DISTRIBUTION, VERSATILITY AND EXCELLENCE OF
WACS SERVING WITH ARMY SERVICE FORCES
[Note: This manuscript, probably written in late 1944, is part of the US Army Center of Military History's Historical Manuscripts Collection (HMC), and carries the serial number 2-2.1 BC, which should be included in any footnote or other citation. Although the document which follows has been retyped to make it available on the Internet, every effort has been made to retain the spelling, punctuation, and flavor of the original.]
DISTRIBUTION, VERSATILITY AND EXCELLENCE OF WACS
SERVING WITH ARMY SV FORCES
The Army Service Forces procures, trains, assigns and separates from the service the members of the Women's Army Corps.
A WAC who serves with the Army Service Forces has a part in the delivery of troops, food, guns, ammunition and thousands of essential items down the supply lines of the world. She has a part in the tremendous task of supplying everything a soldier needs to fight and live. Many of the jobs done by the women in ASF are routine—some are glamorous, but whatever the job is, every Wac knows that a paper not properly routed today may mean insufficient supplies to our fighting men tomorrow. Every Wac with ASF realizes that her work is vital because she knows that the ASF alone cannot win this war but the ASF can lose it.
Approximately 40% of all enlisted personnel of the WAC and 50% of all officers are on duty with the Army Service Forces. Their services are nation wide, whether they be with a service command, the Military District of Washington, or with the technical services.
The Wacs with ASF are distributed on an allotment basis to the service commands and technical services. The commanding general of each service command and chief of each technical service sub-allots this personnel to the various components of his command. In each event a small percentage of the WAC officers allotted to the commands are used in WAC administration. The rest of the officers are assigned to operational jobs where they replace a male officer on a one-for-one basis in the hundreds of jobs that officers must do in the ASF.
No single command has reached its authorized strength in WAC personnel. The main reason for this is that enlisted personnel and officers from ASF installations are called upon to furnish personnel to fill the SOS requisitions from foreign theaters. Another reason is that with the opportunities for enlistment a woman is privileged to choose her branch of service and the enlistments have been divided between AFG, AAF and ASF.
The Army Service Forces operate two WAC training centers: Ft. Des Moines, Iowa, and Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. During the month of August the ASF trained 70 officers and 1,361 enlisted women in ASF schools, prepared 1,600 Wacs for overseas shipment at the Overseas Replacement Depot, and gave basic training to over 10,000 women in the two WAC Training Centers.
Wacs are being trained in the schools of Physical Therapy, in the Army and Navy General Hospital, in the Army Finance School, in the School for Special and Morale Services, as well as in the various schools operating under the jurisdiction of the technical services. In addition to these thousands of women who are being trained to take their places with the Army, the following personnel are on jobs with the ASF in the service commands and technical services:
|First Service Command||110||1,150|
|Second Service Command||120||1,371|
|Third Service Command||180||1,287|
|Fourth Service Command||600||4,600|
|Fifth Service Command||65||1,500|
|Sixth Service Command||170||1,140|
|Seventh Service Command||480||2,800|
|Eighth Service Command||240||2,100|
|Ninth Service Command||300||1,500|
|Military District of Washington||50||1,050|
|Chemical Warfare Service||65||590|
|Surgeon General's Office||15||200|
The Wacs serving with the Army Service Forces are on duty in over 200 installations throughout the country, from the Ports of Embarkation on both coasts, in the many general hospitals throughout the country, and in the majority of posts.
When the women's Army Auxiliary Corps came into existence, the duties originally assigned were in the clerical field, driving and maintenance of WAAC units. Because many of the women who joined the Corps were sufficiently skilled and sufficiently able with or without additional training to perform a wider variety of jobs, the classification became more varied and far reaching.
There are now 239 different Army jobs at which Wacs are at work. All are classified as urgent to the operation of our Army. Many hundreds of jobs in the Army do not involve actual fighting. Many are desk jobs, such as keeping records on personnel, finance and supplies. Others are the vital jobs which maintain communications, by switchboard, teletype and radio. Still others are more technical, and call for specialized skill and training.
Today, the specialized jobs being done by Wacs in ASF include occupations highly regarded in civilian industry. Wacs are receiving
thorough training in the complex science of photography. They learn the principles of development and printing, of camera repair, mixing emulsions and finishing negatives. They learn to assemble, mount and interpret mosaic maps.
WITH THE ARMY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT
Wacs who have a background of sufficient scientific training are being used as laboratory, surgical, X-ray and dental technicians. The Regional Hospital at Camp Crowder, Missouri, found the services of the WAC so useful that a course was initiated to train Medical Secretaries. It is estimated that one doctor and one Medical Secretary can do the work of two doctors. Camp Crowder is also training Ward Clerks. These enlisted women do all the paper work for Army Nurses who can ten devote much more of their time to the important and necessary duty of caring for our sick and wounded men.
Many Wacs have graduated from the Army and Navy General Hospital as Medical Technicians and have taken their added knowledge to their posts of duty in the station, region and general hospitals throughout the country. Those who have seen the Movie, "To the Ladies", do not need to be told what an invaluable contribution the many hundreds of women in the Corps are rendering in the Army hospitals. One installation—Army Medical Center, Walter Reed Hospital, is under the direct supervision of The Surgeon General. There is one WAC Detachment stationed at Walter Reed Hospital. But many Wacs who are counted in service command allotments are working in station and general hospitals in every service command.
With the Quartermaster Corps
There are four detachments of WAC enlisted women at Quartermaster installations at the present time: Hq. Camp Lee, Va.; The Quartermaster School; ASF Training Center, Camp Lee; Robinson QM Depot (Remount).
