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The FReeper Foxhole Reviews The Women's Army Corps in World War II - March 7th, 2004 ^

Posted on 03/07/2004 4:41:47 AM PST by snippy_about_it


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for all those serving their country at this time.

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The Women's Army Corps in World War II


Beginning in October 1940, men between 21 and 35 were drafted for mlitary service and on December 11, 1941, the US declared war on against Japan's allies, Germany and Italy. As their husbands, sons and brothers left home, many American women asked, “how about us?” Acting as their spokeswoman, Representative Edith Nourse Rogers (Massachusetts) introduced a bill in May 1941 calling for the creation of an all-volunteer women's corps in the Army.

Initially, members of Congress, the press and the military establishment joked about the notion of women serving in the Army, but as America increasingly realized the demands of a war on two fronts (Japan and Germany), leaders also faced an acute manpower shortage. In May 1942, the House and the Senate approved a bill creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Oveta Culp Hobby, Chief of the Women's Interest Section in the Public Relations Bureau in the War Department and a lobbyist for the WAAC bill, became its first director.

Congressional opposition to the bill centered around southern congressmen. With women in the armed services, one representative asked, "Who will then do the cooking, the washing, the mending, the humble homey tasks to which every woman has devoted herself; who will nurture the children?" After a long and acrimonious debate which filled ninety-eight columns in the Congressional Record, the bill finally passed the House 249 to 86. The Senate approved the bill 38 to 27 on 14 May.

Although the women who joined considered themselves in the Army, technically they were civilians working with the Army. By spring of 1943, 60,000 women had volunteered and in July 1943, a new congressional bill transformed the WAAC to the Women's Army Auxiliary (WAC), giving Army women military status.

Over 150,000 American women served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War 11. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army. Both the Army and the American public initially had difficulty accepting the concept of women in uniform. However, political and military leaders, faced with fighting a two-front war and supplying men and materiel for that war while continuing to send lend-lease material to the Allies, realized that women could supply the additional resources so desperately needed in the military and industrial sectors. Given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national war effort, women seized it. By the end of the war their contributions would be widely heralded.

Oveta Culp Hobby was thus the perfect choice for Director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. The position needed a woman with a proven record of achievement. The individual selected had to be politically astute, with an understanding of how things got done in Washington and in the War Department. Most important, the Director of the WAAC had to show a skeptical American public that a woman could be "a lady" and serve as a member of the armed forces at the same time. This was crucial to the success of the WAAC. A volunteer force, the WAAC had to appeal to small town and middle-class America to recruit the skilled clerical workers, teachers, stenographers, and telephone operators needed by the Army. The values and sensibilities of this middle class were very narrow, as exemplified by the words of Charity Adams, a WAAC officer candidate and later lieutenant colonel: "I made a conscientious effort to obtain every item on the list of suggested supplies for training camp except the slacks and shorts. I had never owned either, feeling that I was not the type to wear them." In small town America in 1942, ladies did not wear slacks or shorts in public.

Initially, Major Hobby and the WAAC captured the fancy of press and public alike. William Hobby was quoted again and again when he joked, "My wife has so many ideas, some of them have got to be good!" Hobby handled her first press conference with typical aplomb. Although the press concentrated on such frivolous questions as whether WAACs would be allowed to wear makeup and date officers, Hobby diffused most such questions with calm sensibility. Only one statement by the Director caused unfavorable comment. "Any member of the Corps who becomes pregnant will receive an immediate discharge," said Hobby. The Times Herald claimed that the birth rate would be adversely affected if corps members were discouraged from having babies. "This will hurt us twenty years from now," said the newspaper, "when we get ready to fight the next war." Several newspapers picked up this theme, which briefly caused much debate among columnists across the nation.

Oveta Culp Hobby believed very strongly in the idea behind the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Every auxiliary who enlisted in the corps would be trained in a noncombatant military job and thus "free a man for combat." In this way American women could make an individual and significant contribution to the war effort. Hobby's sincerity aided her in presenting this concept to the public. In frequent public speeches, she explained, "The gaps our women will fill are in those noncombatant jobs where women's hands and women's hearts fit naturally. WAACs will do the same type of work which women do in civilian life. They will bear the same relation to men of the Army that they bear to the men of the civilian organizations in which they work." In Hobby's view, WAACs were to help the Army win the war, just as women had always helped men achieve success.

WAAC officers and auxiliaries alike accepted and enlisted under this philosophy. A WAAC recruit undergoing training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, whose husband was serving in the Pacific, wrote her friend, "The WAAC mission is the same old women's mission, to hold the home front steadfast, and send men to battle warmed and fed and comforted; to stand by and do dull routine work while the men are gone."

Recruitment and Training

Major Hobby immediately began organizing the WAAC recruiting drive and training centers. Fort Des Moines, Iowa, was selected as the site of the first WAAC training center. Applications for the WAAC officer training program were made available at Army recruiting stations on 27 May, with a return deadline of 4 June.

Applicants had to be U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 45 with no dependents, be at least five feet tall, and weigh 100 pounds or more. Over 35,000 women from all over the country applied for less than 1,000 anticipated positions.

On 20 July the first officer candidate training class of 440 women started a six-week course at Fort Des Moines. Interviews conducted by an eager press revealed that the average officer candidate was 25 years old, had attended college, and was working as an office administrator, executive secretary, or teacher. One out of every five had enlisted because a male member of her family was in the armed forces and she wanted to help him get home sooner. Several were combat widows of Pearl Harbor and Bataan. One woman enlisted because her son, of fighting age, had been injured in an automobile accident and was unable to serve. Another joined because there were no men of fighting age in her family. All of the women professed a desire to aid their country in time of need by "releasing a man for combat duty."

The press was asked to leave Fort Des Moines after the first day so as not to interfere with the training. Although a few reporters were disgruntled because they were not allowed to "follow" a candidate through basic officer training, most left satisfied after having obtained interviews and photographs of WAACs in their new uniforms. Even the titillating question of the color of WAAC underwear (khaki) was answered for the folks back home. Letters the women wrote home were often published in local newspapers.

The forty black women who entered the first WAAC officer candidate class were placed in a separate platoon. Although they attended classes and mess with the other officer candidates, post facilities such as service clubs, theaters, and beauty shops were segregated. Black officer candidates had backgrounds similar to those of white officer candidates. Almost 80 percent had attended college, and the majority had work experience as teachers and office workers.

In July Army recruiting centers were supplied with applications for volunteers to enlist in the WAAC as auxiliaries (enlisted women). The response, although not as dramatic as the officer candidate applications, was still gratifying. Those who had applied unsuccessfully for officer training and who had stated on their applications that they would be willing to come in as auxiliaries did not have to reapply. Women were told that after the initial group of officers had been trained, all other officer candidates would be selected from the ranks of the auxiliaries as the corps grew. The first auxiliary class started its four-week basic training at Fort Des Moines on 17 August. The average WAAC auxiliary was slightly younger than the officer candidates, with a high school education and less work experience. These women enlisted for the same reasons as the officer candidates. Many with family members in the armed forces believed that the men would come home sooner if women actively helped win the war and that the most efficient way a woman could help the war effort was to free a man for combat duty.

