Integration Into the Army
The business of changing the WAAC to the WAC had been virtually suspended while the All-States Plan was rushed into the line to make sure that there would be a WAC to continue. In October and November of 1943, as some measure of recruiting success seemed assured, planners turned back to the business of converting the obsolete WAAC organization, with its own operating headquarters, into the new WAC.
Upon the moment of conversion, an unidentified enthusiast in The Adjutant General's Office issued to the field the blanket directive that all Army Regulations would apply to the WAC until new WAC Regulations could be published. This superseded Director Hobby's plan to use WAAC Regulations in the interval. Outcry from the field soon made embarrassingly clear that the matter was more complex than expected. The Adjutant General hastily rescinded the directive and replaced it with one reinstating WAAC Regulations on clothing, housing, training, medical care, and all other matters with the exception of enlistment, discharge, and military justice, where Army rules would apply. The embarrassment continued: even this limited application of unqualified Army Regulations proved impracticable. In the matter of enlistment, there was a different legally established age and citizenship requirement and several practical differences concerning dependency and disqualifying defects; in the matter of discharge, there were differences in at least eight matters, including minority. As for pregnancy discharge, admission of infants to Army status was narrowly averted by resourceful field stations which gave discharges for disability to expectant mothers.1 Having thus perceived that some amendments to men's rules would be necessary, various Army agencies began to fight out the necessary differences. Disputes over the uniform regulations became so heated that it was necessary to detach them from the remainder of the regulations for later publication in the new year. Other matters were gradually agreed upon during the last months of 1943.2
Abolition of Separate Grades
In the months before complete agreement could be reached, a makeshift circular in late September took the first step toward integration by abolishing separate WAC grades, a step that appeared more startling to Army personnel officers than its nature merited. Civilian personnel allotments were of course not divided to specify which positions must be filled by
males and which by females, but for military personnel the merger of allotments aroused alarming visions of a merger of unit command and housing.
The Air Forces took the lead in pointing out that this need not necessarily follow: that women might well be assigned to the organizations for which they worked, while residing in their own barracks with a WAC commander possessed of full command powers. Major Bandel, Air WAC Officer, stated:
It had become apparent that the [accounting] troubles which arose came from thinking of WAC personnel as a special type of personnel which had to be assigned, counted, and administered apart from all other types of military personnel. Insofar as their housekeeping went, Wacs obviously had to be administered separately: insofar as their jobs went, if they were to be utilized with maximum efficiency they had to be administered as a part of the unit performing the job in question. Abolition of WAC grades would result in careful utilization, since Wacs would clearly count against a command's overall allotment of grades and personnel; maximum freedom of assignment, since Wacs could be assigned without delay to any job for which a military grade vacancy had been established; and elimination of duplication in manning tables and reports.3
Major Bandel therefore proposed to the AAF that each station, instead of having two types of Tables of Allotment, male and female, have only one, and that either a man or a woman be placed in any authorized job at the station's discretion, according to the qualifications and availability of personnel.
Major Bandel was obliged to do considerable sales-work before her headquarters assimilated the plan, but the idea appealed to the Air Forces once it was understood and was proposed to the War Department in August. A few months later the Air Forces also adopted a system for its men under which grades were not broken up among living units, but were retained at station level and distributed among various offices, while the squadron commanders retained all command and disciplinary powers. Major Bandel later received the Legion of Merit for her numerous contributions to the Air Forces' program, with particular reference to originating this idea for Wacs.
