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WASPs finally receiving their due
Nearly 70 years after the fact, more World War II heroes are finally receiving the honor they are due.
We've heard and read about the Honor Flights that have carried so many of the "Greatest Generation" to the World War II memorial in Washington, and our only regret is that it didn't happen sooner.
On Wednesday, some 200 women who served as Women Airforce Service Pilots -- WASPs -- received the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow, the Congressional Gold Medal.
They included three Nebraska women who were honored posthumously for flying military planes during World War II -- Dr. Grace "Betty" Clements, Evelyn "Sharpie" Sharp and Lois Boien Durham.
No flag draped "Sharpie" Sharp's coffin after she was killed flying a front-line P-38 fighter in Pennsylvania, and when their service was no longer needed, the others had to pay their own bus fare home.
Women still aren't fully integrated into combat units, although in wars in which we are currently engaged, the lines between combat and non-combat roles are blurred. They have long been involved in air combat, and have been allowed on surface combat ships and, more recently, in submarines.
Combat service is important to anyone who wants to advance a military career, women included.
Their World War II predecessors had no such opportunities, but quickly volunteered when their country called.
Such self-sacrifice is a worthy example for both men and women today.
Career Air Force man and Gazette columnist Dick Trail wrote his encounter with former WASPs in a column available online at http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1528459.html