Although the first WAAC officer candidate class started its training before the enlisted class, the first enlisted WAACs entered training before their future officers graduated. Consequently, the first classes of both WAAC officer candidates and enlisted personnel were trained by male Regular Army officers. Col. Donald C. Faith was chosen to command the center. Faith's background as an educator and his interest in the psychology of military education rendered him well suited for his position.

Eventually and gradually WAAC officers took over the training of the rest of the corps. The majority of the newly trained WAAC officers, the first of whom finished their training on 29 August, were assigned to Fort Des Moines to conduct basic training. As officer classes continued to graduate throughout the fall of 1942, many were assigned to staff three new WAAC training centers in Daytona Beach, Florida; Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; and Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Others accompanied WAAC companies sent to U.S. Army field installations across the country. Black officers were assigned to black auxiliary and officer candidate units at Fort Des Moines and Fort Devens.

WAACs on the Job

The first auxiliary units and their officers to reach the field went to Aircraft Warning Service (AWS) units. The U.S. Army Air Forces could not rely on volunteer civilians to man stations twenty-four hours a day.

Many AWS volunteers who fit the WAAC enlistment requirements joined the WAAC with the understanding that upon graduating from basic training they would be assigned to duty at their local AWS station. By October 1942 twenty-seven WAAC companies were active at AWS stations up and down the eastern seaboard. WAACs manned "filter boards," plotting and tracing the paths of every aircraft in the station area. Some filter boards had as many as twenty positions, each one filled with a WAAC wearing headphones and enduring endless boredom while waiting for the rare telephone calls reporting aircraft sightings.

Later graduates were formed into companies and sent to Army Air Forces (AAF), Army Ground Forces (AGF), or Services of Supply (renamed Army Service Forces [ASF] in 1943) field installations. Initially most auxiliaries worked as file clerks, typists, stenographers, or motor pool drivers, but gradually each service discovered an increasing number of positions WAACs were capable of filling.

The AAF was especially anxious to obtain WAACs, and each unit was eagerly anticipated and very well treated. Eventually the Air Forces obtained 40 percent of all WAACs in the Army. Women were assigned as weather observers and forecasters, cryptographers, radio operators and repairmen, sheet metal workers, parachute riggers, link trainer instructors, bombsight maintenance specialists, aerial photograph analysts, and control tower operators. Over 1,000 WAACs ran the statistical control tabulating machines (the precursors of modern-day computers) used to keep track of personnel records. By January 1945 only 50 percent of AAF WACs held traditional assignments such as file clerk, typist, and stenographer.

A few AAF WAACs were assigned flying duties. Two WAAC radio operators assigned to Mitchel Field, New York, flew as crew members on B-17 training flights. WAAC mechanics and photographers also made regular flights. Three were awarded Air Medals, including one in India for her work in mapping "the Hump," the mountainous air route overflown by pilots ferrying lend-lease supplies to the Chinese Army. One woman died in the crash of an aerial broadcasting plane.

Army Service Forces received 40 percent of the WAACs. Some of the women assigned to the Ordnance Department computed the velocity of bullets, measured bomb fragments, mixed gunpowder, and loaded shells. Others worked as draftsmen, mechanics, and electricians, and some received training in ordnance engineering.

Many of the 3,600 WAACs assigned to the Transportation Corps (ASF) processed men for assignment overseas, handling personnel files and issuing weapons. In the words of one WAAC, "Soldiers come in here unarmed and leave with a gun. It gives me a pretty good feeling." WAACs served as boat dispatchers and classification specialists.

Later in the war, women were trained to replace men as radio operators on U.S. Army hospital ships. The Larkspur, the Charles A. Stafford, and the Blanche F. Sigman each received three enlisted women and one officer near the end of 1944. This experiment proved successful, and the assignment of female secretaries and clerical workers to hospital ships occurred soon after.

WAACs assigned to the Chemical Warfare Service (ASF) worked both in laboratories and in the field. Some women were trained as glass blowers and made test tubes for the Army's chemical laboratories. Others field tested equipment such as walkie-talkies and surveying and meteorology instruments.

The 250 WAACs assigned to the Quartermaster Corps (ASF) kept track of stockpiles of supplies scattered in depots across the country. Their duties included inspection, procurement, stock control, storage, fiscal oversight, and contract termination.

Over 1,200 WAACs assigned to the Signal Corps (ASF) worked as telephone switchboard operators, radio operators, telegraph operators, cryptologists, and photograph and map analysts. WAACs assigned as photographers received training in the principles of developing and printing photographs, repairing cameras, mixing emulsions, and finishing negatives. Women who became map analysts learned to assemble, mount, and interpret mosaic maps.

WAACs within the Army Medical Department (ASF) were used as laboratory, surgical, X-ray, and dental technicians as well as medical secretaries and ward clerks, freeing Army nurses for other duties.

Services of Supply

WAACs assigned to the Corps of Engineers participated in the Manhattan Project. M. Sgt. Elizabeth Wilson of the Chemistry Division at Los Alamos, New Mexico, ran the cyclotron, used in fundamental experiments in connection with the atomic bomb. WAAC Jane Heydorn trained as an electronics construction technician and, as part of the Electronic Laboratory Group at Los Alamos, was involved in the construction of the electronic equipment necessary to develop, test, and produce the atomic bomb. WAACs at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site maintained the top secret files related to the project, working twelve-hour shifts seven days a week. Other WAACs involved in the Manhattan Project included three women assigned to the Corps of Engineers in London, who helped to coordinate the flow of information between English and American scientists cooperating on the project.

The Army Ground Forces were initially reluctant to request and employ WAACs. The AGF eventually received 20 percent of all WAAC assignments. Many high-ranking staff officers would have preferred to see women aid the defense effort by taking positions in industry. A report prepared by the Plans Section, AGF, reflected this attitude: "In industry it is necessary to train personnel in only a single operation on the production line. Military duties require a versatility that is acquired only by long experience." As a result, WAACs assigned to Army Ground Forces often felt unwelcome and complained of the intensive discipline imposed upon them. Most AGF WAACs worked in training centers where 75 percent performed routine office work. Another 10 percent worked in motor pools. AGF WAACs found that chances for transfer and promotion were extremely limited, and many women served throughout the war at the posts to which they were initially assigned. The stories of Ground Forces WAACs contrasted sharply with those of women assigned to the Air and Service Forces, who were routinely sent to specialist schools and often transferred between stations.

Women's Army Corps members served worldwide-in North Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, the Southwest Pacific, China, India, Burma, and the Middle East. Overseas assignments were highly coveted, even though the vast majority consisted of the clerical and communications jobs at which women were believed to be most efficient. Only the most highly qualified women received overseas assignments. Some women turned down the chance to attend Officer Candidate School in favor of an overseas assignment.