In late September the War Department approved the AAF proposal for both the AAF and itself. Thereafter, all War Department grade allotments to the major commands were without reference to the sex of personnel. Any command might place a Wac in any suitable job for which it had an authorized military vacancy, without further formality or bookkeeping. The only limitation was upon the number of Wacs that could be furnished any command; gradeless numerical WAC allotments continued to be made to Air, Ground, and Service Forces based on their usual shares.4
The Air Forces system of bookkeeping now became so simple that scarcely any extra load was incurred by the presence of women. Also ended was the whole cumbersome system of WAC requisitions, which had so frequently been outdated before V1'acs could be recruited, trained, and shipped. Instead, each station merely reported its current personnel shortages, by specialty number, and its housing capacity, by sex, and was likely to receive either a man or a woman, according to availability. In filling such shortages, Air
Forces headquarters was no longer obliged to compute WAC requirements and place a requisition. Instead, The Adjutant General merely reported each week the numbers and skills of WAC graduates to which the AAF's percentage entitled it, and these were ordered at once to the station having the most immediate need and the necessary housing. There was almost no WAC skill so unusual that the woman could not be utilized somewhere among the thousands of military jobs thus opened to Wacs. There was also no longer any tendency for a station to think of Wacs as an additional allotment, since it clearly had only one military quota.
One major discrepancy in this integration system was the failure to allot grades for WAC overhead. While the size of a men's unit might be somewhat reduced by the arrival of Wacs, it still required a first sergeant, a supply sergeant, a company clerk, and other key cadre members. Part of the WAC cadre thus did not replace men and constituted an extra administrative load on the station.
Major Bandel's plan had included a provision for increasing each station's allotment by an allotment of WAC grades for cadre only; instead, the War Department went further and abolished all WAC grades. Stations were thus forced to make up an allotment for the cadre of the new unit by somehow withdrawing grades from other allotted activities. This was usually possible in the lower grades, but there was seldom a spare first sergeant's rating or a captaincy at any station, while other cadre members were more or less at the mercy of chance for their grades. Such a system not only lowered morale, but made it impossible to keep competent women in cadre jobs or as company officers.
Major Bandel repeatedly tried to secure the recognition of WAC administration as a duty that required an allotment, but without success. The Air Forces was able to solve a part of the difficulty by authorizing the promotion of WAC first sergeants to the grade warranted by their job regardless of station strength allotments, and their retention thereafter as authorized overstrength. No such solution for company officers was ever achieved.5
There was only one other flaw in this system: the fact that men's unit commanders were accustomed to command all assigned personnel, and frequently attempted to usurp the normal powers of the WAC company commander in such matters as discipline, uniform regulations, and hours of bed check. Such usurpation, where it occurred, invariably reduced unit discipline to a farce, divided the WAC company into quarreling factions under different rules and regulations, and resulted in insubordination to the WAC commander. The AAF solved this problem without difficulty by spelling out in its regulations the fact that all normal command powers were reserved to the gradeless WAC unit. Actions in which both office chief and company commander were interested could be originated by either and co-ordinated with the other. Discipline was reserved to the WAC commander, either on her own initiative or upon receipt of a report from the section chief.
One other difficulty, a psychological one, at times prevented full application of the system. The intention of the directive was that military personnel, like civilian, receive the grade allotted to the job each
was filling. Actually, at almost all Army stations, there appeared to exist a deeprooted idea that there should be a "women's share,'"' which should be equal to the ``men's share"; that women should in fairness have the same percent of each grade that men held. In practice this caused widespread inequities, since all women sent to a station might be so unskilled that they merited no ratings, or they might all be so skilled that all merited ratings.
In checking on the application of the directive, the Air Forces found male office helpers promoted above the Wac who ran the office, and WAC cooks refused the rating that male cooks received, all on the grounds that the "women's share" was held by stenographers in headquarters. Another Air Forces directive promptly made it clear that the grade went with the job, regardless of the sex of the occupant. Elsewhere the idea of a share appeared too well fixed to suppress; even such a WAC authority as General White, on a visit to North Africa, directed that the theater provide "the same ratio of grades for WAC personnel as is provided for male." 6
The Army Service Forces and the Army Ground Forces, for this reason, never chose to follow the Air Forces' system, but divided military grades into male and female, and maintained separate allotments for the WAC unit. The motive was frankly stated as a fear that women, if not limited, would eventually collect more than their "share" of grades, since they usually filled skilled jobs and were more permanent employees. As a matter of fact, in application the result was exactly the opposite: Wacs were fairly latecomers in the Army, and many commands were already so overstrength on rated men that promotions were frozen; thus the Air Forces Wacs fared no better than male latecomers, while the Service and Ground Forces Wacs had a reserved quota and were promoted even though men inducted at the same time could not be. The well-integrated Air Wacs were shortly outstripped in ratings by the segregated ASF and AGF Wacs, and complained frequently at the loss of "our grades."7
The Office of the Director WAC
Second of the integration problems to be resolved was that of the reduction of WAAC Headquarters to form the new and smaller Office of the Director WAC, which had advisory duties but no operating functions. Only about 25 officers and 20 civilians were allotted the new Office of the Director; the remaining 75 officers and 46 civilians were scattered among the various Army Service Forces offices which now handled all operations. 8 With them went the files of their sections. All individual 201 files were sent to The Adjutant General, who was thereafter responsible for cases concerning individuals: initial assignment, transfers, promotions, filling of requisitions, classification, discipline, and discharge, as well as for answering inquiries from the public concerning the status of individuals. With this responsibility The Adjutant General received Capt. Clara G. Han and her assistants, who had been managing classification and assignment in the WAAC.
