The Story of the WAC in the ETO -- WWII G.I. Stories Booklet (2022)

The Story of the WAC in the ETO -- WWII G.I. Stories Booklet (1)



"The WAC" is a small booklet covering the history of the Women's Army Corps in the ETO. This booklet is one of the series of G.I. Stories published by the Stars & Stripes in Paris in 1944-1945.

This is one of a series of G.I. Stories of the Ground, Airand Service Forces in the European Theater issued by theOrientation Branch, Information and Education Division, Hq.USFET. Lt.Col. Anna W. Wilson, Theater WAC Staff Director,lent her cooperation and basic material was suppliedby her staff.

THIS is your story -- a record of the vitalservices performed by the Women'sArmy Corps in the European Theater.Your versatility and competence earnedthe highest praise from commanders ofevery unit to which you were assigned. Nomatter what task was given you, the resultwas always the same -- a job well done.

It is only on rare occasions such as thisthat an opportunity occurs to express mysatisfaction and pride in your record. Ithank you wholeheartedly and wish you continued success.

Anna W. Wilson
Lt.Col., Theater WAC Staff Director

THE STORY OF THE WAC IN THE ETO

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AY 7,1945: Gen. Eisenhower's Forward Headquarters.

For two days and nights Allied and German generalshad negotiated surrender terms inside the red brickschoolhouse. Reporters and photographers waited expectantly. Weary from pounding out vital messages,Wacs in the Secretary to General Staff section ofSupreme Headquarters waited, too.

At 0100, Lt. Gen. Walter B. Smith, Gen. Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, told the Wacs to go home and get some sleep. The Germans weren't likely to sign that night.

Sgt. Marjorie Wells, Logan, Ohio, went to herquarters, but she was back again in an hour. Thiswas it -- this was the moment for which everyone had been waiting. Sgt. Wells typed the official cableproclaiming Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allied nations.

"We were too tired to get excited," she recalls. "I finished the necessary number of copies about 0530 and went home to catch some sleep. My roommate,Sgt. Katherine Ruch, New York City, didn't believe me when I told her the news."

Remembers Sgt. Davina Settle, Omaha: "The fact that the war was over didn't come to me untilI started typing Cease Firing orders. I'd worked ondrafting the cables the day before, but at midnightwe had to tear them up and change the date to May 7. After the signing we were busier than ever and typed Cease Firing orders to 137 Army Groups and units."

On V-E Day, 8000 Wacs could look back on long months of overseas duty. Only a few had been inon the surrender. But all had played an operational part in the war against Nazi Germany.

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ULY 16, 1943: AGI band swung into "Lady Be Good" as the First Separate Battalion debarked at Gourock, Scotland. Commanded by Lt. Col. (then Capt.) Mary A. Hallaren, Lowell, Mass., the 557enlisted women and 19 officers comprised the first WAC battalion to be assigned to the ETO. First ashorewas 2nd Lt. (then 1st/Sgt.) Virginia Rosekrans, Chicago. Greeting them was Lt. Col. (then Capt.) Anna W.Wilson, Theater WAC Staff Director, who had arrived in London in early April, 1943, to prepare for the thousandsof Wacs to follow. Assisting Col. Wilson was Maj. (then 2nd Lt.) Selma L. Herbert, New York City.

Attached to the pioneer 8th Air Force, battalion personnel were assigned to Headquarters, 3rd BombardmentDiv., 2nd Bombardment Div., 8th Fighter and Bomber Command and 3rd Bombardment Wing ofthe 8th Air Force. The Wing, under Maj. Gen. Samuel F. Anderson, later became the hard-hitting 9th Bombardment Division.

Six battle stars now adorn the ETO ribbons worn by Wac veterans of the 9th Bombardment Division.They were awarded for the Air Offensive over Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Central Europeand Rhineland campaigns.

Wacs took over from WAAF and GI personnel. Within a week, telephone and teletype operators were working day, night and swing shifts. Flight control rooms were staffed by newly-trained plotters. Clerks organized files.

