Text: H.R.2014 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)

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Introduced in House (04/21/2009)

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[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2014 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 2014

   To award a congressional gold medal to the Women Airforce Service 
                           Pilots (``WASP'').



                             April 21, 2009

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen (for herself, Mrs. Davis of California, Mr. Bartlett, 
Mrs. Blackburn, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Boswell, Mr. Conaway, Mr. McCarthy of 
California, Mr. Ortiz, Mr. Ryan of Ohio, Mrs. Tauscher, Mr. Edwards of 
   Texas, Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Luetkemeyer, Mrs. Maloney, Mrs. McMorris 
 Rodgers, Mr. Moore of Kansas, Mr. Snyder, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. LoBiondo, 
 Mr. Massa, Mr. Stearns, Mr. McCaul, Mr. Thornberry, Mr. Gohmert, Ms. 
 Castor of Florida, Ms. Berkley, Mrs. Capps, Mr. Hastings of Florida, 
   Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Kline of Minnesota, Mr. Kissell, Mr. Rooney, Mr. 
  Spratt, Mrs. Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. 
  Buchanan, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, Mr. Wolf, Mr. 
   Alexander, Mr. Turner, Mr. Smith of Texas, Mr. Hinojosa, Mr. Sam 
 Johnson of Texas, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Mr. Scalise, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. 
Blumenauer, Ms. Titus, Mr. Filner, Ms. Tsongas, Mr. Hall of Texas, Mr. 
McGovern, Ms. Eshoo, Mrs. Myrick, Mr. Connolly of Virginia, Mr. Bishop 
  of New York, Mr. Young of Florida, Mr. Rothman of New Jersey, Mrs. 
 Capito, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Klein of Florida, Mr. Rogers of Alabama, Mr. 
 Rogers of Michigan, Mr. Roe of Tennessee, Ms. Fallin, Mr. Mario Diaz-
 Balart of Florida, Mr. Brady of Texas, Mrs. Biggert, Mr. Serrano, Mr. 
  Shimkus, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Brown of South Carolina, Mr. 
Bilirakis, Ms. Harman, Mrs. Emerson, Mr. Bonner, Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite 
    of Florida, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Ms. Edwards of 
Maryland, Mr. Manzullo, Mr. Payne, Mr. Reichert, Mr. Mack, Mr. Weiner, 
Mr. Crenshaw, Mr. Schock, Mr. Lee of New York, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Upton, 
   Mr. Clay, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. Sablan, Mr. Marchant, Ms. 
Granger, Mr. Shuler, Ms. Lee of California, Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Ms. 
Loretta Sanchez of California, Mr. Ehlers, Mr. Cummings, Ms. Kilpatrick 
of Michigan, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Young of Alaska, Mr. Wexler, Mr. McKeon, 
Ms. Sutton, Mr. Radanovich, Mr. Patrick J. Murphy of Pennsylvania, Mr. 
Tanner, Mr. McClintock, Mr. Abercrombie, Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California, 
 Mr. Meek of Florida, Mr. Sestak, Mr. Neal of Massachusetts, Ms. Moore 
  of Wisconsin, Mrs. Christensen, Mr. Sessions, Ms. Corrine Brown of 
  Florida, Mr. Culberson, Mr. Reyes, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Oberstar, Ms. 
Linda T. Sanchez of California, Mr. Cardoza, Mr. Fattah, Mr. Gutierrez, 
 Mr. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, Ms. Herseth Sandlin, Mr. Adler of New 
 Jersey, Mr. Wu, Mr. Israel, Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. 
   Sullivan, Mr. Dreier, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, Mr. Marshall, Mr. 
 Costello, Mr. Lance, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Barrow, Mrs. Bono Mack, Mr. 
  Pierluisi, Mr. Carter, Mr. Olver, Mr. Moran of Kansas, Mr. Cao, Ms. 
 Matsui, Mr. Faleomavaega, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mrs. Lummis, and Mr. 
  Aderholt) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
 Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on 
House Administration, for a period to be subsequently determined by the 
  Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall 
           within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


                                 A BILL

   To award a congressional gold medal to the Women Airforce Service 
                           Pilots (``WASP'').