As for policy decisions concerning any
of these personnel actions, the responsibility went to General Dalton's office, Military Personnel Division, ASF, with Maj. Florence Jepson to assist. Full authority over training policy as well as operation went to Military Training Division, Army Service Forces, accompanied by Maj. Elizabeth Smith. General Faith's Training Command was disbanded, and training centers were given to the service commands for administration, becoming Class I installations.9 Similarly, recruiting, housing, supply, overseas selection, and other functions were all transferred.10
Such removal of operating functions was in general enthusiastically received by the WAC staff, since it was the same action that they had recommended a year before and that had then been impossible in an auxiliary status. In the first burst of enthusiasm for decentralization, the staff ruthlessly swept out of the office every discernible operating duty, and forwarded public inquiries and field requests unanswered to other offices.
In only two cases did the Director attempt to retain some supervision. She first asked that training centers be made Class IV installations, not under the service command for training doctrine and assignments, but this was refused by the Army Service Forces.11 She also asked that she retain the power of final approval over the moral character of women officers selected by Army commanders for overseas shipment; this was also objectionable to the Director of Personnel, ASF, and was rejected by the War Department.12
The vague relationship of the Office of the Director WAC to the operating agencies was a source of confusion which Director Hobby in November requested the Army Service Forces to remove by publishing a circular defining responsibility. While she was permitted to recommend policy on all WAC matters, the other offices had always been finally responsible for policy, and there was no requirement that any co-ordination take place. The Director therefore asked that ASF divisions be charged with the responsibility of keeping her office fully informed of WAC matters and of WAC policy originated by them. `this request was rejected by Brig. Gen. Clinton F. Robinson of the Army Service Forces' Control Division, on the
grounds that ASP divisions would ordinarily give the Director information about WAC matters of special importance without being directed to do so.13
The success of the several shifts in responsibility was therefore variable depending upon the degree of voluntary co-ordination between the offices concerned. The Adjutant General's Office was highly successful in removing a tremendous load of routine operations from the Director's Office, such as the receiving of availability reports and the issuing of assignment orders.
On the other hand, Military Training Division habitually took unilateral action in training matters, publishing training courses and circulars that had never been seen by the Director. Training center commandants complained of a perpetual conflict between training directives and other portions of the WAC program, such as recruiting. In a few cases the transfer resulted in total obliteration of a phase of the WAC program: work on the WAC history was stopped by General Robinson of ASP Control Division, who relegated the previous excellent WAAC collection to the files, disapproved collection of further material, and assigned the former WAAC Historian, Lt. Virginia Smithson, to a clerk's job.14
Several divisions, although assuming responsibility for part of the WAC program, did not accept assignment of a WAC officer or other specialist to help perform it. The Morale Services Division, for example, took the all-important responsibility for orienting soldier opinion, and its director, Maj. Gen. Frederick H. Osborn, after personal conference with Colonel Hobby, agreed to accept assignment of a WAC officer; but in spite of efforts of Colonel Hobby's staff to remind him, no such assignment was made during the six months in which the WAC remained in the ASP. Similarly Brig. Gen. Joseph W. Byron of Special Services Division informed the Director that he intended to accept assignment of a WAC officer, but no assignment was accepted during this period.
