both your parents were buried in ANC you’d feel differently. But then hey, I’m not you..

bernzright777 on January 3, 2016 at 3:22 PM

I have many family members who have served honorably in multiple wars. They did not desire nor require perpetual honor in a military cemetery in order to have their sacrifices honored and remembered.

In fact, some of the most moving locations for remembering those who have served are not cemeteries but simple memorials, and among the most significant things we can do to remember those who have served is to actually honor our commitments to them in this life (through a functioning VA, etc.), not through maintaining their corpse in death into perpetuity.

xNavigator on January 3, 2016 at 4:11 PM

However, no way a woman who flew planes around the country, in uniform for a year, should get buried in Arlington. automatically…

BOTH of us are eligible for the placement of Urn Ashes.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 4:09 PM

No woman who flew planes around the country in uniform for a year has ever been buried in Arlington “automtically.” They were buried there on the authority of an act of congress, which McHugh has unilaterally overturned. If you think it’s good and appropriate that he did that, then you and I have a difference of opinion and that’s okay. I simply feel that ship already sailed (no pun intended) and it was a shitty thing for McHugh to turn around and do now.

I have many family members who have served honorably in multiple wars. They did not desire nor require perpetual honor in a military cemetery in order to have their sacrifices honored and remembered.

In fact, some of the most moving locations for remembering those who have served are not cemeteries but simple memorials, and among the most significant things we can do to remember those who have served is to actually honor our commitments to them in this life (through a functioning VA, etc.), not through maintaining their corpse in death into perpetuity.

xNavigator on January 3, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII and were interred with full military honors including 21-gun salute, honor guard, and a passing of the flag. I can not stress enough, the thought of WASPs not being eligible for burial at Arlington doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that a Secretary of the Army overturned a deacdes-old act of congress to reverse that eligibility. Politicians gonna politic.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 4:18 PM

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 4:18 PM

What I meant to say is, my grandfathers were buried with full military honors in local cemeteries, one held privately and the other a church cemetery.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 4:22 PM

Gryphon,

here is a clearer story. What they have lost is the ashes urn part. apparently they never had ‘burial’ rights.

The hair splitting is whether the Law applied to VA National Cemeteries AND Army Arlington, or just VA locations

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/female-wwii-pilots-barred-from-arlington-national-cemetery/

I would have not denied them access to urn placement.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Oscar, no individual owns any plots or slots at any national cemetery. They are the property of the United States. If you saw a check, it wasn’t payment for plots. Take it from a retiree who has spent far too much time at Arlington in recent years, this woman is FOS.

Longhorn Six on January 3, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Are you suggesting oscarwilde is full of shit?

Damn.

DarkCurrent on January 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

I would have not denied them access to urn placement.

the drill sgt on January 3, 2016 at 4:25 PM

The WASPS were promised a lot of things most of them never lived to see. When their exploits were declassified 30 years after their decommissioning, those who received medals got them in the mail with no notice, no pomp-and-circumstance. Many of them went to officers’ training, but were buried (or had urns interred; whatever) at Arlington as “enlisted.” Without the WASPs, there simply wouldn’t have been enough men to serve as pilots in the European and Pacific theaters, but they were and largely remain the forgotten linchpin of America’s WWII-era air forces.

My wish is only that the promises made to them be kept, whatever they are, whatever they were. Our military is run by civilian politicians, and I ought to know better by now than to expect kept promises from politicians.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on January 3, 2016 at 2:09 PM

You are as dirt stupid as they come. Please … please read the articles before you fling poo.

hawkdriver on January 3, 2016 at 4:44 PM

more grumbling from the usual suspects about how Big Minority is keeping whitey down??

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch

An original thought and a cold drink of water would kill this po boy

E9RET on January 3, 2016 at 4:51 PM

E9RET on January 3, 2016 at 4:51 PM

heh

hawkdriver on January 3, 2016 at 4:57 PM

21-gun salute eliminated from Air Force funerals due to lack of funding, personnel

HONOLULU (KHON) – The 21-gun salute is an honor earned by everyone who has served our country, but it’s no longer available to members of one branch of the military.