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    The Congress finds that--
            (1) the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII, known as the 
        ``WASP'', were the first women in history to fly American 
        military aircraft;
            (2) more than 60 years ago, they flew fighter, bomber, 
        transport, and training aircraft in defense of America's 
            (3) they faced overwhelming cultural and gender bias 
        against women in nontraditional roles and overcame multiple 
        injustices and inequities in order to serve their country;
            (4) through their actions, the WASP eventually were the 
        catalyst for revolutionary reform in the integration of women 
        pilots into the Armed Services;
            (5) during the early months of World War II, there was a 
        severe shortage of combat pilots;
            (6) Jacqueline Cochran, America's leading woman pilot of 
        the time, convinced General Hap Arnold, Chief of the Army Air 
        Forces, that women, if given the same training as men, would be 
        equally capable of flying military aircraft and could then take 
        over some of the stateside military flying jobs, thereby 
        releasing hundreds of male pilots for combat duty;
            (7) the severe loss of male combat pilots made the 
        necessity of utilizing women pilots to help in the war effort 
        clear to General Arnold, and a women's pilot training program 
        was soon approved;
            (8) it was not until August 1943, that the women aviators 
        would receive their official name;
            (9) General Arnold ordered that all women pilots flying 
        military aircraft, including 28 civilian women ferry pilots, 
        would be named ``WASP'', Women Airforce Service Pilots;
            (10) more than 25,000 American women applied for training, 
        but only 1,830 were accepted and took the oath;
            (11) exactly 1,074 of those trainees successfully completed 
        the 21 to 27 weeks of Army Air Force flight training, 
        graduated, and received their Army Air Force orders to report 
        to their assigned air base;
            (12) on November 16, 1942, the first class of 29 women 
        pilots reported to the Houston, Texas Municipal Airport and 
        began the same military flight training as the male Army Air 
        Force cadets were taking;
            (13) due to a lack of adequate facilities at the airport, 3 
        months later the training program was moved to Avenger Field in 
        Sweetwater, Texas;
            (14) WASP were eventually stationed at 120 Army air bases 
        all across America;
            (15) they flew more than 60,000,000 miles for their country 
        in every type of aircraft and on every type of assignment flown 
        by the male Army Air Force pilots, except combat;
            (16) WASP assignments included test piloting, instructor 
        piloting, towing targets for air-to-air gunnery practice, 
        ground-to-air anti-aircraft practice, ferrying, transporting 
        personnel and cargo (including parts for the atomic bomb), 
        simulated strafing, smoke laying, night tracking, and flying 
            (17) in October 1943, male pilots were refusing to fly the 
        B-26 Martin Marauder (known as the ``Widowmaker'') because of 
        its fatality records, and General Arnold ordered WASP Director, 
        Jacqueline Cochran, to select 25 WASP to be trained to fly the 
        B-26 to prove to the male pilots that it was safe to fly;
            (18) during the existence of the WASP--
                    (A) 38 women lost their lives while serving their 
                    (B) their bodies were sent home in poorly crafted 
                pine boxes;
                    (C) their burial was at the expense of their 
                families or classmates;
                    (D) there were no gold stars allowed in their 
                parents' windows; and
                    (E) because they were not considered military, no 
                American flags were allowed on their coffins;
            (19) in 1944, General Arnold made a personal request to 
        Congress to militarize the WASP, and it was denied;
            (20) on December 7, 1944, in a speech to the last 
        graduating class of WASP, General Arnold said, ``You and more 
        than 900 of your sisters have shown you can fly wingtip to 
        wingtip with your brothers. I salute you . . . We of the Army 
        Air Force are proud of you. We will never forget our debt to 
            (21) with victory in WWII almost certain, on December 20, 
        1944, the WASP were quietly and unceremoniously disbanded;
            (22) there were no honors, no benefits, and very few 
        ``thank you's'';
            (23) just as they had paid their own way to enter training, 
        they had to pay their own way back home after their honorable 
        service to the military;
            (24) the WASP military records were immediately sealed, 
        stamped ``classified'' or ``secret'', and filed away in 
        Government archives, unavailable to the historians who wrote 