Like the rest of the army, GIs in Britain were openly apprehensive. For many, it was the first glimpse of American women in uniform. But doubts vanished when soldiers observed their work, their sharp, military appearance. British and Canadian officers, long proud of their own women in service, agreed that theperformance of Wacs in review was difficult to equal.

MUD, BOMBS, WORK ERASE GLAMOR

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S thetempo of war accelerated, Wacs arrived overseas aboard liners and cargo boats in everincreasing numbers. They were assigned to ETOUSA headquarters, to the Air Forces, to servicesmushrooming from SOS, Ordnance, Quartermaster,Transportation,Medical, Chemical Warfare, Engineers. They plotted aircraft and V-1s, teleprinted, operatedswitchboards, typed, filed, made maps -- from air-sea rescue rooms they "brought home" lost planes and pilots. They assessed combat films, cooked, gave innoculations, drove jeeps and trucks, and sweated out missions from control towers. These were only a few of the 239 jobs for which Wacs were trained.

Whatever notions they might have had of life in the ETO, Wacs soon learned there wasn't muchglamor. The clammy English dawn caused them to shiver in heatless Nissen huts and concrete barracks. Discipline was strict. Passes were scarce. There was mud -- and bombs.

March 24, 1944: The Luftwaffe was still riding high. Air raid sirens moaned at two WAC camps, one housing SHAEF and Allied Service women, the other occupied by 8th Air Force personnel. TheTannoy system wheezed, crackled. Ack-ack guns pumped lead at the enemy aircraft. The stout-hearted took shelter.

Flares lit the sky, plummeted earthward to the WAC camps. Explosions shook the ground; Wacs heard the unmistakable swish of bombs, were jarred by the concussion. When they left the shelters, one camp was silhouetted in flames. That night, Wacs of the 8th Air Force made room for 250 bombed-out buddies.

Typical drama lived by Wacs took place one day in January, 1944, at 9th Bombardment Division -- just 15 minutes by Messerschmitt from Germany.

"There's an enemy flight coming out of France," calmly announced Pvt. Bassie Moseley, Houston, Tex., as she adjusted her earphones. Before her was an interceptor board, a 12-foot square table marked with German and Allied air fields. Pvt. Moseley was stationed at a Marauder headquarters where she and other Wacs helped plot the movements of all aircraft in the area.

Next, she picked up a metal strip on which she began placing magnetized discs identifying the planes winging over the Channel. With a croupier-like stick, she pushed the marker and an arrow to indicate direction of flight into the Channel section of the map. Seconds passed. Pvt. Moseley moved the red arrow closer -- closerto the coast. She nudged the red arrow to point northward, then quickly swung it back; the Germans had feinted a change of course. Now they were coming straight in.

Pfc Lola McCoy, Rensselaer, Ind., leaned forward to move her RAF markers -- RAF night fighters rising to tackle the invaders. Sirens wailed. Enemy aircraftroared overhead. The tenseness in the flight control boom was broken by a dull boom.

Pfc McCoy moved her RAF marker. "One Kraut had a fighter after him," she said. Pvt. Moseley pushed the enemy marker out over the Channel. Those in the room relaxed, laughed nervously.

"Tomorrow, you'll read in the papers that enemy raiders dropped a few bombs on the coastal area,"Pvt. Moseley said.

American women helped whip the Luftwaffe. Unheralded and unsung -- clerks,switchboard operators, stenographers and secretaries. Some held jobs close to Operations, such as Pfc Mary L. Finane, Vicksburg, Miss., who drafted weather reports on War Room maps.

"What's the dope on weather over Germany for the next three or four days?" was a question which ground as well as air forces invariably asked USSTAF's weather section. Pfc Finane's maps held the answer.

A hand-in-glove combination for Photo Intelligence was Lt. Lillian Kamphuis, Crichton, Ala., and Pfc Elizabeth E. Armstrong, Syracuse, N.Y. Pictures taken by airmen over targets determined the destruction or damage to oil plants, bridges, factories, or naval installations. Pfc Armstrong processed the film while Lt. Kamphuis studied the photos, catalogued the strikes.

As secretary to the Director of Operations, USSTAF, W/O Mae C. Merz, Nashville, Tenn., always had advance information on the 1000-plane assaults on the Reich.

