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.