11/11/2018 - Happy Veterans Day - to all the brave men and women who have served us proud!!
As I have done in the past, I give a special honor to my mom on this day for enlisting in the 71st Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on April 13, 1943. She served as Corporal Margaret J. (“Marty”) Basalla.
The Women's Army Corps (WAC) was the women's branch of the US Army. It was created as an auxiliary unit, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on May 15, 1942, and converted to an active duty status in the Army of the US as the WAC on July 1, 1943. Its first director was Oveta Culp Hobby, a prominent woman in Texas society. The WAC was disbanded in 1978. All units were integrated with the male units.
The WAAC's organization was designed by numerous Army bureaus coordinated by Lt. Col. Gillman C. Mudgett, the first WAAC Pre-Planner; however, nearly all of his plans were discarded or greatly modified before going into operation because he expected a corps of only 11,000 women. Without the support of the War Department, Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts introduced a bill on May 28, 1941, providing for a WAAC. The bill was held up for months by the Bureau of the Budget but was resurrected after the US entered the WWII. The senate approved the bill on May 14, 1941, and it became law on May 15, 1942. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill the next day, he set a recruitment goal of 25,000 women for the first year. That goal was unexpectedly exceeded, so the then Secretary of War Mr. Stimson decided to increase the limit by authorizing the enlistment of 150,000 volunteers.
About 150,000 American women eventually served in the WAAC and WAC during WWII. They were the first women (other than nurses) to serve with the Army. While the "conservative" opinion in the leadership of the Army (and the public) was opposed to women serving in uniform, the shortage of men necessitated a new policy. While most women served stateside, some went to various places around the world.
My mom served during WWII in Newport News, VA. She left great photos from those days and shared great stories. We still have those memories she left behind and we will always cherish her very fond memories of her service. God Bless, Peg
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy