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  < Back to Table Of Contents  < Back to Topic: They Served

article number 737
article date 09-27-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
We Enter War . . . Women Enter Jobs and the Service, 1942 Yank Magazine Articles
by Yank magazine writers
   

Straighten that Wrist

   
STRAIGHTEN THAT WRIST, soldier! Gals modeling WAAC uniforms make with the hand salute and the pretty picture alle sammee timme.. L. to r., the uniforms are: officer’s O.D.; officer’s khaki: private’s O.D.; same material as ours.

WAAC To Take 13,000 Women

WASKINGTON. Thirteen thousand American women will be in the Army by the end of this year.

And the figure will be around 17,000 by June, 1943, according to Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby, director of the new Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She says that 375 WAAC officer candidates will start the ball rolling at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, July 20.

Around the end of July, the WAACS will start recruiting their first privates, who will go into uniform Aug. 24.

Mrs. Hobby announced that the first officer candidates class will include 40 Negro women who will command three companies of Negro WAACS in clerical and administrative work at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., next fall.

WAAC headquarters here has selected 1,300 officer candidates for the school at Fort Des Moines. They will go there in classes of 350 at separate intervals during the summer and autumn months.

Wife Just Joined the WAAC’s

   
CARTOON: “Sorry about tonight, boys. The wife just joined the WAAC’s, and now I’m on K. P.!”

Olga, the Vital Cog

By Cpl. Marion Hargrove.



NOMINATED for this week’s grand prize—a box of ginger cookies and a one-way ticket to Moosejaw, Saskatchewan—is little Miss Olga McCleery who works at the quartermaster laundry.

Miss McCleery is a vital cog in the war effort.

She is the lady who punches all the holes in the tops of soldiers’ socks. Her assistant ties the socks together with heavy cord in knots that cannot be cut, neither can they be untied. If she is a good assistant and devises better and harder knots. she may some day be promoted and permitted to punch the holes.

But we are not talking of the assistant. We are talking of Miss McCleery herself.

Miss McCleery’s work is hard. Sometimes a sock comes back to the laundry so many times that there are dozens and dozens of holes punched in it. Miss McCleery has to look and look to find a place to punch another hole. These holes are necessary for tying the socks together.

Miss McCleery is a cheery and a conscientious worker. She likes to punch holes. Before she started working for the quartermaster laundry she was a vital cog in the telephone exchange in town. She was the lady whose voice came over the wire saying, "I’m sorry: your three minutes are up."

Let us praise the work of Miss McCleery, If she continues to do the work she is doing now, the quartermaster laundry will give her a promotion.

They will give her a white collar job.

She will be in charge of the Element of Surprise Department. All she will have to do all day long is to take drab white undershirts from people’s laundry and substitute cotton polo shirts that say "U. S. Army—Fort Leonard wood" on the front.

After the war, she can go back to the telephone exchange and tell customers their three minutes are up.

   

Outward Bound

   
OUTWARD BOUND. And they exit with a smile. U. S. Army nurses board a vessel at a homeland port, off to take care of you . . . and you. (Now soldier, remember she’s not Babe, but “Miss”).

WAACS

   
WAACS. In the Army now, and quite happy about it, too. Following New York ceremony at which these pretties were sworn in as officer candidates for Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, things are talked over with a couple of lads from “This is the Army” show.

Inspection

   
INSPECTION And it’s working both ways as Major James Brower passes by a row of WAACS who made the grade in Los Angeles. (If you ask us, he’s seeing more than they are.) Gals will be trained at Fort Des Moines.

Basic Training

   
BASIC TRAINING. War has put a dent in the number of male lifeguards on the Pacific coast, so these honeys are being trained as replacements. Here they learn the hair-carry method of towing a victim to safety.

Princeton Girl

   
PRINCETON GIRL. Yes, we said Princeton. For the first time in many years the Old Tiger is welcoming women to its halls for map-making course. Dorothy Brown examines an aerial photo-taker. She’ll work for U. S.

Heavenly Nurse

   
HEAVENLY NURSE. Ann Cutler of Needham, Mass., is not satisfied with being just a nurse. She is also a flier and now has joined state’s parachute corps of doctors and nurses.

Sweet 17—But Cool

Seventeen-year-old Jeannette Fanelli has replaced a draft-hooked helper on her dad’s ice route.

“Guess I’ll be the first ice-woman in Philadelphia,” laughed the 127-pound redhead. “I’m starting with the 10-cent cake and will work up to bigger things. I’ll visit 100 homes a day and I think it’s a swell job for a girl.”