Such reluctance appeared generally to be due to doubts concerning the propriety of employing a specialist for such a small group as the WAC, and to the belief that the regular staff could care for the additional responsibilities. However, within a few months it was apparent that little action was being taken on WAC problems in offices that did not have a WAC specialist. Her staff informed the Director, "There are certain operating divisions, ASF, which seem not to be fully aware that responsibility has fallen to them for matters concerning WAC personnel.15 The Director attempted to overcome such omissions by including, in her new office, a WAC liaison officer for each major ASP division. This system also did not work very well. Liaison officers noted that, even when a division was extremely co-operative in taking any action suggested by the Director's Office, it was inappropriate for their responsibilities to en-
listed women to be constantly called to the divisions' attention by the Office of the Director, and also inefficient in view of the "complexity of the organization . . . . and the impracticability of one liaison officer from this office being aware of all the functions or activities of the many branches and sections of each division." The WAC liaison officer noted that, in order to get Wacs included in these divisions' activities, she was forced to undertake "action more in the nature of operations than advisory."16
In addition, such outside interference was not always popular. The Navy noted, concerning an identical situation, that so long as the WAVES liaison officer's assignment, or even her desk, was in the Director's office, other divisions tended to regard her as "a sort of polite espionage service," and that the only workable system was the location of a specialist in the division office itself.17
Especial deterioration was noted in the handling of public relations, never well co-ordinated. WAAC Headquarters' small Office of Technical Information was transferred to the ASF Office of Technical Information, and subsequently to the War Department Bureau of Public Relations, where material concerning Wacs was handled, with even less co-ordination than had prevailed before, by the respective assistant directors of the bureau for ASF, AGF, and AAF. In the Army Service Forces' opinion, the "overall WAC public relations job" would now have to be performed by the service commands.18 Although General Somervell took steps to call this problem to their attention, there resulted during this six months a series of unfortunate releases which did little to assist the current recruiting drive.19
Even at best, considerable confusion prevailed during the period of transfer of operating functions, and there were unavoidable lapses in continuity of operation. Files of the various transferred offices were shipped off bodily to offices in which they could not later be located, and other documents were destroyed for lack of space to house them. Continual office moves, an old Pentagon custom, added to the commotion. After two moves and one consolidation in the preceding twelve months, the office moved again in November of 1943 from the second floor of the Pentagon to the third; two months after this it was moved back to the second floor.20
General Impression of Director's Status
There was general failure on the part of Army and WAC personnel in the field to understand the Director's new status, and total failure on the part of the public. Few could grasp the fact that she no longer had any command power over individual women; fewer still realized that she was no longer consulted about every WAC directive nor informed of the policy in every matter. As a result, the Office of the Director constantly received many inappropriate requests, inquiries, and demands for corrective action. Service commands still telephoned the Director's Office with complaints, such as the failure of Army depots to distribute WAC Regulations on time. Others wrote her about matters under their own command, such as at what hour Wacs should go to bed and whether dating
should be permitted in the women's unit dayrooms.21
Following the conversion to Army status; the Army Service Forces refused to let the Director's Office have any further reports on WAC clothing status, training, station lists, or rank: it approved reports only on WAC strength and recruiting returns. The Director's Office continued negotiations in an attempt to get more. 22
After this time, the Director had no means of discovering the problems of field units except by such visits as her staff was able to make, or by Congressional or other complaints; hence tier later knowledge of field conditions tended to be based on a sampling rather than on a complete compilation. She succeeded in having written into the forthcoming regulations a provision, resembling that of certain British services, that any WAC commander might write directly to the Director on matters of women's well-being, provided that she routed her letter through the post commander. This provision proved virtually inoperative: the Director's Office noted at the end of the war that it had almost never been used, since a company commander obviously jeopardized her own local advancement by using the privilege, and therefore ordinarily did so only in the gravest emergencies.23
First WAC Regulations
Among all integration problems, the hottest debate concerned the matter of the special Army Regulations, if any, to be issued for the WAC. For almost a year, since the introduction of the WAC legislation, General Somervell's office and Director Hobby's office had been at odds on this matter.