Unit Meritorious Service Plaque awards were made to the 394th Signal Co., attached to the 9th Air Force Service Command and to the 21st Statistical Control Unit, 8th Air Force. Third Bombardment Div. received the Distinguished Unit Citation forpre-invasion blasting of strategic Nazi cities and targets.

The entire WAC unit with the 8th Air Force ServiceCommand won a superior rating. S/Sgt. Bun Brusse, Houston, Tex., and T/Sgt. Dorothy La Valle, Winona, Minn., received Theater Certificates of Merit for outstanding service.

Largest single group of Air Force Wacs in the ETO was with the Base Air Depot Area. This depot was charged with furnishing all supplies and maintaining all aircraft parts of U.S. Air Forces and RAF in Europe. Wacs served as teletype operators, drivers, hospital technicians, photo laboratory technicians, rehabilitationworkers, dental assistants, parachute menders.

Wacs never will forget the "Old Homestead" -- 70thReinforcement Depot at Stone, England -- where incoming and outgoing Air Force personnel wereprocessed.

There was always a husband, sweetheart, brother or friend turning up at the "Old Homestead." Sgt. Eunice O'Connell, Minneapolis, Minn., glanced upfrom her typewriter July 16, 1944, to see her paratrooper brother, Cpl. Raymond O'Connell. He had just returned from France where he had taken part in theinvasion.

HARDSHIP PLUS RESPONSIBILITY

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HE SecondSeparate WAC Bn. arrived for duty in London with ETOUSA headquarters inSeptember and October. Several hundred brisk-stepping Wacs joined the "paper work" Army in Grosvenor Square, already an American stronghold.

From NATOUSA, Gen. Eisenhower had brought the "famous five" captains: Ruth M. Briggs, Westerly, R.I.; Mattie A. Pinette, Fort Kent, Me.: Martha E. Rogers, Jackson, Miss.; Alene Drezmal, St. Paul, Minn.; and Louise Anderson, Denver, Colo. First Wacs to serve overseas, all are now majors, three still attached to his headquarters.

The Allied Women's Camp, under the command of Maj. Edith M. Davis, Royal Oak, Mich., provided an outstanding example of how women of several nations -- WACs,WAAFs, WRNs, ATS and CWACs -- lived and worked together. Sri successful was the arrangementthat the women asked to remain together as long as possible.

All SHAEF personnel, their job was to help with the vast amount of paper and communications work essential to the planning and execution of the invasion. As D-Day approached, work hours lengthened. Days off, leaves, furloughs were forgotten. Many, like S/Sgt. Sue Sarafian, Detroit, Mich., typed while the King of England, Prime Minister Churchill, generals and admirals conferred in nearby offices.

Wacs shared responsibilities, hardships, along with the excitement. Bombed from huts and billets by robot bombs, Wacs rode to work many miles daily in Army trucks until new quarters were available.

In April, 1944, the first large contingent of Wacs reported for duty with Services of Supply units. They were assigned to far-flung installations of theTransportationCorps, Corps of Engineers, Quartermaster Corps, Chemical Warfare Service, Medical Service, Ordnance Department, and Signal Corps.

Transportation Corps Wacsspent 18 hours daily controlling the count and distributing incoming cargo and war supplies. With RTOs they shared theresponsibility of handling troop movements.

Tribute was paid TC Wacs when the "WAC Blazer," a 75-ton locomotive, was christened for the Corps by Cpl. Maxine Vaught, Evansville, Ind., in the presenceof Maj. Gen. Frank S. Ross, Chief of Transportation,ETO; Brig. Gen. Clarence L. Burpee, Second Military Railway Service CG, and Col. Wilson.

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ACS likeCpl. Severine Britt, Portsmouth, Va., and Cpl. Marie Hennericy, Long Island, N.Y., translatedFrench and German on maps for Engineers and helped chart invasion routes. Cpl. Nan Rice, Niles, Mich., who, as an engineer, had worked on the Army camp at Blackshaw Moor, England, helped collect secret information on tides. Surveys of the Army's utility needs -- water, power, railroads -- were a few of the jobs she tackled.