   

No, Mabel, This Army Has No Window Shades

FORT DES MOINES—When the first shipment of women arrived here to start their WAAC training course. Fort Des Moines discovered that its barracks, like all army barracks, had no shades on the windows. There weren’t any on the post. either, because the army never bothered about privacy before.

Embarrassed officers had the ladies’ windows covered with sapolio while they figured out the problem.

Our Army in Skirts Begins To Train As You and You Did

FORT DES MOINES, Ia—The first women soldiers in the history of the U. S., eight hundred Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps recruits (including 440 officers and 350 Auxiliaries or Privates) are in training here, rolling out for reveille every morning at 5:45, lining up at the dispensary for shots, taking close order drill and lectures and more close order drill, eating G.I. food.

The trays in the foot lockers, lined up along the barracks floors, are filled with nail polish, metal curlers, powder, bobby pins and vanishing cream.

Instead of the old G.I. barber shop, there’s a beauty parlor with a staff of 20 hair-dressers and manicurists.

The magazine racks in the day room have the latest issues of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in place of the familiar Western and Detective Stories.

Bras Are T.B.A.

And as for the supply room— Well, T.B.A. for individuals in this Army outfit includes:
◦ three brassieres;
◦ three slips:
◦ two girdles;
◦ panties, rayon and
◦ panties, wool;
◦ four shields, dress; skirt, gabardine;
◦ skirt, khaki;
◦ skirt, wool, dark O.D.;
◦ skirt, wool, light O.D.;
◦ five shirtwaists, cotton;
◦ four stockings, cotton;
◦ four stockings, rayon;
◦ apron;
◦ bathrobe, cotton;
◦ pajama, cotton, and
◦ pajama, flannelette.

But the WAAC equipment also includes:
◦ one suit, working;
◦ one can, meat;
◦ one canteen;
◦ one cover, canteen;
◦ two bags, barracks;
◦ one cup, one fork, one spoon, one knife,
◦ one first aid packet:
◦ one helmet, steel, and
◦ one belt, pistol.

The one belt, pistol, probably won’t be worn much because the WAACS don’t plan to carry firearms. But it’s on their list of equipment, just in case.

   
HOW DOES IT FIT?—Col. Don Faith, commander of the WAAC training school, welcomes the first group of women ever to wear uniforms of U. S. Army soldiers.

May Be 75,000

The class of 800 women in training here are the first batch of the 7,000 WAACS that the War Department expects to have in the Army by next Dec. 7, the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor. But there may be more than that. Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, sponsor of the original Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps bill, says that an executive order authorizing 75,000 women in uniform as soon as possible awaits President Roosevelt’s signature.

This opening group of feminine soldiers represents an accurate cross section of American women. Six of the first 59 were colored. There were blondes brunettes, red-haired and a few frankly grey.

A couple of typical WAACS are Mrs. Joan Marshall, an attractive, tall blonde of 34 who used to be in the beauty parlor business back in Superior, Mont., and Miss Elizabeth Johnston, 33, a high school teacher from Union. W. Va. There were also two sisters among the early arrivals—Edith and Lillian Toffaletti of Tampa, Fla.

Women Are People

Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby, the pretty Texan leader of the WAACS, rushed from her office in Washington to look things over. She was wearing a uniform with silver eagles but her rank of director corresponds to that of an Army major.

The man in charge of the training and care and feeding of these new women soldiers is Col. Don C. Faith, a nice guy who describes himself as “a 90 day wonder from the last war.”

Drilling, long hours and the lack of privacy, and army chow (not much like the usual tuna fish salad sandwich and milk shake luncheon) are bound to be a big change for the girls but Faith is not worrying about psychological readjustments or breakdowns.

“I believe women are people,” he says.

And then he added, thoughtfully. “You know, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if women turned out to have more endurance over the long haul than men.”

No Tea Party

Faith has faith in his women’s auxiliary. “This isn’t a jamboree, a crusade or a feminist movement.” he explains. “The WAAC is a military project. I am completely sold on the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps because we’re going to require a big army in this war.

“Large numbers of soldiers are doing non-tactical organization work in the United States that has to be done by uniformed personnel. If we can provide trained, uniformed women to replace able-bodied soldiers in these jobs, we can release one potential source of manpower for the prosecution of the war.”

By that he means more men on the firing line.