        the history of WWII or the scholars who compiled the history 
        text books used today, with many of the records not 
        declassified until the 1980s;
            (25) consequently, the WASP story is a missing chapter in 
        the history of the Air Force, the history of aviation, and the 
        history of the United States of America;
            (26) in 1977, 33 years after the WASP were disbanded, the 
        Congress finally voted to give the WASP the veteran status they 
        had earned, but these heroic pilots were not invited to the 
        signing ceremony at the White House, and it was not until 7 
        years later that their medals were delivered in the mail in 
        plain brown envelopes;
            (27) in the late 1970s, more than 30 years after the WASP 
        flew in World War II, women were finally permitted to attend 
        military pilot training in the United States Armed Forces;
            (28) thousands of women aviators flying support aircraft 
        have benefitted from the service of the WASP and followed in 
        their footsteps;
            (29) in 1993, the WASP were once again referenced during 
        congressional hearings regarding the contributions that women 
        could make to the military, which eventually led to women being 
        able to fly military fighter, bomber, and attack aircraft in 
            (30) hundreds of United States servicewomen combat pilots 
        have seized the opportunity to fly fighter aircraft in recent 
        conflicts, all thanks to the pioneering steps taken by the 
            (31) the WASP have maintained a tight-knit community, 
        forged by the common experiences of serving their country 
        during war;
            (32) as part of their desire to educate America on the WASP 
        history, WASP have assisted ``Wings Across America'', an 
        organization dedicated to educating the American public, with 
        much effort aimed at children, about the remarkable 
        accomplishments of these WWII veterans; and
            (33) the WASP have been honored with exhibits at numerous 
        museums, to include--
                    (A) the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC;
                    (B) the Women in Military Service to America 
                Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, 
                    (C) the National Museum of the United States Air 
                Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio;
                    (D) the National WASP WWII Museum, Sweetwater, 
                    (E) the 8th Air Force Museum, Savannah, Georgia;
                    (F) the Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston, Texas;
                    (G) the American Airpower Museum, Farmingdale, New 
                    (H) the Pima Air Museum, Tucson, Arizona;
                    (I) the Seattle Museum of Flight, Seattle, 
                    (J) the March Air Museum, March Reserve Air Base, 
                California; and
                    (K) the Texas State History Museum, Austin, Texas.


    (a) Award Authorized.--The President pro tempore of the Senate and 
the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate 
arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of a single gold 
medal of appropriate design in honor of the Women Airforce Service 
Pilots (WASP) collectively, in recognition of their pioneering military 
service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the 
Armed Forces of the United States of America.
    (b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to 
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (hereafter in this Act 
referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall strike the gold medal with 
suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the 
    (c) Smithsonian Institution.--
            (1) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal in 
        honor of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the gold medal 
        shall be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be 
        displayed as appropriate and made available for research.
            (2) Sense of the congress.--It is the sense of the Congress 
        that the Smithsonian Institution shall make the gold medal 
        received under this Act available for display elsewhere, 
        particularly at other locations associated with the WASP.


    Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, the 
Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal 
struck under this Act, at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the 
medals, including labor, materials, dyes, use of machinery, and 
overhead expenses.


    Medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes 
of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.


    (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, an 
amount not to exceed $30,000 to pay for the cost of the medal 
authorized under section 2.
    (b) Proceeds of Sale.--Amounts received from the sale of duplicate 
bronze medals under section 3 shall be deposited in the United States 
Mint Public Enterprise Fund.