The invasion of North Africa was only five days old when, on 13 November 1942, Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower asked that five WAAC officers, two of whom could speak French, be sent immediately to Allied Force Headquarters to serve as executive secretaries. The ship carrying Third Officers Martha Rogers, Mattie Pinette, Ruth Briggs, Alene Drezmal, and Louise Anderson was torpedoed en route from Great Britain to Algiers. A British destroyer plucked two of the women from the burning deck of their sinking ship. The other three escaped in a lifeboat. While adrift on the high seas, they saved several seamen by pulling them into the boat with them. Picked up by a destroyer, they were delivered to Algiers with no uniforms, clothing, or supplies. The women were greeted by anxious officers with gifts of oranges and toiletries.

These five women served on General Eisenhower's staff successively throughout the North African, Mediterranean, and European campaigns. In 1945 Eisenhower stated, "During the time I have had WACs under my command they have met every test and task assigned to them . . . their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit and determination are immeasurable."

The first WAAC unit overseas, the 149th Post Headquarters Company, reported on 27 January 1943 to General Eisenhower's headquarters in Algiers. Initially unit members were housed in the dormitory of a convent school and transported to and from the headquarters in trucks. They served as postal workers, clerks, typists, and switchboard operators. Nightly bombings and accompanying antiaircraft fire made sleep difficult for the first few weeks, but most of the women acclimated fairly quickly. Additional WAAC postal workers joined them in May. A WAAC signal company arrived in November to take jobs as high-speed radio operators, teletypists, cryptographic code clerks, and tape cutters in radio rooms. Corps members assigned to the Army Air Forces arrived in North Africa in November 1943 and January 1944.

One of the most famous WAAC/WAC units to serve in the North African and Mediterranean theaters was the 6669th Headquarters Platoon, assigned to Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark's Fifth Army. This unit became the Army's "experiment" in the use of female units in the field. The 6669th accompanied Fifth Army headquarters from Mostaganem, Algeria, across the Mediterranean to Naples and eventually all the way up the boot of Italy. Unit members remained from six to thirteen miles behind the front lines, moved with the headquarters group, and worked in traditional female skills. The unit's table of organization called for 10 telephone operators, 7 clerks, 16 clerk-typists, 10 stenographers, and 1 administrative clerk. Even so, these jobs had a vastly different flavor from traditional employment in the United States. WAAC telephone operators were required to get through extremely complicated communications networks to reach within minutes the commanding officer of any unit sought by General Clark. Clerk-typists plotted the locations and movements of the troops and requisitioned and tracked the delivery of crucial supplies. Clark and his staff treated the WAACs as valued members of the Fifth Army team, and the women responded by submitting to the hardships associated with forward troop movements with little complaint.

The WAACs' success in the North African and Mediterranean theaters led to an increasing number of requests for WAACs from overseas theaters. Before the War Department could honor these requests, however, it had to find a solution to a more immediate problem. In early 1943 the number of women joining the WAAC dropped drastically due to a sudden backlash of public opinion against the employment of women in the armed forces.

Unfortunately, a variety of social factors had combined to produce a negative public image of the female soldier. Letters home from enlisted men contained a great deal of criticism of female soldiers. When the Office of Censorship ran a sample tabulation, it discovered that 84 percent of soldiers' letters mentioning the WAAC were unfavorable.

Many of these soldiers had never seen a WAAC. But they were away from home and facing unknown dangers, and many kept up their spirits by imagining their return to the family and community they had left behind. It was important that the family and community remain unchanged. Women in the military represented change.

Enlisted soldiers tended to question the moral values of any woman attracted to military service and passed these beliefs on to their families at home. Many soldiers believed that the WAACs' duties included keeping up morale and "keeping the men happy." To this end, contraceptives were supposedly issued to all WAACs, and large numbers of pregnant WAACs were being returned home from overseas. It was rumored that 90 percent of the WAACs were prostitutes and that 40 percent of all WAACs were pregnant. According to one story, any soldier seen dating a WAAC would be seized by Army authorities and provided with medical treatment.

Given this "traditional male folklore," the early WAAC slogan, "Release a Man for Combat," was an unfortunate choice. Due to supposed sexual overtones, the slogan was changed to "Replace a Man for Combat," but the modification made little difference. Concerned soldiers believed that WAACs were not fit company for their sisters and girlfriends, and many forbade their wives, fiancees, and sisters to join the WAAC, some even threatening divorce or disinheritance. After American servicemen saw WAACs on the job and worked with them, many changed their minds. But by then the damage had already been done.

Another source of adverse public opinion regarding the WAAC took root in cities and towns adjoining military bases. Scurrilous rumors were sometimes started by jealous civilian workers who feared that their jobs were endangered by the arrival of WAACs, or by townspeople annoyed at WAACs who came to town in groups and "took over" favorite restaurants and beauty shops. The growth of many Army posts during this period changed many small communities forever, and the presence of women in uniform for the first time typified these changes.

The most significant cause of anti-WAAC feelings originated with the many enlisted soldiers who, comfortable in their stateside jobs, did not necessarily want to be "freed" for combat. The mothers, wives, sisters, and fiancees of these men were not anxious to see them sent into combat either, and many people believed the WAACs were to blame for this possibility. Such people often found it convenient to believe the worst rumors about female soldiers and sometimes repeated such gossip to their friends and neighbors.

In general, the American press had reported favorably, if rather frivolously, on the WAAC. Although editors devoted an inordinate amount of space to the color of WAAC underwear and the dating question, the press was usually sympathetic to the adjustments made by women to military life and the exciting job and travel opportunities awaiting those who enlisted.

However, there were exceptions. In the well-known column, "Capitol Stuff," carried nationwide by the McCormick newspaper chain, columnist John O'Donnell claimed that a "super-secret War Department policy authorized the issuance of prophylactics to all WAACs before they were sent overseas." O'Donnell insisted that WAAC Director Oveta Culp Hobby was fully aware of and in agreement with this policy. The entire charge was, of course, a fabrication, and O'Donnell was forced to retract his allegation.

The damage done to the WAAC by this column, even with the rapid retraction, was incalculable. WAACs and their relatives were outraged and humiliated. The immediate denials issued by President and Mrs. Roosevelt, Secretary Stimson, and Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell of the Army Service Forces mitigated the feelings of some but did little to alleviate the shock of many. The inevitable general public discussion led Congress to summon Director Hobby to produce statistics on WAAC pregnancies and the frequency of venereal disease. Upon learning of the exceptionally small percent cited, Congress commended Major Hobby and the WAAC.