The girls didn’t have much trouble adjusting themselves at Fort Des Moines. They arrived in trucks and marched to the barracks in double file, grinning a little foolishly. But so does any G.I. on his first day in the Army.

“No, ladies,” said the sergeant patiently. “Don’t put them dainty civilian dresses in the foot lockers—yes, foot lockers, not trunks. Hang ‘em in the wall lockers. And hang ‘em neat, too.”

   
HANG ’EM NEATLY—Unlike other G.I.’s, the WAACS can keep civvies and wear them on furloughs or week end passes. Mildred Von Horn of East Cleveland, Ohio, arranges her dresses in wall locker.

The girls will be allowed to keep civilian clothes and wear them in town or on leave. When in uniform, they will salute male officers. And male enlisted men will salute WAAC officers, too.

Their pay is $21 for the first four months and $30 thereafter, just what we used to get. But Congresswoman Rogers, mother of the WAACS, is trying to get them raised to regular army wage scale.

   
WAACS GET SHOT, TOO—Gladys Marson arrives at Fort Des Moines to start training and they rush her right to the dispensary for the old familiar typhoid shot.

Family Enlistment

   
FAMILY ENLISTMENT. Mrs. Zelma Hanson and her son Richard, 18, take the Army oath together in Los Angeles, Cal. CoI. M. B. Andrus administers it. Mrs. Hanson is seeking a WAAC commission at Fort Des Moines, Ia. Richard reported to Fort MacArthur, Cal.

WAAC’s Are Coming to Camp

   
CARTOON: “What makes you think the WAAC’s are coming to this camp?”

This Army’s O.K. But WAACS Like Table Linen on the Sabbath

FORT DES MOINES, Ia.—When reveille sounded Monday morning, ending the first week end leave for the lady soldiers of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, not a single girl was Over The Hill.

And the first sergeant didn’t have any telegrams or telephone messages from Miss Soandso, saying that her mother was sick or she had missed the last bus from Haystack Junction and wouldn’t be able to make it until noon, either.

Look For Table Cloths

The WAACS were too tired from the first week of drilling to spend Sunday doing anything exciting. Most of them went to Des Moines shopping or looking for a hotel room with a soft mattress.

Four WAACS from California went into a hotel dining room.

“Look,” they said to the waitress. “We’re not dissatisfied and we think Army life is the greatest experience in the world, but we want a nice white linen tablecloth, fine silverware and thin glasses.”

Reviewing their first week in the Army the C.O. said, “They’re a damn sight better than we ever expected they would be. I honestly didn’t believe they could do it.”

Drill On Own Time

The enlisted men in charge of the WAACS said the same thing.

“I thought I knew something about Army paper work,” one first sergeant said. “But these women asked me 50 questions today and I’m going to have to get out my company administration textbook.”

Not only that, they did close order drill in the evening on their own time, working out in groups of eight or 10 on the parade ground.

“They don’t try what they learned in the last lesson,” says their commander. “They try out drills that aren’t due until the next day.”

   
READY on the, left? French girls attached to the Free French Motor Transport Corps in Britain are receiving rifle instruction.

In War Games, Too.

   
Army nurses with troops on maneuvers in the Carolinas take time out from duty. Lois Odell uses it to catch up with her darning while Ann Bouvier catches a radio program.

Navy Picks a Lady Named Mildred to Rule the Waves

WASHINGTON—The Navy watched the Army getting more WAACKY day by day and decided to follow the War Department’s footsteps and enlist about 11,000 women, too, for shore duty in nice blue uniforms.

“Swell,” somebody said. “But what will we call them?”

“The Women’s Naval Reserve Corps,” said the officer who thought up the idea in the first place.

“Can’t do that,” somebody said. “The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps is called the WAACS. O.K. But you can’t christen this the Women’s Naval Reserve Corps. Nobody can pronounce the word ‘WNRC’ unless he speaks Lapland or Eskimo language.”

McAfee Rules the Waves

“I got it!” another officer exclaimed. “We’ll call them the Women Appointed for Volunteer Emergency Service.”

“That’s quite a mouthful,” somebody said.

“But don’t you get it?” the officer said. “If we name them the Women Appointed for Volunteer Emergency Service, everybody can just call these girls WAVES for short. Nice and simple, isn’t it?”

“Harry, sometimes you seem like a positive genius,” somebody said, shaking him by the hand.