The basic issue was the matter of minimum safeguards for women. Director Hobby maintained that this would require a directive stating that Army enlisted women would be assigned only to units commanded by a woman officer. The ASF disagreed, pronouncing any special regulations favoritism for women. Maj. Gen. Lorenzo D. Gasser, of the War Department Manpower Board, added that Army personnel officers would be hampered in exercising their prerogatives of transfer and assignment if they could assign enlisted women only to stations where a WAC officer was located.24
An ASF committee, appointed before the conversion to consider the matter, informed the Director that no changes in Army Regulations would be made, since "Experience has dictated that the effect of a regulation is often resented, especially if it seems to curtail power."25 General Dalton, ASF's Chief of Military Personnel, also informed the Director: "It is highly undesirable that policies and regulations governing the control of WAAC personnel be more restrictive; than those governing officers and enlisted men."26 Upon reconsideration, the Army Service Forces decided that one basic Army Regulation for
the WAC would be required: that under no circumstances would women command men.27
Director Hobby replied that, if less than a company with its own WAC commander was used at any station, it was not economical to provide women's clothing stocks, hospital equipment, post exchange items, recreational programs, and other needs that differed from those of men. Where these were not provided, the women did not receive care equal to that normally provided by the Army for its men. The Director also asked for a written definition of her own new noncommand duties in the WAC, which should, she stated, be those of advising on women's well-being, "defined to mean conditions of employment suitable for women, which shall remain the primary concern of the Director WAC.28
The Director's view was several times upheld by the Chief of Staff, General Marshall. In the spring of 1943, over ASF nonconcurrence, he authorized publication of the revised WAAC Regulations (1943), which contained the desired safeguards.29 These governed the WAAC and WAC until late October 1943, when the General Staff was able to reconcile conflicting viewpoints and produce a final version of the WAC Regulations. The circular as published was drafted by G-1 Division, over the Army Service Forces' objection, personally discussed with Colonel Hobby by General White, and revised to incorporate her suggestions. On 9 November 1943 it was published as War Department Circular 289, the WAC's first important publication, which was to last, with amendments, for over a year, and to serve as a model for all later regulations.
Covering only six pages, it pointed out which Army Regulations were applicable unchanged, and authorized certain exceptions and special provisions. The required differences were:30
1. WAC units would contain only women and be commanded by WAC officers,
exactly as men's units were composed of and commanded by men.
2. Wacs would not be confined in the same building with men, except a hospital.
3. WAC messes would not be combined with men's messes except with War Department approval. [General Dalton almost immediately, repealed this restriction without informing the Director.]
4. Wacs would not be used in "restaurants or cafeterias in service clubs, guest houses, officers' clubs or messes." [Such assignments were ordinarily not authorized for any military personnel.]
5. WAC officers would not be promoted to the grade of colonel. [By act of Congress.]
6. Wacs would not command men unless specifically ordered to do so. [By act of Congress.]
7. Wacs would not be employed as physicians or nurses. [By act of Congress, to avoid infringing on existing organizations.]
8. WAC officers would be appointed only from officer candidate school graduates, and officer candidates would be selected only from women already in the Corps.
9. Enlistment standards would differ from men's in the age and citizenship requirements set by Congress, and in a different physical examination; venereal disease was also disqualifying, and women with dependent children were ineligible.
10. Discharge was mandatory for minors [by act of Congress]; authority was included for discharge for pregnancy.
In addition, Director Hobby succeeded in getting spelled out certain other requirements which were identical with requirements for men, but which were still frequently violated because of the Corps' early ambiguous status: Wacs were to fill only military jobs, could not replace civilians, would not be assigned as permanent kitchen police, and were eligible for membership on courts and boards. It was required that courts and boards hearing WAC enlisted women include at least one WAC officer, in line with the general practice of including members of an enlisted man's arm or service. It was also required that commanders using WAC troops employ WAC staff directors, part of whose duties was "continuous inspection."