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The Women 's Army Corps

While press and public discussed the merits of the WAAC, Congress opened hearings in March 1943 on the conversion of the WAAC into the Regular Army. Army leaders asked for the authority to convert the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps into the Women's Army Corps (WAC), which would be part of the Army itself rather than merely serving with it. The WAAC had been an unqualified success, and the Army received more requests for WAACs than it could provide. Although WAACs were desperately needed overseas, the Army could not offer them the protection if captured or benefits if injured which Regular Army soldiers received. The plans for an eventual Allied front in Europe required a substantially larger Army, with many more jobs that women could fill. Establishment of a Women's Army Corps with pay, privileges, and protection equal to that accorded to men was seen as a partial solution to the Army's problem.

On 3 July 1943, after a delay caused by congressional hearings on the slander issues, the WAC bill was signed into law. All WAACs were given a choice of joining the Army as a member of the WAC or returning to civilian life. Although the majority decided to enlist, 25 percent decided to leave the service at the time of conversion.

Women returned home for a variety of reasons. Some were needed at home because of family problems; others had taken a dislike to group living and Army discipline. Some women did not want to wear their uniform while off duty, as required of all members of the armed forces. Women electing to leave also complained that they had not been kept busy or that they had not felt needed in their jobs. Not surprisingly, the majority of those who left had been assigned to the Army Ground Forces, which had been reluctant to accept women in the first place and where the women were often underutilized and ignored. Some 34 percent of the WAACs allocated to the Army Ground Forces decided to leave the service at the time of conversion, compared to 20 percent of those in the Army Air Forces and 25 percent of those in the Army Service Forces.

With the conversion of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps to the Women's Army Corps, former WAAC first, second, and third officers became captains and first and second lieutenants, respectively. Director Hobby was officially promoted to the rank of colonel; WAC service command and theater staff directors were promoted to lieutenant colonels. Company commanders became captains or majors depending upon the size of their command and their time in service. Enlisted women were ranked as master sergeant through corporal and private, the same as their male counterparts.

The conversion of the WAAC to the Women's Army Corps and the "image" controversy of 1943 combined to cause a crisis in WAC recruiting. In desperation, some WAC recruiters lowered the standards for acceptance into the corps, and a few even resorted to subterfuge to obtain the necessary numbers of recruits. In two southern states, recruiters haunted train and bus stations, waiting for women who came to send off husbands and fiancées to war. An Army recruiter would rush up after the soldier had departed and ask the unhappy woman if she wanted to do something to bring her man back sooner. When she answered "yes," the officer asked her to sign a paper. Many of the women thought they were signing a petition. Several days later, these women received notices to report for induction. They arrived at the training centers confused and angry, and many never adjusted to life in the WAC.

The War Department and the WAC leadership recognized the immediate need to step up the recruiting campaign to prevent these occurrences and to increase the number of enrollees who sincerely wanted to aid the war effort. The result was the All-States Campaign and the Job-Station Campaign. In the first, General Marshall asked state governors to assign committees of prominent citizens the task of recruiting statewide companies for the WAC, which would carry their state flags and wear their own state armbands while in training. In theory, state pride would encourage the committees to work diligently to fill their quotas. The Job-Station Campaign allowed recruiters to promise prospective enlistees their choice of duty and assignment location after they completed basic training. Both campaigns were successful, although they caused WAC administrators and training camp officials significant problems dealing with understrength and oversized state companies and with women who could dictate the terms of their assignments after they had completed basic training. Although WAC enlistments never reached the high levels attained early in the war, recruitment maintained a steady pace from the fall of 1943 through early 1945, allowing the War Department to respond to overseas theaters' requests with additional WAC companies.

The WAC Overseas

In July 1943 the first battalion of WACs to reach the European Theater of Operations (ETO) arrived in London. These 557 enlisted women and 19 officers were assigned to duty with the Eighth Air Force. A second battalion of WACs earmarked for Eighth Air Force reached London between 20 September and 18 October. The majority of these women worked as telephone switchboard operators, clerks, typists, secretaries, and motor pool drivers. WAC officers served as executive secretaries, cryptographers, and photo interpreters. The demand for switchboard operators and typists remained so high that in 1944 two classes of approximately forty-five women each were recruited within the theater and received three weeks of basic training in England.

A detachment of 300 WACs served with the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). Originally stationed in Bushey Park, London, these WACs accompanied SHAEF to France and eventually to Germany. As stenographers, typists, translators, legal secretaries, cryptographers, telegraph and teletype operators, radiographers, and general clerks, these women assisted in the planning of D-day and all subsequent operations up to the defeat of Germany. WACs handled highly classified material, worked long hours with few days off, and were exposed to a significant amount of danger.

WAC stenographer Ruth Blanton, assigned to the G-2 (Intelligence) Section of SHAEF, held a typical assignment. Blanton's work consisted of recording and translating reports from the French underground. These reports were received from short-wave radio, decoded, and made available to those responsible for planning the invasion of France. The information detailed the number and location of bridges and railroad facilities sabotaged; the movements and strength of the German troops occupying France; and the activities of German officers. SHAEF staff members compiled files on individual German officers containing information on their education, family, hobbies, and length of service. Each morning Blanton typed the briefing reports the intelligence officers presented to the General Staff. During the afternoon she helped to bring the situation map up to date. This map covered one end of the G-2 office and showed Europe, Asia, and Africa. Battle lines were shown by map buttons listing the units engaged in each section and the enemy units opposing.

SHAEF WACs worked around the clock throughout the planning period for D-day. Plans were changed daily, and WACs typed both the critical changes and the alternate plans and routed them through the Allied command.

During this period the SHAEF compound located in Bushey Park near Kingston on the Thames River came under hostile fire. On 23 February 1944, an incendiary bomb struck the WAC area at Bushey Park, causing substantial damage to the WAC billets, mess hall, and company offices. As soon as the "all clear" sounded, WACs went to work putting out fires and soon had the area orderly and under control.

After D-day, 6 June 1944, German V-1 and V-2 missiles hit Bushey Park and London in increasing numbers. There was little defense against either the V-l, a pilotless aircraft traveling 400 miles an hour and falling to the ground when out of fuel, or the V-2 ballistic missile. On 3 July a V-l "buzz bomb" fell on the quarters of American soldiers and WACs in London. WACs administered first aid to injured soldiers, drove jeeploads of soldiers to the hospitals, and operated a mess in their own damaged building for civilian relief workers. The attacks stopped only after Allied ground forces cleared the German launch sites off the Cherbourg Peninsula.

On 14 July 1944, exactly one year after the first contingent of WACs landed in England and thirty-eight days after D-day, the first forty-nine WACs to arrive in France landed in Normandy. Assigned to the Forward Echelon, Communications Zone, they immediately took over switchboards recently vacated by the Germans and worked in tents, cellars, prefabricated huts, and switchboard trailers.

In February 1945 a battalion of black WACs received its long awaited overseas assignment. Organized as the 6888th Central Postal Battalion and commanded by Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Charity Adams, these 800 women were stationed in Birmingham, England, for three months, moved to Rouen, France, and finally settled in Paris. The battalion was responsible for the redirection of mail to all U.S. personnel in the European Theater of Operations (including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, civilians, and Red Cross workers), a total of over seven million people. When mail could not be delivered to the address on the face of the envelope, it was sent to the Postal Directory to be redirected. The 6888th kept an updated information card on each person in the theater. Some personnel at the front moved frequently, often requiring several information updates per month. The WACs worked three eight-hour shifts seven days a week to clear out the tremendous backlog of Christmas mail.