So the Navy is starting to enlist 11,000 WAVES for shore duty under the direction of Miss Mildred H. McAfee, who used to be president of Wellesley College before all this came up. They will use Smith College in Northampton, Mass., as a training headquarters beginning sometime in October.

Evening Gowns Are Out

The WAVES will operate pretty much like the WAACS, except that they won’t be allowed to wear evening gowns or other civilian clothes when they’re off duty. The Navy will make up for this hardship by giving them the regular wage scale instead of the $21 and $30 per month the WAACS get.

Unlike the WAACS, who won’t leave the U.S., the Navy auxiliary may be sent to duty in foreign ports.

The girl blue-jackets will wear a hat—not a cap—designed like that of an 18th Century seaman with an insignia consisting of an anchor intertwined around a propeller. In other words, they are taking no sides in the present naval controversy about aircraft carriers being more important than battleships.

The WAVES, according to Miss McAfee will wear inconspicuous makeup. And they won’t be allowed to smoke on the streets.

Home Front

   
Men are soldiers these days, and farm labor is hard to get, so Sister Mary Othelia herself drives this tractor on the farm of the Order of St. Francis in Lemont, Ill. And makes an unforgettable picture of America facing the hardships and shortages of war.

Not Bad, Chums

   
A platoon of WAACS swings past the reviewing stand at Fort Des Moines, Ia. After just three weeks of training the girls put on a show that draws many a compliment from the inspecting officers. “Eyes Right” is the order, and Eyes Right it is.

Inspector Puts Her Shingle on Completed Job

   
BOTH ARE OKAY. Elizabeth Schoggen, technical inspector at the Air Force Advanced Flying School, Lubbock, Tex., puts her shingle on a completed job. Beautiful enough to tackle the movies or stage, Mrs. Schoggen prefers to work with planes while her husband, Lieut. Elmer Schoggen, pilots on "over there."

Eight Salutes

   
EIGHT SALUTES are due these sisters in white, all members of the Tollette family, of San Antonio, Texas. Every one
has a nursing career. Two are Army Nurses; three are scheduled for duty in the near future. The Tollettes can be proud of their daughters.

Gals Behind the Guns

A tempestuous 18 year old red head, who didn’t want to type or take dictation, paved the way and now a new kind of gun moll is working for the Army in Maryland. She wears greasy dungarees instead of printed chiffon and she tests 105’s, 155’s and anti-aircraft and anti-tank cannons on the firing line instead of new recipes for chocolate creamed pie.

   



ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS, Md.—The whole thing Started with a roar in a remote corner of the Ordnance Department’s employment offices here one pleasant sunny morning last April.

Roars don’t usually attract much attention in the clash and clamor of the busy Aberdeen Proving Grounds, where the buildings tremble all day with the blasts of the 240’s and 155’s on the nearby experimental firing ranges. But this roar was different—a sort of a terrifying contralto, unmistakably feminine, something like that poet must have been trying to describe when he wrote about the fury of a woman scorned.

Finally, the employment director couldn’t stand it any longer and came out of his office to see who was being torn to pieces and fed to the tigers.

But he discovered that all the racket was coming from the determined lungs of a nice slim little red head who might have gotten lost on her way to high school. A mere slip of a girl, the home-loving type, but she didn’t sound as though she was anxious to can some preserved peaches or sew together a patch-work quilt at the present moment.

“I’m free, white and 18,” she yelled, shaking her finger at the baffled employment director. “And I can do a job any man can do. Back home in Oswego, New York, they wanted to make a secretary out of me but I want to work here instead.”

"But we’ve got all the secretaries we need, Miss,” the employment director said.

   
These girls know a Gen. Lee tank better than latest fashions.

“But that’s what I’m trying to tell you—I DON’T WANT TO BE A SECRETARY” the girl howled. “Look. I’m not the glamor girl type. I want to work with my hands. Drive a truck or a tank or shoot a gun.”

It so happened that the Army was toying with the idea of experimenting on the personnel problem and putting women into men’s jobs at the vast ordnance plant in Aberdeen.

The Selective Service Act was taking their civilian specialists and other men had drifted on to Philadelphia and Baltimore, where the rapidly growing shipyards were offering skilled laborers Hollywood salaries.

And, so after her explosive interview, the red headed Arlene (“Just call me Mickey”) Leppert from Oswego, N. Y., was given her chance.

They didn’t know what to do with her when she showed up in the shop where artillery gun mounts and field pieces are checked and repaired but it didn’t take Mickey long to pick her spot. She noticed an idle crane. The operator had just been drafted.