These women are doing the usual routine but important jobs in helping these installations run smoothly: Clerks, typists, stenographers, drivers, librarians, photographers. In addition to these enlisted women at Quartermaster installations, there are many members at posts, camps, stations, who are working with the local Quartermaster in the offices, the warehouses, and sales commissaries.
There are 125 WAC officers on operational jobs at QM installations distributed among the following: Office of Quartermaster General; The Quartermaster Board, Camp Lee; the QM Inspection Service, New York; and 17 ASF and QM Depots located from the East Coast tot he West Coast. These officers are doing a great variety of jobs—training, personnel, sales, inspection, procurement, stock control, storage, fiscal, and contract termination.
Probably the most technical of all work being handled by Wacs is that being done by over 700 members serving in the ten Ordnance installations:
|Atlanta Ordnance Depot||Red River Ordnance Depot|
|Frankfort Ordnance Depot||St. Louis Ordnance District|
|Mt. Ranier Ordnance Depot, Miss.||San Antonio Arsenal|
|Philadelphia Ordnance District||Savannah Ordnance Depot|
|Raritan Arsenal||Office Chief of Ordnance|
In the Ballistics Testing laboratories where Ordnance equipment is examined, Wacs are employed in computing the velocity of bullets, measuring the weight of bomb fragments to determine the degree of fragmentation of bombs, mixing gunpowder, and loading shells. They are working as draftsmen, mechanics and electricians and are receiving practical training in Ordnance engineering. These women are doing jobs which help to insure that our armed forces are supplied with the best in weapons and firepower.
With the Transportation Corps
Approximately 13% of all WAC personnel in ASF are on duty with the Transportation Corps in the eight major Ports of Embarkation: New York, Boston, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans.
The jobs being done by the enlisted women are varied in kind and, contrary to popular belief, not all motor corps. For instance, at San Francisco, Wacs working in the Unit Supply Office issue guns to the soldiers and officers awaiting shipment overseas. They must become familiar with all types of guns, the ammunition for each, and the type to be issued to each man according to his destination. Records must be kept on these issues. One Wac said about her job, "The soldiers come in unarmed and go out with a gun, and it gives me a pretty good feeling."
At a certain port, the fame of one enlisted woman has spread via the grapevine. She is the first woman a returning officer sees, as each one must report to her desk when he debarks. She notifies him of any change of orders and keeps a record on the location of each officer while he is in port.
Through the ports move the 800,000 odd items needed to keep the forces in the field supplied, equipped, and tactically active. Last year the Ports of Embarkation moved out 1,800,000 men to overseas stations. The Wacs helped in this work in the following jobs: Boat dispatcher, reporter, draftsman, checker on piers and ships, and classification of supplies and men.
With the Signal Corps
1,484 enlisted women of the Corps comprise 10% of the total Signal Corps enlisted personnel authorized. In addition to this 10%, there are 238 enlisted women working in the War Department Signal Center under the direct supervision of the Chief Signal Officer. Here direct communications are maintained between the War Department, the major commands in the United States, and with every tactical force overseas.
Wacs are on duty at the following Signal Corps installations:
Two Rock Ranch
Holabird Signal Depot
A broad grouping of the Signal Corps assignment fields and percentage of Wacs employed:
|Signal Corps Technical Specialists||63%|
|Mess and Motor Pool Personnel||9%|
With Chemical Warfare Service
Wacs are working at the following CWS installations:
Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark.
Edgewood Arsenal, Md.
Dugway Proving Ground, Utah
Camp Dietrich, Frederick, Md.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Denver, Colo.
Huntsville Arsenal, Ala.
Office Chief CWS, Baltimore, Md.
At Dugway Proving Ground, which is 78 miles from the nearest town and in the middle of the desert, Wacs are working in every office and doing every kind of job for CWS.
Wacs working in CWS installations are working side by side with college professors in laboratories testing and perfecting munitions. They are out on the testing field, with walkie-talkie's, cameras, surveying instruments. Some use meterology instruments and others take data on dispersion and effects of the tests. Some are glass blowers making different test tubes for the chemical laboratories.
A Commanding Officer of an arsenal has stated that his WAC officers who were acting as civilian personnel officers in his large arsenal could get more work out of the civilians than any male officer he had. A high-ranking officer at a CWS installation said that the Wacs at his station were the greatest group of women that he had ever seen.
The quality of work performed by the members of the Women's Army Corps can be measured in the reactions of the Army to one of its youngest components.
From E. B. Gregory, Major, General, QMG: "In this war that reaches into the four corners of the earth, the fate of armies hinges more than ever before upon adequate supply. Upon the 465,000 officers and enlisted personnel of the QM Corps rests the responsibility of supplying the vast amounts of clothing, food, and general supplies to keep our Army at peak efficiency. Personnel of the Women's Army Corps have become an integral part of this organization and we now have unfilled requisitions from QM installations requesting more WAC personnel. The QM Corps greatly needs women to serve in many capacities for which they are inherently qualified."
From Lieutenant General Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff: General McNarney presented the WAC with a commendation for superior services performed in reproducing weekly the minutes of the General Council, as well as other material for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff. He states, "It is approximately one year since the WAC personnel were assigned to the Classification Reproduction Section in order to solve a most difficult problem. I feel that their performance during this last year has been a fine tribute to the Women's Army Corps, and I a extremely grateful for their fine work and loyal service."
From Major General C. P. Gross, Chief of Transportation: "The Wacs have demonstrated thoroughly their value to the Transportation Corps. They have become an integral part of our busy ports, not only because of the quality of their work, but also because of the enthusiasm thery have displayed and their loyalty to the Transportation Corps and the entire Army. The demand for their services is growing daily.…"
From Brigadier General Joseph F. Battley, Deputy Chief of Staff for Service Commands: "Your record-making successes … prove that the Army's confidence in you has not been misplaced."
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