Large numbers of Wacs were assigned to First Base Post Office. It wasn't an easy task to get mail,some carelessly addressed, to the ever-moving soldier. APO Wacs seldom gave up the search for addresses. Little glamor could be attached to flipping letters into sacks racked up aisle after aisle, but it was a job that had to be done.

At Air Transport Command bases, Wacs tookincoming calls and made reservations for travelers shuttling across the ocean. They drove 6x6 trucks, transporting baggage and mail from planes. In midwinter, Wacs joked about their appearance -- they wore arctics and weather-soaked field trousers as they plodded across muddy airstrips -- but they cheerfully accepted each assignment. This was the Wacs' war, too.

Military intelligence section Wacs had the specific mission of helping pilots find their way back afterforced landings inenemy territory.As a result of their work, many airmenlisted as missing in action reportedback for duty.Wacs handled topsecret papers daily;had access to files few Army personnelever werepermitted to see. Top secret material also was handledby the WACdetachment with the Office of Strategic Services.

INVASION -- WACS PLAY PROUD ROLE

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UNE 6, 1944: Ashift of Air Force Wac teletype operators had just reported for duty on themidnight-to-morning shift. Suddenly, teletypes tapped out the first words of the greatest military operation ever conceived.

Machines reeled off one field order after another. Virtually every bomber and fighter in the Command was being called out from secret air-fields throughout England. The invasion was on!

Field orders, annexes and bombing lines were relayedto American and British stations in the UK. The five Wacs on duty -- Cpl. Eugenia Hall, Rideway, Pa.; Sgt. Carmen R. Brand, Staunton, Va.; Cpl. Elsie S. Wheeler, Ada, Ill.; T/5 Mary Denton, Decatur, Tenn.; T/5 Helen M. Sweeny, Chicago -- stuck to their machines through those early morning hours, almost completely overwhelmed by the messages pouring from every high headquarters to air force stations, then on to combat wings. The pace was maintained until the shift was relieved at 0730.

As the Wacs stepped from the huge underground room into the sunlight, they raised tired eyes to a sky black with planes -- bombers, fighters, troop carriers, gliders. They had helped put those aircraft there.

Throughout England Wacs looked up and felt the same pride. For weeks, Wacs at headquarters, Southern Base Section, 16, 17 and 18 Districts had worked long hours to help fill hundreds of craft with supplies and men. Every Wac in the Theater felt she was part of the military team striving for a singleobjective -- invasion of the Continent.

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OON afterthe first beachhead was secured, WAC detachments began training programs designed to condition them for field living on the Continent.

As casualties were brought in from the beaches in increasing numbers, Wacs in the Chief Surgeon's Office in London assisted in loading and movinghospital trains, prepared latest reports on battle casualties.

Flying to Normandy with a group of SHAEF officers on June 22, T/Sgt. Mabel Carney, Camden, N.J., became the first Wac to land on the Continent. She took dictation at a beachhead conference, returned to England the same night. Nine months later, Sgt. Carney was one of the first Wacs to enter the Reich.

Wacs continued to arrive in the Theater. In an effort to secure additional WAC personnel, enlistments were made available to American citizens residing in the United Kingdom. Lucille N. Hall, Auburndale, Mass., was the first woman in the ETO to be sworn in as a Wac. Approximately 150 Wacs were enlisted and trained in England.

Buzz-bombs didn't spare the Wacs. Wacs tooktheir share of hits, near hits and injuries. First to receive the Purple Heart Award for injuries from flying bombs were Pfc Dorothy E. Whitfield,Schenectady, N.Y.; Pfc Effie M. Gibbons, Lewiston, Idaho; Pvt. Margaret Johnson, Madison, Wis., and Pvt. Leona J. Gaylon, Odessa, Tex.

Another first came when three WAC officers arrived in England to attend the British Staff College, ATS Wing, at the War Office's invitation. They were Capt. Pauline Spofford, Miami, Fla., Capt. Janet C. Varn, Jacksonville, Fla., and Lt. Aileen M. Witting, Gonzales, Tex.

