Just days after sending a letter to the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense requesting Women Airforce Service Pilots be allowed interment at Arlington National Cemetery, Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with the former pilot she referenced in the letter.
Faribault resident Elizabeth Strohfus has been at the center of media attention after Klobuchar mentioned her in the letter as one of the few living female pilots from World War II.
With her family and friends present, Strohfus and Klobuchar discussed her love of flying, her service and the right of WASPs to be buried at Arlington in their discussion at Milestone Senior Living in Faribault.
To reverse the directive Secretary of the Army John McHugh issued in March 2015 barring WASPs from being interred at Arlington, there are two options available.
"The hope is that they can just change the policy we don’t have to pass a law. if they don’t change the policy, we’ve introduced a bill to try and change that," said Klobuchar. "To me, it’s part of the dignity and how you should have been treated back then. And now the world has changed and we have women flying and they have those rights and you should have the rights now that you didn’t back then."
It took WASPs 33 years to be recognized as veterans, a fight in which Strohfus was heavily involved.
But while accolades were not the reason Strohfus signed up to serve, she said finally being recognized as veterans decades after their service was meaningful.
"I was awful glad because we girls did do what the men did, and we did it well," said Strohfus. "We wanted to show the fellas we could fly as well as they did."