Rights and Benefits of the WAC
None of the circulars published made clear the differences between the rights and benefits of enlisted women and those of enlisted men. The Comptroller General decisions, requested in July, began to arrive in late September and defined some of these. On the question "May Wacs get allowances for dependents?" the Comptroller General ruled that it was clearly the intent of Congress to grant such allowances, since an amendment to forbid dependency allowances had been defeated. This, however, resulted in "material discrimination" against Waves and nurses, for whom the Comptroller had rendered an opposite opinion. The Comptroller decided that Wacs could not get allowances for husbands but could for parents and children in certain cases.31
The Comptroller General also reversed a decision of the Veterans' Administration that husbands were not eligible to receive the death gratuity, and made other related decisions. In addition, other decisions were made by the Army's Judge Advocate General and the General Staff. Many of these concerned the benefits toward which WAAC service might be counted, which were in constant question by every Army station. Wherever possible the General Staff attempted to give credit for WAAC service: it was decided to count it for time-in-grade for promotion purposes, for relative rank within grades, toward accrued leave, and toward overseas theater ribbons. As for the Good Conduct Medal, The Adjutant General first ruled that WAAC service did not count toward the time required to earn it, but was overruled by the General Staff. For other questions the answer had legally to be negative, since WAAC service had not been actually military service, and could not be counted for longevity pay or other such financial benefits.32
Colonel Hobby requested that these decisions be compiled in a new circular entitled Rights and Benefits of the WAC, for ready reference by puzzled field stations. The War Department decided against publishing such a compilation on the grounds that this would be a special publication for women and that it would be better to insert each reference in appropriate Army Regulations as they were revised from time to time. The Army Air Forces nevertheless obtained a copy of the rejected circular, mimeographed it, and
sent it informally to AAF staff directors for their assistance in locating answers quickly. Many of these decisions never reached other field authorities; as late as 1946 War Department separation centers were discovered refusing to credit WAAC service for various benefits toward which it was creditable.33
Army Advisers Depart
The job of advising on Corps well-being under its new regulations now fell to an Office of the Director consisting of twenty officers, all women. The preliminary reduction, in November, had left the office with twenty-five officers, including Colonel Catron as executive and General Faith as head of the Field Survey Branch, but in December Colonel Hobby recommended that the office be still further reduced.34 For service with the WAAC, General Somervell secured for General Faith the award of the Distinguished Service Medal, saying "To him, in large measure, belonged the responsibility of success in the whole program of women's participation in service with the Armed Forces."35 To replace the departing officers Colonel Hobby gave key office positions to women brought in from staff directorships in the field. Major Rice left the recruiting office to become deputy director; Maj. Mary-Agnes Brown, formerly of the Eighth Service Command, was made executive officer. In civil life Major Brown had been an attorney for the Veterans' Administration and past president of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Maj. Katherine R. Goodwin of the First Service Command became the personnel officer. Major Goodwin's civilian experience had been as head of business administration in the Hartford, Connecticut, public schools.
Field Needs After Integration
Army commanders simultaneously took over the task of operating the Corps under Army Regulations. One WAC authority noted:
Generals, lieutenants, and sergeants who had long been privately certain that this business of utilizing women as soldiers would be perfectly simple, if the War Department would just let them handle it, now had a chance to prove their point. They went into action with all shades and degrees of concepts, from that which held that all women, in or out of uniform, were ladies who should be shielded from the rough ways of the world, to that which held that all soldiers were soldiers and should be treated alike, whether or not they were women . . . . Even for the many men who did not go to either of these extremes . . . women as soldiers were something new and different and required considerable getting used to.36
In spite of the inestimable advantages of Army status, field commanders faced certain disadvantages in attempting to begin operations under men's regulations, which were still largely unmodified. At Camp Gordon, Georgia, inspectors found that a WAC unit was getting all of men's T/BA equipment, including fifteen water tanks, spare gas tanks, a litter for carrying the wounded from the battlefield, and other property which it was unable to store in the space provided. Elsewhere just
the opposite idea prevailed, and because WAC units were gradeless, stations refused to issue them guidons, unit vehicles, or other standard equipment.