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S Alliedforces fanned out in Normandy, the first forward echelon of Wacs landed on Normandy beaches on D plus 38, following an urgent call for Headquarters and Communications Zone personnel.

Aboard a heavily-laden cruiser the loudspeakers blared; "WAC personnel, prepare to disembark." Wacs hooked helmet straps, grabbed gear, climbed down the ladder into a bouncing LCI. Ashore, they saw blackened steel skeletons of vehicles, smashed German and American equipment and mute rows of wooden crosses.

GIs waved from tents hidden under trees as Wac trucks jolted over shelled roads. French peasants looked up from digging in the ruins of bombed villages and smiled an amazed greeting at the American women under pack and helmet.

The 49 EWs and five WAC officers who arrivedwith Forward Echelon, Communications Zoneheadquarters, lived under canvas near chateau headquartersoutside Valogne. They dug drainage ditches aroundtheir tents as Normandy skies poured rain for eightstraight days. K and C rations, rationed Lister-bagwater, mud and dust, helmet baths, became routine.

When water was a critical item, they rationed it tothemselves. Recalled Cpl. Mary Relic, Cleveland, Ohio:"If we had only enough water to fill one helmet weused it to the last drop. First we'd brush our teeth.Then we'd bathe as best we could in the same coldwater. Next we'd wash our hair -- same helmetfulof water. The last step was to wash our clothes.And by that time there wasn't any water left."

Up front, battles raged. The titanic supply job on the Continent mounted; Wacs pitched in.Telephone operators donned earphones as fast as mobileswitchboards were set up, worked long shifts dayafter day. In a chateau wine cellar in Area I, operatorsworked the board while rainwater swirled aroundtheir feet. S/Sgt. Sally McCaffrey, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; Sgt. Laura Carson, Chicopee Falls, Mass., and Cpl. Mary Nardy, Yonkers, N.Y., many others -- someof whom had just been flown from the States -- workedthe long, hard grind, sweating out line repairs and heavy traffic on the long distance Area III board.

PARIS -- PAPER WORK AND PERFUME

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N tentsand pre-fabricated huts, with only a sputtering gas lamp and portable or makeshift equipment, Wacs typed, filed, kept records, reports, requisitions, statistics, moving up as more troops and supplies fed the advancing armies.

Chow became complicated at times. On a hill in a wooded pasture, M/Sgt. Helen Wilson, Pasadena, Calif., and a GI mess sergeant shared, responsibility. Sgt. Wilson and cooks like Cpl. Hazel Curnutt, Springfield,Mo., and Sgt. Isabel Simbine, Elizabeth, N.J., worked 16-hour shifts, rose at 0400 daily, strove to make field rations tasty.

More Wacs arrived. Under the command of Capt.Isabel Kane, Tacoma, Wash., life in the "WacArea - Off Limits" apple orchard moved smoothly despite rigors of tent life. First Sgt. Nancy Carter, Los Angeles, and the cadre worked from reveille past blackout each day caring for administrative needs of Wacs and meeting new convoys. Cadre duties in two additional camps for new arrivals were assumed by Cpl. Gladys Brent, Seattle, Wash., and Sgt. Virginia Wallace, Los Angeles.

Still they came. Engineers,Signal Corps, Medical Corps, Quartermaster,Transportation,Ordnance -- allhad ever-mounting tasks as St. Lo, Bayeux, Caen became cities of rubble, names in the history of World War II. Wacs took over new duties as necessity dictated.

Supply clerks, map makers, draftsmen, typists, translators back in England, Engineer Wacs helped plan the newly-constructed roads over which they now traveled, the pipe lines supplying their water, the camps they now called home.

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T theport base section in Cherbourg, forward headquarters, SHAEF, USSTAF and mobile 12th Army Group Headquarters in France, Wacs had close-up views of the over-all picture. They were a part of the Army that smashed forward across France.

The only Wacs attached to a ground force unit reached France in July, moved with 12th Army Group Headquarters which trailed close behind the fighting units. Ever advancing, they lived in tents, ramshackle buildings, whatever billets were found, travelled along the road that led to Wiesbaden, Germany, under their original CO, Capt. Alice Moroney, San Francisco.