The U.S. Air Force says it can no longer provide the salute for funeral services.

A family contacted Action Line after they were told they cannot have the full honor guard service for a loved who served in the Air Force for more than 30 years.

When someone who served in the military is laid to rest, he or she is entitled to have a ceremony that includes the folding of the U.S. flag that is then handed to a family member, the traditional and solemn tune of Taps, and a 21-gun salute.

My dad was “lucky” enough to die a few years before this nonsense.

Oh, and bring your own flag.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 3, 2016 at 5:11 PM

There is no doubt that ANC has limited space in its current location. The Government has established other National Cemeteries, but Arlington is the gold ring prize for those who servered in any capacity.

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who was the granddaughter of a US Marine Corps Commandant. Her farther had served as a Marine and when he died she wanted him buried in Arlington. But Arlington denied her request to bury the son of a Marine Corps Commandant who also served in the Marines. I tried to help her, but the government is the definition of red tape to get any consideraiton.

So, her father was buried in some “national” cemetery for those who also served but didn’t serve well enough to be buried in Arlington.

So, I say, combine all of the national cementaries into one and call it Arlington National Cemetery regardless of were the cemetery is actually located.

Problem solved. You don’t have to buried in the contiguious part of Arlington if all the government cemeteries come under Arlington regardless of where they are.

That would bee a truly “National Cemetery.”

BMF on January 3, 2016 at 5:11 PM

I was in the Caisson Platoon at Ft Myer, VA for two years at the end of my service. That’s the platoon that cares for and comprises the horse-mounted casket carriage for all full military-honors funerals.

Having eaten my lunch many times among those gardens of stone, I think I can claim to be a bit of an expert of ANC.

Wikipedia is pretty accurate as far as eligibility of who can be interred.

Also, anyone else (regardless of military service or otherwise) selected by Presidential EO or law by Congress can be interred. These ladies would fall under that qualification during the time it existed.

The following qualifiers also exist:
Military Officers and gov’t officials can have full-military honors (marching band, rifle-equipped marching platoon, caisson, 8-man honor casket squad, flag marching team),
O-6 officers and above (Colonel and Captain in Navy/C.G.), and those eligible for full-military honors who were part of a horse-mounted unit have a Caparisoned-horse (riderless with backwards boots) directly behind the caisson in the procession,
O-7 officers and above and gov’t officials can also have various numbers of artillery rounds up to 21 for a President from the Presidential Gun Salute Battery (also a platoon stationed at Ft Myer).

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who was the granddaughter of a US Marine Corps Commandant. Her farther had served as a Marine and when he died she wanted him buried in Arlington. But Arlington denied her request to bury the son of a Marine Corps Commandant who also served in the Marines. I tried to help her, but the government is the definition of red tape to get any consideraiton (sic).

Was her grandfather buried in ANC? If the father was not a retiree, and the grandfather was buried somewhere else, the father wasn’t eligible. Exceptions are almost non-existent due to space.

UnstChem on January 3, 2016 at 5:40 PM

Are you suggesting oscarwilde is full of shit?

Damn.

DarkCurrent on January 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

I’m suggesting there’s some kind of error here. Nobody can “own” and pass on through inheritance burial plots at ANC. There are just over 25 funerals a day in ANC. That means there can be up to that many locations in burial operations throughout the cemetery. Most locations are sequential, meaning that for most decedents, they get buried next to someone who was buried the day before.

It’s a random lottery for most and minority of burial locations are predetermined before the decedent arrives at ANC.

UnstChem on January 3, 2016 at 5:54 PM

One last thing,

I had two friends who were Tomb-of-the-Unkown-Soldier guards. I’ve been inside the guard’s quarters under the Tomb more than once. The email that’s been passed around the internet for years about Tomb Sentinels is mostly inaccurate, for the record.

UnstChem on January 3, 2016 at 6:08 PM

Speaking as somebody who lives in Arlington and sees the cemetery every day on the way to work….