Each shift averaged 65,000 pieces of mail. Although the women's workload was heavy, their spirits were high because they realized how important their work was in keeping up morale at the front.

Three women of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) of the 9th Air Force walking in the countryside, sightseeing somewhere in Europe.

In general, WACs in the European theater, like those in the North African and Mediterranean theaters, held a limited range of job assignments: 35 percent worked as stenographers and typists, 26 percent were clerks, and 22 percent were in communications work. Only 8 percent were assigned jobs considered unusual for women: mechanics, draftsmen, interpreters, and weather observers. Some WACs were so anxious to serve overseas that they were willing to give up promotions and more interesting work assignments for the privilege. By V-E Day there were 7,600 WACs throughout the European theater stationed across England, France, and the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, and Heidelberg.

In the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), the need for WACs became acute by mid-1944. WACs were stationed at Hollandia and Oro Bay, New Guinea, and at Leyte and Manila in the Philippines. Women who served in this theater faced numerous difficulties, only a few of which were inherent to the geographic area.

Because the Southwest Pacific Area Command was one of the last theaters to request and receive WACs, skilled office workers were scarce. Consequently the theater was sent numerous drivers and mechanics, many of whom were retrained on the spot as clerks and typists. Eventually 70 percent of the 5,500 WACs who served in the theater worked in administrative and office positions, 12 percent were in communications, 9 percent worked in stockrooms and supply depots, and 7 percent were assigned to motor transport pools.

The women learned that office work far behind the front lines was frequently crucial to the success of men in the field. T4g. Patricia Gibson was one of those who could see a direct relationship between her assignment and the war effort. Gibson prepared the loading requisitions for several vessels involved in successful amphibious landings against the Japanese at Morotai and Leyte. T. Sgt. Ethel Cahill was responsible for receiving and coordinating requests from the field forces for both personnel and equipment. Her carefully kept personnel records enabled her to promptly deploy properly trained and equipped personnel to combat forces as needed. WACs assigned to supply depots kept records which allowed them to send troops in the field the proper types and amounts of ammunition, motorized vehicles, and gasoline.

Many WAC officers worked as mail censors and became very skilled at this sensitive work. "Women seem to have an uncanny knack for discovering the tricky codes soldiers devise for telling their wives where they are," claimed the WAC officer's supervisor, reflecting the prevalent belief that men and women had different abilities. Censors on the job over a year became susceptible to depression because of the endless bitter complaints and reiterated obscenities in the majority of letters home. Supervisors suggested that women were "more sensitive than men by nature" and should not be given this type of work in the future.

Clothing requisitions posed severe problems in the SWPA. The WACs arrived in winter uniforms complete with ski pants and earmuffs (both of which would have been welcomed by the women in France) and heavy twill coveralls issued while en route. The coveralls proved too hot for the climate and many women developed skin diseases. The theater commander insisted the women wear trousers as protection against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but the khaki trousers worn by the troops were scarce. Heat and humidity kept clothing wet from perspiration, and due to supply problems most women did not have enough clothing and shoes to allow laundered apparel the chance to dry before being worn again.

Army Lt flight nurse with a folding stretcher standing in the doorway of an air evacuation transport aircraft.

WACs in the SWPA had a highly restricted lifestyle. Fearing incidents between the women and the large number of male troops in the area, some of whom had not seen an American woman for eighteen months, the theater headquarters directed that WACs (as well as Army nurses) be locked within barbed-wire compounds at all times, except when escorted by armed guards to work or to some approved recreation. No leaves or passes were allowed. The women chafed under these restrictions, believing they were being treated like children or criminals. Male soldiers complained frequently in their letters home that WACs were not successfully "releasing men for combat" in the Southwest Pacific because it took so many GIs to guard them. The WACs in their turn resented the guards, believing them unnecessary and insulting.

After the WACs had been in the SWPA for approximately nine months, the number of evacuations for health reasons jumped from 98 per thousand to 267 per thousand, which was significantly higher than that for men. The high rate of WAC illness was directly related to the theater's supply problems. Among the leading causes of illness was dermatitis, a skin disease aggravated by heat, humidity, and the heavy winter clothing the WACs wore in the theater. The malaria rate for women was disproportionately high because WACs lacked the lightweight, yet protective clothing issued to the men and often failed to properly wear their heavier uniforms. Pneumonia and bronchitis were aggravated by a shortage of dry footgear.

Tropical custom imposed a lengthy working day on the WACs, with time off in the middle of the day to eat and rest. Many worked through the day, believing it was too hot during those hours to do either. Those who skipped meals often became run down.

Many women lost a significant amount of weight during their year's stay in the Pacific. Although the WACs performed well in the Southwest Pacific under daunting conditions, they did so at considerable personal cost. Regardless of the high incidence of illness, WAC morale remained high.

In July 1944, 400 WACs arrived in the China-Burma-India theater to serve with the Army Air Forces. Theater commander Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell had successfully blocked the employment of WACs in his theater prior to this time. He finally allowed Army Air Forces commander Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer to obtain a contingent of WACs on the condition that they would serve only with his units. WACs assigned to these areas served as stenographers, typists, file clerks, and telephone and telegraph operators.

One month after V-E Day, 8 May 1945, WAC Director Oveta Culp Hobby resigned from the corps for personal reasons. Colonel Hobby's dedicated and skillful administration was the primary force behind the wartime success of the organization from its formation and overall philosophy through its rapid growth, the conversion from the WAAC to the WAC, and its accomplishments overseas. Hobby recommended as her successor Lt. Col. Westray Battle Boyce, Deputy Director of the WAC and former Staff Director of the North African Theater. Colonel Boyce was appointed WAC Director in July 1945 and oversaw the demobilization of the WAC after V-J Day in August 1945.

The Army acknowledged the contributions of the Women's Army Corps during World War II by granting numerous individual corps members various awards. WAC Director Oveta Culp Hobby received the Distinguished Service Medal. Sixty-two WACs received the Legion of Merit, awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of duty. These awards went to WAC Deputy Director Lt. Col. Westray B. Boyce and the WAC staff directors of every theater of operations in which WACs were employed, as well as enlisted women such as Sgt. Maxine J. Rohkar, who received her award for "devotion to duty in administering classified documents pertaining to operations at Salerno and Anzio," and Sgt. Lettie F. Ewing, who "initiated and put into motion new methods of processing quartermaster requisitions."