Army records and reports were now used for women and had to be modified in many cases. Officer candidates already processed and at the head of the waiting list had to be reprocessed under Army Regulations and take the test used for men, as well as appear before Army boards which sometimes differed considerably in judgment from the previous all Waac boards. Commands were embarrassed when they tried women by court-martial and sentenced them to confinement without first providing a place of confinement. Stations and training centers that had previously weeded out prostitutes and other undesirables found that .Army Regulations gave them no authority to discharge military personnel for prostitution.37
A major, if temporary, complaint was that no uniformity of personnel action was thenceforth possible for the "Corps"-now a corps in name only. Promotion was in the Army channel, and therefore could not be consistent from one command to another; junior officers were promoted before senior, women in less important jobs before those in more responsible, according to varying command and station policies and opportunities. Discipline was also a command matter, and major offenders went unpunished in some commands while minor matters in others were dealt with severely. Policies on dress, leaves, restrictions, and such matters varied. Training of various sorts, including physical training, was required by some stations and not by others.
Similarly, Corps-wide personnel programs were made impossible, including rotation of training center officers to the field, relief of recruiters, or systematic advancement of company officers. The difficulty was intensified in that, while most Army commands had thousands of male personnel and could effect normal rotation among them, the average command had only a handful of WAC units and perhaps one staff job of field grade.
Another new difficulty was the lack of information. At Fort Moultrie inspectors noted, "Complaint was made that few notices of any nature were reaching the detachment from Headquarters Fourth Service Command"; at Camp Cordon, "The WAC Commanding Officer felt a need for more information about her job." It would obviously hereafter be more difficult to get WAC matters down to company level through the more complicated Army echelons than through the shorter WAAC channels.
To solve such new problems, there was noted a general tendency for the field to request directives from Washington to solve field problems and set Corps-wide policies. At a staff directors' meeting in December 1943, representatives asked the Director for a standard operating procedure to secure uniform punishments for women in various commands, adequate physical training, proper officers' quarters, and other items. Violations of uniform regulations by female personnel were in particular looked upon as a matter that some WAC authority should correct. Many asked to be allowed to assign worthless personnel to some sort of central WAC
pool for disposition, as it proved extremely difficult to get male personnel to discipline and reclassify women. The difficulty of lack of uniformity was especially acute at places like Fort Riley, which had three sets of regulations for the three WAC units assigned respectively to the cavalry school, the replacement training center, and the post headquarters.38
Such difficulties, while very real, presented a peculiar problem in view of Colonel Hobby's determination to integrate the WAC in the Army. She repeatedly rejected any proposal which, she said, "tends to give the impression that the WAC is something apart from the Army."39 Thus, while she marked for correction certain legitimate needs for new policies or amplified regulations, in general she replied to such requests that they were matters of command. The lack of uniformity of action among Army commands, although especially conspicuous among the WAC minority, was not a WAC problem but an Army one, concerning men as well as women, and inherent in the system of command responsibility.
Close of 1943
At the end of 1943, Wacs at a staff directors' conference pointed with pride to the WAC's progress since the previous December. Then, ten staff directors had attended the meeting; in 1943, fifty-three were present. Then the WAAC had boasted only two post headquarters companies plus the Aircraft Warning Service in the field; now it had more than 260 companies. More Wacs were presently in each of two foreign theaters than had a year before been in the whole field. Then the headquarters and training centers had been run chiefly by men; now, they were run chiefly by women. Then, the training center had been the WAC world; now, it had receded to relative insignificance. Then, only service commands had employed Wacs; now all commands did. Wacs had been taken into the Army and had generally done away with separate grades, T/O's, and channels." 40
The first of January 1944 found the WAC with a reported membership of 62,859 as against 20,943 a year before. Losses of the conversion period had almost been regained, several months before this had been believed possible. "We are very much encouraged," Colonel Hobby said. The Director added:
It is quite a consolation and encouragement to compare the difference in the questions and problems that arose at this Staff Conference with the ones that arose about a year ago and the ones that arose six months ago-partially a tribute to your indoctrination and understanding, and partially a tribute to the Army for the very fine and splendid assistance it has given the WAC, now one of its components.41
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