With the liberation of Paris, Com Z Headquarters hit the road again. Overnight, tents emptied andtypewriters, files and records were packed as Wacs and GIs left the Normandy countryside to establish the SOS nerve center in the French capital.

Six days after the Allies entered Paris, Aug. 31, 1944, six Wacs -- Maj. Frances S. Cornick, Norfolk, Va.,Capt. (then Lt.) Elizabeth P. Hoisington, Seattle, Wash.; 1st/Sgt. Nancy Carter, Los Angeles; Sgt. Margaret Wright, Atlanta, Ga.; S/Sgt. Mary Haluey, Cambridge, Mass.; and M/Sgt. Wilhelmina Fowler, East Islip, Long Island, N.Y. -- moved into the cityas an advance detachment. For their efficiency andspeed in arranging for the thousands of Wacs to follow,they were awarded the Bronze Star by Brig. Gen. Allen R. Kimball, ETO Headquarters Commandant.

Central Base Section Wacs who arrived as part of the new Seine Base Section, set up offices in a building vacated only a few days before by the Germans. Wacsobserved a strict 2000 hours curfew. Armed GIs escorted late-working Wacs from billet to office.

During the first days following the liberation, Paris was at a standstill: power, light, transportation facilities broke down; food supplies were nearly exhausted. But the French greeted the Americans with smiles,salutes and cheers just the same. Wacs, tired andgrimy-faced from travel, smiled back.

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HE machineryof Com Z and ETOUSA headquartersimmediately swung into action, distributing men, guns, ammunition for armies now slashing through Belgium and Luxembourg. Morning, noon and night, the Champs Elysees was packed with GIs and Wacs going to and coming from offices near the Arc de Triomphe.

With winter's approach, busy Wacs found time to sample the wonders of Paris perfume shops and fashion houses, experimented with Parisian make-up and hairdos,struggled to master the language.

At Seine Base headquarters, Wac typists, switchboardoperators, file clerks, drivers, and stenographers combed all possible sources to find hotel billets for battle-weary soldiers visiting Paris on 48-hour passes. Wacs worked in the Finance Office and in the PostExchange.

Armies pushed on. As Allied-held territory increased,the strain on Signal Corps communications sectionsbecame greater. More and more Wacs were placed innearly every department, releasing technically trainedmen for more advanced echelons.

Scores of operators, members of the %3341 Signal Service Battalion, now under the command of Maj. Jane A. Stretch, Newtown, Pa., went on duty attelephone switchboards where German voices had been heard just a short time previously.

Wac draftsmen with the Transportation Corpspored over maps in the urgent mission of sending supply trucks and trains to the front. Their map tracings of France and Germany, showing all military rail and trucking routes, became the reference used by Planning and Control Division to route traffic to advancing American armies.

Day and night shifts of Wac typists and statisticians in the far-reaching, intricate Quartermaster system prepared the final dispositions for releasing huge tonnages of meat, K rations, blankets, wool socks, gasoline, and endless supplies which kept the Army forging ahead.

Known as "that Quartermaster Wac," Lt. Elaine R. Dickson, Kewanee, Ill., was responsible for themaintenance of clothing supplies for all American service women in the ETO. In addition to her other duties. she delivered combat uniforms to Army nurses in field hospitals, often just a few miles behind combat lines.

Wacs assigned to Com Z base sections and Seine, Normandy, Oise Intermediate and Delta bases wrote their own chapters to the biggest supply story in theworld. In September, the first WAC-driven convoy in France completed a 400-mile trip, transporting 80 Wacs to Oise Base Section. Because of a driver shortage, Wacs assigned as secretaries, clerks,stenographers, took over the jobs.

Air Force Wacs who had earned their overseas spurs in England, followed airmen to the Continent, moving as the various headquarters advanced. They answered roll call at USSTAF, 9th Air Force, 9th Air Division, 9th Service Command, 8th Fighter Command,I Tactical Air Force (P), First Allied Airborne Army, Ninth BADA, at the 1408th AAF Base Unit, EDATC,and at 302nd Transport Wing.