Three WACs received the Air Medal, including Sgt. Henrietta Williams, assigned to an aerial reconnaissance mapping team in the China-Burma-India theater. Ten women received the Soldier's Medal for heroic actions (not involving combat). One such incident occurred at Port Moresby, New Guinea, when an oil stove in the women's barracks caught fire and three WACs brought the fire under control by smothering it, sustaining severe burns in the process. Sixteen women received the Purple Heart, awarded during World War II to soldiers injured due to enemy action. The majority of the WACs received their injuries from exploding V-l bombs while stationed in London. The Bronze Star was awarded to 565 women for meritorious service overseas. A total of 657 WACs received medals and citations at the end of the war.

Much of the Women's Army Corps was demobilized along with the rest of the Army starting immediately after V-E Day in Europe. Not all the women were allowed to return home immediately, however. In order to accomplish its occupation mission, the Army granted its commanders the authority to retain some specialists, including WACs, in place as long as they were needed. Within six months the Army bowed to public and political pressure and sent most of its soldiers home. On 31 December 1946, WAC strength was under 10,000, the majority of whom held stateside duty and who hoped to be allowed to stay in the Army.

Earlier in 1946, the Army asked Congress for the authority to establish the Women's Army Corps as a permanent part of the Regular Army. This is the greatest single indication of the success of the wartime WAC. The Army acknowledged a need for the skills society believed women could provide. Although the bill was delayed in Congress for two years by political conservatives, it finally became law on 12 June 1948. With the passage of this bill, the Women's Army Corps became a separate corps of the Regular Army. It remained part of the U.S. Army organization until 1978, when its existence as a separate corps was abolished and women were fully assimilated into all but the combat branches of the Army.


Ultimately, more than 150,000 American women served in the Army during World War II. The overall philosophy and purpose of the Women's Army Corps was to allow women to aid the American war effort directly and individually. The prevailing philosophy was that women could best support the war effort by performing noncombatant military jobs for which they were already trained. This allowed the Army to make the most efficient use of available labor and free men to perform essential combat duties.

The concept of women in uniform was difficult for American society of the 1940s to accept. In a 1939 Army staff study which addressed the probability that women would serve in some capacity with the Army, a male officer wrote that "women's probable jobs would include those of hostess, librarians, canteen clerks, cooks and waitresses, chauffeurs, messengers, and strolling minstrels." No mention was made in this report of the highly skilled office jobs which the majority of WACs eventually held, because such positions often carried with them significant responsibility and many people doubted that women were capable of handling such jobs.

Although women in key leadership roles both within and outside the government realized that American women were indeed capable of contributing substantially to the war effort, even they accepted the prevailing stereotypes which portrayed women as best suited for tasks which demanded precision, repetition, and attention to detail. These factors, coupled with the post-Depression fear that women in uniform might take jobs from civilians, limited the initial range of employment for the first wave of women in the Army.

Traditional restrictions on female employment in American society were broken during World War II by the critical labor shortage faced by all sectors of the economy. As "Rosie the Riveter" demonstrated her capabilities in previously male-dominated civilian industries, women in the Army broke the stereotypes which restricted them, moving into positions well outside of traditional roles. Overcoming slander and conservative reaction by many Americans, a phenomenon shared by their British and Canadian sisters in uniform, American women persisted in their service and significantly contributed to the war effort. The 1943 transition from auxiliary status to the Women's Army Corps was de facto recognition of their valuable service.

The Women's Army Corps was successful because its mission, to aid the United States in time of war, was part of a larger national effort that required selfless sacrifice from all Americans. The war effort initiated vast economic and social changes, and indelibly altered the role of women in American society.

Today's Educational Sources and suggestions for further reading:
1 posted on 03/07/2004 4:41:49 AM PST by snippy_about_it
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To: All

Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization.

Tribute to a Generation - The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004.

Thanks to CholeraJoe for providing this link.

Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.

Thanks to quietolong for providing this link.

Iraq Homecoming Tips

~ Thanks to our Veterans still serving, at home and abroad. ~ Freepmail to Ragtime Cowgirl | 2/09/04 | FRiend in the USAF

The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul

Click on Hagar for
"The FReeper Foxhole Compiled List of Daily Threads"

2 posted on 03/07/2004 4:42:26 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Don W; Poundstone; Wumpus Hunter; StayAt HomeMother; Ragtime Cowgirl; bulldogs; baltodog; ...

FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

Good Sunday Morning Everyone

If you would like added to our ping list let us know.

3 posted on 03/07/2004 4:43:13 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good Sunday morning Snippy.
4 posted on 03/07/2004 4:47:05 AM PST by Aeronaut (Peace: in international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.)
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To: snippy_about_it

Today's classic warship, Kentucky (BB-66)

Iowa class battleship

As designed:
displacement. 45,000
length. 887'3"
beam. 108'3"
draft. 28'11"
speed. 33k.
complement. 1,921
armament. 9 16", 20 6", 80 40mm., 49 20mm.

Kentucky was built at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, but never completed. Her keel was first laid in March 1942. Construction was suspended in June of that year and not resumed until December 1944. Work was again suspended 17 February 1947 when the battleship was 72.1 percent complete. The incomplete hull was launched in January 1950 to make Kentucky's building dock available for other uses.

Though several schemes were entertained for completing Kentucky as a guided-missile ship, none were pursued. Her bow was removed in 1956 to repair USS Wisconsin (BB-64). Her name was struck from the Navy List 9 June 1958; and her uncompleted hulk was sold for scrapping to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md., 31 October.

However, Kentucky's engines remain in service to this day, powering the fast combat support ships USS Sacramento (AOE-1) and USS Camden (AOE-2).

5 posted on 03/07/2004 5:01:25 AM PST by aomagrat
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To: snippy_about_it
Good Sunday morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole.

It's a nice morning but a bit chilly. We had a cold front move through last night.

6 posted on 03/07/2004 5:04:02 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it
Good post. One of my Aunts was a WAC in the South Pacific. It was a different time. Everyone wanted to win and was willing to get involved. My dad was Navy, mom worked in an ordinance plant, all three uncles and the aforementioned aunt were Army.
7 posted on 03/07/2004 5:06:04 AM PST by Aeronaut (Peace: in international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.)
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To: Aeronaut
Thanks for sharing Aeronaut. My Mom was a WAVE, my dad and all his brothers were Army. You had to be 21 to join the WAVEs so in the meantime, waiting for her 21st birthday she volunteered sewing buttons and names on uniforms. It was indeed a "war effort" and back then everyone was involved.

Personally I think the opportunity to have the nation join in was available after 9-11 but our leaders didn't give us the chance. I'm sure we could have raised thousands of volunteers to patrol areas at home, write letters and make things for the troops, and whatever was needed. Folks were crying out to help and 'they' let the moment slip away and instead we have only bureaucracies and businesses handling things.

I know here on FR and other folks do contribute, especially for our troops but it could have been so much bigger.

my 2 cent Sunday rant. ;-)
8 posted on 03/07/2004 5:39:14 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: aomagrat
Good morning aomagrat, good to see you.

Construction was suspended in June of that year and not resumed until December 1944.

