The WWII Women’s Army Air Corps was implemented in 1942 through joint efforts of various Army bureaus.  Coordinating it all was Lt. Col. Gilman Mudgett.   When the expected 11,000 women turned into 150,000 (throughout WWII), Mudgett’s initial plans had to be revised.

 

The Beginning

Initially, 800 women joined the WAAC and began their basic training.  The Army published a training manual in order to set physical standard requirements for these women.  The manual pointed out the woman needed to be ready to replace the men – to be prepared to take over.

 

Besides the nurses, the WAACS were the first women to serve in the US Army.  With the shortage of men, it was necessary for the Army to impose a new policy which supported women serving in uniform.  The majority of the women who served remained stateside; however, some were sent abroad to Europe, North Africa and New Guinea.  Two weeks after the Normandy Invasion, WACS landed on the beach to further assist the Army.

 

Opposition and Support

While some men vehemently opposed women serving in uniform, others – like General Douglas MacArthur – were supportive of women in the service.  General MacArthur is said to have referred to the women as some of his best soldiers.  Others who supported women in this new role felt the women were better disciplined, worked harder and complained less.  General Dwight D. Eisenhower also recognized their contribution to the war stating, “their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit and determination are immeasurable.”

 

Current Day

In 1978, the WAAC branch was dispersed and each branch was converted into the Military Occupational Specialty in which it worked.  This put women – for the first time – side by side serving in the same unit as the men, quite a contrast from their 1942 beginning.  The WWII Women’s Army Air Corps is one of the organizations from this era which opened the door for women’s role in the service.

 
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9 Responses to WWII Women’s Army Air Corps

  1. Tony Frontino says:

    I have a Televsion show on Access Scaramento in Sacramento, California. My show is called “Local Talent Showcase”. I I try to have person of interst for my audienca. I had the Tuskegee Airman on my show last month. Do you know of any WAC that may be living in or around Sacramento. I would love to do a show on the WAC.

    Tony Frontino
    Access Sacramento Volunteer Producer
    tonyfrontino@aol.com
    (916) 971-9241

    • alon2392 says:

      I do not know of any WACs in the Sacramento area. Do you have a local history or military museum? Also, you could try advertising it on the access network and see if someone comes forward. Sorry I could not be of any help. We appreciate your visiting our web-site. Would have loved to have seen the Tuskegee Airmen show. We have a display case dedicated to them here at the museum. What a great group of men.

  2. Dave E says:

    My late mother was Staff Sgt Stephanie Kasiewicz joined the Army in 1939 and was in the WAAC stationed at Mitchell Field, NJ. I myself served 5 yrs in the USN during the 80′s; and I mention this because I always thought of WW2 vets as almighty Hero – the stuff of movies that I watched as a kid during the 60′s. B-17′s from Mitchell to England and on to kick Fuehrer ass in Germany! Romantic notion… its what children want to believe…
    In 1992 thereabouts, came the network premier of the Tom Hanks film “Saving Private Ryan”. My mother told me years before she was awarded a medal and could send away for it if she wanted to… The point rang SO CLEAR in 92 when my mother, now 71 was in tears… it brought her back…

    And I couldn’t understand. We are heros! These were boys she danced with, and dated. Boys who would write to her… and then the letters would stop. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN I FELT IT. There is NEVER such a thing as a GOOD war. I was 32, and I held my mom as she cried…and I couldn’t help the tears in my own eye, either. Nor would I ever feel ashamed to to cry and feel. Its an Honor to do so; to ‘Sarge Stef’ and every other WAAC. God bless you all. My mother passed on and there is a plaque by a tree at NAVAHCS Prescott, AZ (Northern AZ Veteran’s Administration) in honor of my mother; SSGT Stephanie Kasiewicz; World War II, Women’s Army Air Corps; 1921-2007. What I SHOULD do is contact ST Louis and get her medals…they meant NOTHING to her, and I could understand why. But a son wants to honor his mother…

  3. Marjorie Chauvaux says:

    I’m so confused about the timelines of the Women’s Army Air Corps. My late mother had told me that she joined the military when she was only 16, had graduated high school early and could not secure a job outside of the military, due to her age. This would have been in the latter part of 1936, as she was born Jan. 1st, 1920. She told me that the Women’s Air Force had not been formed at this time, but she was in a division of the Women’s Army that later became the Women’s Air Force before she discharged. My father was in the Air Force, stationed at Hickam Air Force Base during the Pearl Harbor strike in 1941. My mom said she was stationed in El Paso, TX at that time and they later met there, which I’m guessing was Biggs Army Airfield…but she said she went in the military as Army and came out as Air Force because they divided during the war…My father said that she was Army Air Corp, period. Can you give me more insight on the divisions? Also, I would like to know where I would go to get her records?

    • alon2392 says:

      I’ll have to forward your request to our historian and see if he can assist you. It will be a couple of weeks as he is out of town. Thank you for taking the time to post your comment and for visiting our website. The museum is most appreciative of your mom and dad’s service to our country.

    • alon2392 says:

      Marjorie: Our historian provided the following information. I hope it is helpful:

      The army aircorps was what we know as the airforce before 1947. If she was in before 1947 and got out of the military before 1947 then she was army aircorps.

      I am not sure where you would find her records.

  4. Sam Caldwell says:

    I had an aunt who left her husband and two kids and enlisted in the WAC in 1944. The only thing I know is that she was on a troup ship going to England in August of 1944. She told a friend of the family that she had been in France. She enlisted in the state of Delaware. She never came home she with with another man and the family never heard from her again. Her children would like to find any infomation about her.

    • alon2392 says:

      Wow! I do not know how someone would go about locating her or any information about her. Have you tried the Air Force website to see if they have an archive? Though, I’m not certain the WACs info would be under the Air Force. Good luck with your search. Maybe someone else visiting the site can assist.

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