I think the problem is that the rules for burial there are too lax. Arlington has come to mean the place where we inter our war heroes. Yet, the reality is that anybody who served until retirement can get a spot. An Air Force Reservist who never saw combat but served 20 years can be buried there. Space is limited even after factoring in the space formerly occupied by the Navy Annex. Hell, even my 23 years in the Navy means I can be buried there (which, I am sure, will upset the howler monkeys who hate me these days).

IMO, Arlington should be America’s Valhalla. You need to have done more than merely having served in the military (even in combat) for a career to get in. Our war dead, our war heroes, these are the individuals who should be buried in “Arlington,” which has a meaning that no other military cemetery has.

Happy Nomad on January 3, 2016 at 7:33 PM

I have an idea.

The way they gerrymander districts in Texas, we could do the same with ANC. Just get roads and call them part of ANC, to connect to places that could be used for burial.

There’s some wasted space at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that could be converted in this manner.

Speaking of Washington DC landmarks and such, When they build the Clinton Memorial, are they going to have the condom machines in the gift shop or in the restrooms?

Wino on January 3, 2016 at 7:39 PM

I’m suggesting there’s some kind of error here. Nobody can “own” and pass on through inheritance burial plots at ANC.

It’s a random lottery for most and minority of burial locations are predetermined before the decedent arrives at ANC.

UnstChem on January 3, 2016 at 5:54 PM

Not bothering to read back thread, I think the issue here was one of the scandals about the mismanagement of ANC. Individuals were, in fact, given promises about the spot they would be buried. Some of them even had a sort of document to that end. That has all been reformed when the Army was shamed into doing their duty.

That being said, when you factor in spouses being buried atop their loved one, I would guess the number of burials at predetermined locations is larger than you suggest.

Happy Nomad on January 3, 2016 at 7:40 PM

I have many family members who have served honorably in multiple wars. They did not desire nor require perpetual honor in a military cemetery in order to have their sacrifices honored and remembered.

xNavigator on January 3, 2016 at 4:11 PM

My father served in the Naval Reserve for almost 30 years (four years active duty). He is eligible for burial in Arlington but he and my mom don’t think it is fitting or appropriate for them to be buried there.

Happy Nomad on January 3, 2016 at 7:47 PM

Perhaps McHugh was just “confused”?
He saw WASP, and thought it stood for White Anglo Saxon Protestant;
but that would make him racist, instead of sexist…..tomato, tomahto.

Another Drew on January 3, 2016 at 7:55 PM

I’m an Air Force retiree and a Vietnam veteran. My daughter asked me if I wanted to be buried in Arlington. I told Hell No! No self respecting Southerner could rest in stolen ground.

wukong on January 3, 2016 at 9:44 PM

Seems to me, that if these ladies were promised a spot, then they’re entitled to one.

And who doesn’t think, that if the War had gone less well, that these trained pilots might have wound up closer to combat than they did? Face it, Rosy the Riveter could run a machine gun, if the Huns were coming over the hills of Pittsburgh.

ReggieA on January 3, 2016 at 9:54 PM

What bothers me is that a Secretary of the Army overturned a deacdes-old act of congress to reverse that eligibility. Politicians gonna politic.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 4:18 PM

This.
Executive over-reach.
Settle the problem properly — or get Congress out of the picture legally.

Two solutions I like (because there are multiple military cemeteries in the country).

IMO, Arlington should be America’s Valhalla. You need to have done more than merely having served in the military (even in combat) for a career to get in. Our war dead, our war heroes, these are the individuals who should be buried in “Arlington,” which has a meaning that no other military cemetery has.

Happy Nomad on January 3, 2016 at 7:33 PM

So, I say, combine all of the national cementaries into one and call it Arlington National Cemetery regardless of were the cemetery is actually located.

Problem solved. You don’t have to buried in the contiguious part of Arlington if all the government cemeteries come under Arlington regardless of where they are.

That would bee a truly “National Cemetery.”