Does anyone know why?

9 posted on 03/07/2004 5:41:28 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: E.G.C.
Good morning EGC. Cool and partly cloudy here but the wind has stopped so that's good.
10 posted on 03/07/2004 5:42:32 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
[God] changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings. —Daniel 2:21

We comprehend Him not,
Yet earth and heaven tell,
God sits as sovereign on the throne,
And ruleth all things well

The most powerful ruler is but a pawn in the hand of the King of kings.

11 posted on 03/07/2004 6:01:46 AM PST by The Mayor (There is no such thing as insignificant service for Christ.)
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To: The Mayor
Good morning Mayor. Coffee smells good this morning. ;-)
12 posted on 03/07/2004 6:25:51 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All

Good morning everyone.

13 posted on 03/07/2004 6:27:01 AM PST by Soaring Feather (~ I do Poetry and party among the stars~)
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To: snippy_about_it
Hi Snippy, on my 3rd cup and goin to Church!
14 posted on 03/07/2004 6:34:19 AM PST by The Mayor (There is no such thing as insignificant service for Christ.)
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To: bentfeather
Good morning feather. How's the weather?

Hey, that rhymes. ;-)

15 posted on 03/07/2004 6:47:36 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it; Colonel_Flagg
Good morning snippy, the temp this morning is 30F. It is not raining, the sky is clear, looks to be a good day.

I just looked in at the Weather Channel, ooops snow coming tomorrow. :-(

Looks like we all are going to be getting some snow. Poor Colonel Flagg. Poor snippy, poor bentfeather.
16 posted on 03/07/2004 6:54:50 AM PST by Soaring Feather (~ I do Poetry and party among the stars~)
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To: snippy_about_it
snippy, I am reading todays thread with great interest. My aunt was a WAC. My uncle did boot camp at Paris Island, he met his bride to be there in South Carolina.

17 posted on 03/07/2004 7:10:14 AM PST by Soaring Feather (~ I do Poetry and party among the stars~)
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To: snippy_about_it
On This Day In History

Birthdates which occurred on March 07:
1602 Kano Tanju Japanese painter (palaces, portraits)
1659 Henry Purcell English organist/composer (Dido & Aeneas)
1693 Clement XIII [Carlo Rezzonico], Pope (1758-69)
1707 Stephen Hopkins (Governor-RI) signed Declaration of Independence
1799 Frantisek L Celakovsky Czechoslovakian poet (national anthem, folk song)
1827 Henry DeLamar Clayton Major General (Confederate Army), died in 1889
1831 John Bratton [Old Reliable], US physician/Confederate Brigadier General
1832 Orlando Metcalfe Poe Brigadier General (Union volunteers), died in 1895
1837 Henry Draper Virginia, astro-spectro-photographer (Moon, Jupiter)
1849 Luther Burbank Lancaster MA, horticulturist
1850 Tomás G Masaryk Czechoslovakia, Father/President of Czechoslovakia (1918-35)
1866 Paul Ernst writer
1904 Reinhard Heydrich German/Nazi Governor (Bohemen/Moravia (Lidice))
1914 Morton DaCosta Philadelphia PA, director (Island of Love, Music Man)
1930 Anthony Armstrong-Jones [Earl of Snowdon] London England, photographer
1934 Willard Scott weather forecaster (Today Show)
1938 Janet Guthrie race car driver, 1st woman to race in Indy 500
1940 Daniel J Travanti Kenosha WI, actor (Frank Furillo-Hill St Blues)
1942 Michael Eisner Mount Kisko NY, CEO (Walt Disney)
1942 Paul Preuss US, sci-fi author (Medusa Encounter, Starfire)
1942 Tammy Faye Bakker gospel singer/ex-wife of Jim Bakker (PTL)
1944 Townes Van Zandt musician (Poncho & Lefty)
1946 Matthew Fisher London, rock keyboardist (Procol Harum)
1946 Peter Wolf rock singer (J Giels Band-Centerfold, Freeze Frame)
1950 Franco Harris NFL fullback (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1952 Ernie Isley US vocalist/guitarist (It's Your Thing, Heat is On)
1952 Lynn Swann NFL receiver (Pittsburgh Steelers)/sportscaster
1960 Ivan Lendl Czechoslovakia, tennis pro (US Open 1985-87)

Deaths which occurred on March 07:
322 -BC- Aristotle dies
0161 Antoninus Pius [Titus Aurelius], emperor of Rome (138-61), dies at 74
1040 Harold I King of England (1035-40), dies
1111 Bohemund I of Tarente French ruler of Antioch, dies
1274 St Thomas Aquinas Italian thelogian dies at 48
1724 Innocent XIII [Michelangiolo dei Conti], Pope (1721-24), dies at 68
1862 Ben McCulloch US Confederate Brigadier-General (KIA), dies at 50
1862 John Baillie McIntosh US General-Major (Union Army), dies at 32
1862 William Slack US Confederate Brigadier-General, dies in battle
1941 Günther Prien German commandant (U-47), dies in battle
1945 Adolf Bartels German writer/racist, dies at 82
1951 Ali Razmara Shah of Iran (1950-51), assassinated
1959 Hinsdale Smith developer of roll-down auto windows, dies at 88
1968 Yuri Aleksayevich Gagarin USSR cosmonaut (Vostok I), dies at 31(1st man in space)
1985 Victor W Farris inventor of paper milk carton, etc, dies
1986 Jacob K Javits (Senator-Republican-NY), dies in Palm Beach FL at 81
1988 Robert Livingston actor (Lone Ranger), dies at 83 of emphysema


[REMAINS RETURNED 6/21/88 ID 9/29/89]

POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by
the P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.

On this day...
1138 Conrad II von Hohenstaufen re-elected German king
1530 King Henry VIII's divorce request is denied by the Pope Henry then declares that he, not the Pope, is supreme head of England's church
1573 Turkey & Venice signs peace treaty
1644 Massachusetts establishes 1st 2-chamber legislature in colonies
1778 Captain James Cook 1st sights Oregon coast, at Yaquina Bay
1801 Massachusetts enacts 1st state voter registration law
1843 1st Catholic Governor in US, Edward Kavanagh of Maine, takes office
1847 US General Scott occupies Vera Cruz Mexico
1850 Daniel Webster endorses Compromise of 1850
1851 Poll tax levied on Russo-Polish Jews entering Austrian Galicia ends
1854 Charles Miller patents 1st US sewing machine to stitch buttonholes
1857 Baseball decides 9 innings constitutes an official game, not 9 runs
1862 Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, Day 2, Generals McCulloch & McIntosh killed
1865 Battles round Kinston NC
1870 Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1st pro BB team, begin 8-mo tour of Midwest & East
1872 -8º F in Boston MA
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patents telephone
1896 Gilbert & Sullivan's last operette "Grand Duke" premieres in London
1900 Battle at Poplar Grove South Africa, President Kruger flees
1900 Stanley Cup: Montréal Shamrocks sweep Halifax Crescents in 2 games
1902 Boers beat British troop in Tweebosch Transvaal
1906 Finnish Senate accepts universal suffrage, except for poor
1908 Cincinnati Mayor Mark Breith stood before city council & announced that, "women are not physically fit to operate automobiles"
1911 US sent 20,000 troops to Mexican border
1911 Willis Farnsworth, Petaluma CA, patents coin-operated locker
1912 Roald Amundsen announces discovery of the South Pole
1917 1st jazz record "Dixie Jazz Band One Step", recorded by Nick LaRocca Original Dixieland Jazz Band, released by RCA Victor in Camden NJ
1918 President Wilson authorizes US Army's Distinguished Service Medal
1921 Red Army under Trotsky attack sailors of Kronstadt
1926 1st transatlantic telephone call (London-New York)
1927 Earthquake measuring 8 on Richter scale strikes Tango, Japan
1932 Riots at Ford-factory Dearborn MI, kills 4
1933 Game of "Monopoly" invented
1935 Saar incorporated into Germany
1936 Hitler breaks Treaty of Versailles, sends troops to Rhineland
1937 Bucharin, Jagoda & Rykov pushed out of CPSU in USSR
1939 Glamour magazine begins publishing
1939 Guy Lombardo & Royal Canadians 1st record "Auld Lang Syne"
1940 Ray Steele beats B Nagurski in St Louis, to become wrestling champion
1941 3rd largest snowfall in New York NY history (18.1")
1942 15 Mk-VB Spitfires reach Malta
1942 1st cadets graduated from flying school at Tuskegee
1943 General-Major Patton arrives in Djebel Kouif Tunisia
1945 Cologne taken by allied armies
1945 US 9th Armoured Division attacks Remagen Germany, crosses Rhine
1945 Yugoslavia government of Tito forms
1951 Ezzard Charles wins 15-round heavyweight decision against Jersey Joe Walcott
1954 Russia wins title in their 1st international ice hockey competition
1955 7th Emmy Awards: Make Room for Daddy, Danny Thomas & Loretta Young
1955 Baseball commissioner Ford Frick says he favors legalization of spitter
1955 Mary Martin as "Peter Pan" televised
1959 1st aviator to fly a million miles (1.61 Mkm) in a jet (MC Garlow)
1962 Beatles made their broadcasting debut on BBC radio
1965 Alabama state troopers & 600 black protestors clash in Selma
1966 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1967 Clark Gesner's musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" premieres in New York NY
1967 Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa begins 8-year jail sentence at Lewisburg Federal Prison for defrauding the union & jury tampering (commuted Dec 23, 1971)
1969 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan/Semipalitinsk USSR
1970 WXOW TV channel 19 in La Crosse WI (ABC) begins broadcasting
1971 Egypt refuses to renew the Suez ceasefire
1973 Comet (Lubos) Kohoutek discovered at Hamburg Observatory
1974 "Monitor" (US Civil War Ship) restored at Cape Hatteras NC
1975 Senate revises filibuster rule, allows 60 senators to limit debate
1976 Morocco & Mauretania break diplomatic relations with Algeria
1977 Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party wins elections
1977 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin meets President Carter
1979 Warren Giles & Hack Wilson selected to baseball Hall of Fame
1981 1st homicide at Disneyland, 18 year old is stabbed to death
1983 TNN (The Nashville Network) begins on Cable TV
1985 IBM-PC DOS Version 3.1 (update) released
1986 Wayne Gretzky breaks own NHL season record with 136th assist
1988 Jim Abbott, 1-handed pitcher, wins 58th James E Sullivan Award
1989 Iran drops diplomatic relations with Britain over Salman Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses"
1989 Partial eclipse of the Sun (Hawaii, NW North America, Greenland)
1994 ANC chief Nelson Mandela rejects demand by white right-wingers for separate homeland in South Africa
1994 Charles Taylor resigns as President of Liberia
1994 US Navy issues 1st permanent order assigning women on combat ship
1996 1st surface photos of Pluto (photographed by Hubble Space Telescope)
1997 5 sue Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, because his smoking has violated the country's constitution guaranteeing a wholesome life
1997 After a week of embarrassing disclosures about White House fund raising, President Clinton told a news conference, "I'm not sure, frankly," whether he'd also made calls for campaign cash. But he insisted that nothing had undercut his pledge to have the highest ethical standards ever.
1997 A U.S. veto killed an otherwise unanimous UN Security Council resolution condemning new Jewish settlements in Arab East Jerusalem.

Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

California : Burbank Day/Bird & Arbor Day (1849)
Laos : Veteran's Day
US : Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week Begins
US : Federal Employees Recognition Week Begins
US : Help Someone See Week Begins
US : National Procrastinators Week Ends(Oh well maybe next year)
National Poetry Month

Religious Observances
Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic : Commemoration of St Perpetua & her companions, martyrs
old Roman Catholic, Lutheran : Commemoration of St Thomas Aquinas, confessor/dr [or 1321]
Jewish : Purim (feast of Lot) (Adar 14, 5753 AM)

Religious History
1638 Controversial colonial churchwoman Anne Hutchinson, 47, and nineteen other exiles from the Massachusetts Bay Colony settled in Rhode Island, at the site of modern Portsmouth.
1782 Ohio Territory militiamen began a two_day massacre of the Moravian Indian town of Gnadenhutten (modern New Philadelphia, Ohio). In all, 96 Christian Indians of the Delaware tribe were slaughtered, in retaliation for Indian raids made elsewhere in the Ohio Territory.
1802 In Washington, D.C., the first Baptist church was organized with six charter members. Their first pastor Obadiah Brown was hired five years later, and Brown remained in that pulpit while involving himself in every important local Baptist program for the next 43 years!
1825 Birth of Alfred Edersheim, English biblical scholar. Converted to Christianity from Judaism before age 20, Edersheim later published "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" (1883A90), a Christian classic still in print!
1867 Birth of Peter Cameron Scott, founder of the Africa Inland Mission. In 1895, Scott led the first band of missionaries to reach Kenya. He died in Africa the following year, at 29, of blackwater fever. Over 700 AIM missionaries have since followed in Scott's footsteps.

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.

Thought for the day :
"If you continually give you will continually have."

Rules For Diet...
If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.

New State Slogans...
Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedy's Don't Own It Yet.

Astounding Fact # 817,993,736,612...
Almonds and pistachios are the only nuts mentioned in the Bible.
18 posted on 03/07/2004 7:11:19 AM PST by Valin (America is the land mine between barbarism and civilization.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning Snippy.

Nice to see the women who served during the war covered. Thanks
19 posted on 03/07/2004 7:24:58 AM PST by SAMWolf (Wedding: A funeral where you get to smell your own flowers.)
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To: Aeronaut
Morning Aeronaut.
20 posted on 03/07/2004 7:25:26 AM PST by SAMWolf (Wedding: A funeral where you get to smell your own flowers.)
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