“I’d like to run that,” she told the foreman.

It sounded pretty screwy to the foreman but he thought things over and decided that, at least, it might keep her out from under people’s feet. After three and a half hours instruction, the foreman gave her the job and after a few days the shop crew stopped looking startled when they heard a lady’s voice calling commands from the crane’s cab window as a gun mount or tube swung from its boom.

   
Feminine muscles remove tube from 37 mm. gun at Aberdeen.

Mickey Paves the Way

Mickey’s success on the crane opened the way for other women workers in almost every operation in the ground. Little girls like Hilda Hamilton, 98 pounds, and Ruth Jones, who tips the beam at 90, including high heels and a girdle, lug the tubes of 37’s from their mounts to the rack where the bores will be checked after test firing.

Mrs. Chloe Harrington. a 29-year-old mother, drives a light truck half filled with ammunition. Miss Lillie Morgan, a 23-year-old brunette, left a Newark, Del. beauty parlor to go to work on the 37 mm. range and Mrs. Ruby Barnett, a grandmother of 40, commutes every day from Delta, Pa., to fire machine guns and small arms.

Miss Helen Lindamood, 20, of Peach Bottom, Pa., (no remarks, please) never did a day’s labor except housework for her father until she started firing M-1 rifles here and then there is Mrs. Elizabeth Jones of Havre de Grace. Mrs. Jones, a 200-pound husky, tosses 65-pound shells around as though they were papier mache.

Her husband is a sailor in the merchant marine. “He’s taking this stuff over,” she says, and I aim to see there’s enough of it to keep him busy.”

Three women who specialize in loading and firing 105’s, Mrs. Mary Fultz, Mrs. Velma Little and Miss Anita Bullock. Mrs. Fultz, whose picture you can see on our front cover this week giving a 50-calibre machine gun hell, is a mother of two children from Lansdowne, Pa.

There are as many reasons for these women working around the Proving Grounds as there are skirts in the shops and ranges. Mrs. Mary Owens, 22 and very nice, is a typical case. She came here when her husband was assigned to the training center after being drafted out of Rising Sun, Md. Many others are married to soldiers and civilian employees on the Post.

Some just frankly admit that the War Department’s $25 or $30 per week is good dough.

   
Mrs. Mary Owens, 22, pedals ammunition to 90 mm. A.A. range. (from cover of ’Yank’ magazine.)

They Like the Night Life

Then some of the younger are fascinated by the atmosphere at Aberdeen, although they’d never admit it. Most of them come from small towns that are not much more than wide places in the road and this lively city, boomed overnight with soldiers and defense workers, presents a nightly carnival aspect.

When they go out it’s usually with a Proving Grounds soldier. They haunt the G.I. dances at the Post but the single girls are not looking for permanent romance, least of all, Mickey Leppert, the red-headed crane operator with the loud voice.

“What is your big ambition?” she was asked the other day. “What is your aim in life?”

“I want to own a motorcycle,” she said.

“How about a husband?” she was asked.

“Well, I don’t know,” she said. “You can always get rid of a motorcycle.”

   
Firing these sub-machine guns at Aberdeen is the first job Miss Helen Lindamood, 20, of Peach Bottom, Pa., ever held.
   
Gun Woman. Mrs. Mary Fultz fire a 50 calibre machine gun at Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground. An ejected cartridge has been caught in mid-air by the photographer. (from cover of Sept. 16, 1942, Yank magazine.)

Miss Machine Gun Instructor

   
Miss Fran McVey will teach future airmen at Lowry Field, Colo., all about the machine gun. She is the field’s first woman instructor.

Star Mechanic

   
Sheila Ryan, Hollywood starlet, has enrolled in a school for motor mechanics. She looks better on that tractor than in a feature picture. EDITOR’S NOTE: She went back to acting.

Army Composer

   
ARMY COMPOSER. Josephine Houston, singer, has written a song called “Drummer Boy,” dedicated to the Army Ground Forces.

Technician

   
Cover photo of Nov. 25, 1942 issue of Yank magazine.

Helping Hand

   
Women assist the Army Air Forces to do their job: Mrs. Nancy H. Love is commander of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron, known as the WAFS.

Women Ordnance Workers

   
Yep, she is a WOW. Women Ordnance Workers have been officially designated as such by the Army and if they all look as good as this one, the name’s okay by us. Her headgear, a bandana, is shown with other wartime millinery.
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