BMF on January 3, 2016 at 5:11 PM

But this is the thread-winner:

I’m an Air Force retiree and a Vietnam veteran. My daughter asked me if I wanted to be buried in Arlington. I told Hell No! No self respecting Southerner could rest in stolen ground.

wukong on January 3, 2016 at 9:44 PM

AesopFan on January 3, 2016 at 10:18 PM

The WASPS were promised a lot of things most of them never lived to see. When their exploits were declassified 30 years after their decommissioning, those who received medals got them in the mail with no notice, no pomp-and-circumstance. Many of them went to officers’ training, but were buried (or had urns interred; whatever) at Arlington as “enlisted.” Without the WASPs, there simply wouldn’t have been enough men to serve as pilots in the European and Pacific theaters, but they were and largely remain the forgotten linchpin of America’s WWII-era air forces.

My wish is only that the promises made to them be kept, whatever they are, whatever they were. Our military is run by civilian politicians, and I ought to know better by now than to expect kept promises from politicians.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Important history – not the first time the Ladies have been deliberately forgotten.
However, making this change at the same time the administration is pushing for women in combat roles seems rather tin-eared to me.

AesopFan on January 3, 2016 at 10:20 PM

No room for WASPS only RATS (Reckless Alcoholic Total Slimeballs) like Ted Kennedy.

MaiDee on January 3, 2016 at 11:02 PM

hundreds of thousands of brave men sailed in the merchant marine to supply Europe with the material to fight the war. Thousands upon thousands died when their ships were sunk by u-boats. None of them get to be buried at Arlington either.

But we are going to make an exception for the women ferry pilots?
.

HugoDrax on January 3, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Under Public Law 95-02, Merchant Marines who served between Dec 7 1941 and Aug 15 1945 are entitled to inurnment in the Columbarium, and may be buried at any other VA Cemetary. So, you are right — they can’t be buried at Arlington, but they have the right to have their remains there in the Columbarium, or to have burial in any other VA Cemetary. The WASP no longer have this right, according to Obama’s guy.

Now, with regard to the women ferry pilots (as you call them), they were essential to the war effort — just as essential as the Merchant Marine, and they were put into similar danger.

The story of Helen Ying Lee is instructive. Google her and read what happened when she died ferrying an airplane from Niagara Falls to Great Falls. The denial of burial rights in local cemetaries to non-whites was once common, and in death she was denied the honors her patriotic behavior deserved. If anyone deserves a reburial at Arlington, it’s her.

To put it bluntly, Helen has a greater right of burial at Arlington than Barack does. And rest assured that Barack Obama has the right of burial at Arlington.

Do you sense that I think you are merely a rat’s ass in this? If you do, you are badly mistaken.

unclesmrgol on January 3, 2016 at 11:19 PM

POTUS Bans All Guns!

In a press release earlier today, the “Preschool Of The Ubiquitous Sun” announced that preschoolers would not be allowed to bring guns to class.

Arnold Yabenson on January 4, 2016 at 5:55 AM

The first thing to do is to remove people who did not serve from the cemetery. Exhume the remains of the rich and powerful who have no business being laid to rest next to our honored dead.

mechkiller_k on January 4, 2016 at 7:47 AM

Great misleading headline, Jazz. Not many of your readers know what a WASP is in your meaning. The most common interpretation in today’s terminology is religious/ethnic. Most of your readers do not know about the Womens’ Air Service. I see you are trying to educate these people, but proper writing should have included the name spelled out followed by the acronym. You are really good, you could be more professional, though.

Old Country Boy on January 4, 2016 at 7:50 AM

The most disturbing part of this story for me is that there was a fight against expanding our most hallowed military cemetery in order to save some old trees.

Fairbanks on January 4, 2016 at 11:47 AM

Problem is that they switched back to letting these women be buried. There is a wing dedicated to these ladies at The Mighty 8th AF Museum. The wash out rate was something like 90%. These ladies flew dangerous missions in military aircraft and to deny the few left a plot, stinks. My dad was a merchant marine and had three ships lost under him in the North Atlantic and the MED. My wife’s dad did the Murmansk runs. Their service lost more men than any other, and they have received medals at least under the auspices of the Coast Guard.

Hening on January 6, 2016 at 9:23 PM