WACS -- "THEY MET EVERY TEST"

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ECEMBER, 1944:Under the weight of von Rundstedt'ssmashing counter-offensive Allied lines bent, curved back, but held. Calls swamped rearechelons for supplies, men. Wacs of the 302nd Transport Wing met the challenge. From 1630 hours, Dec. 24, until 1430 hours, Christmas Day, they worked feverishly to help get the needed reinforcements and materiel to the front. Their feat earned acommendation from Gen. Carl A. Spatz, USSTAF CG.

Cpl. Faye Haimson, Chicago, cryptographer, decodedsecret orders for the Bulge operation. Cpl. BeatriceRatowsky, Brooklyn, was a stenographer in Operations;Sgt. Frances K. Karl, Chicago; and Pfc Sarah Hellinger, Philadelphia, kept telephone circuits open for emergency messages necessary to get 100widely-scattered cargo planes to the front. Not a man or plane was lost in the move.

Despite the grim situation Wacs spent their first Christmas on the Continent in the American tradition even though a curfew was imposed and holiday events were cancelled.

Throughout the ETO, Wacs threw open their dayroomsto soldiers Christmas Day. One detachment shared its turkey dinner with 75 soldiers on convalescentleave or on pass. Wacs wrapped packages of candy, cigarettes, gum, cookies and gifts for wounded in hospitals in France and England. In Paris, a WAC choir sang at the Arc de Triomphe, then climbed into trucks which took them to hospitals where they sang for soldiers who had just been brought in from front line aid stations.

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Bn., first Negro Wacs to be sent overseas, was assigned to the First Base Post Office in February, 1945. The unit broke all records for re-directing mail. Each of the twoeight-hour shifts averaged more than 65,000 pieces of mail. Long-delayed letters and packages reached battle casualtieswho had been moving too frequently for mail to catch up with them.

By early Spring, 1945, Wacs were filling every conceivableassignment. They drove Army vehicles, transmittedphotographs by radio, "bossed" camps for enemy women PWs, plotted emergency landings for lost and damaged aircraft. Junior aide to Gen.Eisenhower was Lt. Kay Summersby. Other generals were assisted by able WAC personnel.

When the leave center in Brussels opened, a team of WAC mess sergeants organized and set up the two huge Army messes, instructed mess personnel andBelgian cooks in the preparation and serving of food.Sgt. Constance Delahoyde, Bath, N.Y., and Sgt. Margaret McCance, Palo Alto, Calif., worked in advisory capacities in scores of Army messes throughout France, Belgium and Germany.

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ITH Armyheadquarters established in Germany, Wacs moved in with files and typewriters. Nine Wacs with the I Tactical Air Force, veterans of England and France, were the first to "occupy" Germany. They were Lt. Juanita S. Goold, Madison, Wis.; Sgt. Billy Utecht, Houston, Tex.; S/Sgt. Loleta B. Moon, Atlanta, Ga.; S/Sgt. Odessa Dilbeck, Tulsa, Okla.; Sgt. Olga Kentro, Los Angeles; Sgt. MarthaM. Hubbard, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Cpl. Gertrude L. Pearson, Bronx, N.Y.; Cpl. Emily G. Nichol, Mount Fern, N.J.; and Pfc Grace G. Lawles, Copenhagen,N.Y.

When Germany collapsed, additional personnel were assigned to headquarters of armies and to reinforcement jobs designed to speed redeployment.

V-E Day brought a pause in the long grind. On May 14, 1945, Wacs and Allied service women stationed in Paris observed the third anniversary of the Women'sArmy Corps. Led by Maj. Mary Moynahan, San Antonio, Tex., approximately 2000 Wacs paraded down the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde as they were reviewed by Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, CG, Communications Zone The colorful spectacle followeda simple ceremony at which Lt. Col. Wilsonplaced a floral wrath on the tomb of France's Unknown Soldier.

Similar observances were held at WAC installations in Belgium, Germany and England. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England, visited Wacs in London and at 8th Air Force Headquarters.

Gen. Eisenhower, in tribute, cabled Col. Oveta Culp Hobby, then WAC Director:

During the time I have had Wacs under my command,they have met every test and task assigned them.I have seen them work in Africa, Italy, England, here in France -- at Army installations throughout the European Theater. Their contribution in efficiency,skill, spirit, and determination is immeasurable. Inthree years the Women's Army Corps has built for itself an impressive record of conduct and of service,and given the womanhood of America every right to be proud of their accomplishments.

Gen. Carl A Spaatz, CG, USSTAF, echoed Gen. Eisenhower: "The Women's Army Corps has been of inestimable value to our Air Forces operating against Germany. Its members have worked devotedly, undertaking arduous tasks requiring exceptionalperformance. Their success as a part of the team is a matter of pride to all of us."

Shortly after V-E Day it was revealed that 3000Wacs had 44 discharge points or more. In July, the first group having upwards of 70 points was flown to the States to be discharged.

Those remaining in the ETO carried on. In Berlin, a detachment of secretaries, typists, telephone and teletype operators became part of headquarters personnel administering the American occupied section of thecity. The detachment formerly was assigned to theFirst Allied Airborne Army.

When Pres. Truman, Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin met at Potsdam in mid-July, 1945, 27 Wac telephone operators of the %3341st Signal Service Bn. were assigned to handle the multitude of telephone calls. S/Sgt. Edith Royer, Library, Pa.,was chief operator.

Lt. Col. Anna W. Wilson left the Theater July 8 for an assignment with the War Department and Lt.Col. Mary A. Hallaren, became Theater WAC StaffDirector.

The record of the Women's Army Corps in the ETO is not one of any single branch of service or special group. It is a story of all the Wacs who wear the patch of the Ground Forces, the star of the Services of Supply, the wings of the Air Force.

Wherever the armies went the Wacs went with them -- London,Marseilles, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt. Wacs lived in villages, in camps, woods and fields, witnessed the devastation of war. They shared in the hardships of the soldier, rejoiced in his advances against a stubborn, fanatical foe. Theirs was a stirring story of American women who worked to help fighting men achieve a complete and smashing victory in Europe. Theyaccomplished their mission.

THE TEAM --

Wacs in the ETO have served or are on dutywith the following:

Hq. USSTAF
Air Tech. Serv. Command of Europe
Base Air Depot Area
302nd Transport Wing
70th Reinforcement Depot
I Tactical Air Force
Hq. 8th Air Force
Hq. Eighth Fighter Command
Eighth Air Force Service Command
Hq. 1st Air Division
Hq. 2nd Air Division
Hq. 3rd Air Division
Hq. 9th Air Force
Hq. Ninth Air Service Command
Hq. Ninth Bombardment Division
U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey
Ninth Base Air Depot Area
U.S. Component Air Staff, SHAEF
Supreme Headquarters, AEF
Hq. Command, ETOUSA
29th Traffic Regulating Group
%3341st Signal Service Bn.
Hq. Seine Section
1408 AAF Base Unit, EDATC
12th Army Group
Normandy Base Section
4th Port
Oise Intermediate Section
Assemby Area Command
Delta Base Section
Civil Censorship Detachment
First Allied Airborne Army
Channel Base Section
U.S. Group Central Council
23rd Base Post Office
6888th Central Postal Directory
Riviera District, Delta Base
16th Reinforcement Depot
WAC Detachment, MIS
United Kingdom Base
1400 AAF Base Unit, EDATC
1402 AAF Base Unit, EDATC
1406 AAF Base Unit, EDATC
1407 AAF Base Unit, EDATC
Office of Strategic Services
1st Base Post Office
Army Airways Communications Service
Eighth Bombardment Division
Eighth Air Force Composite Command
Air Disarmament Command
1st Advance Air Depot Area
Central Base Station
Hq. Southern Base Station
SOLOC
The Rookery, Detachment « A »
Hq. Third Army
Hq. Seventh Army
Hq. 6th Army Group
116th General Hospital
Bremen Port Command
Hq. USFET
Hq. USFA
Theater Service Forces
Chanor Base Section
Hq. and Hq. Sqdn. 42nd Air Depot Group
97th Airdrome Sqdn.

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