If you see a woman wearing the Women’s Army Corps Service Medal, I suggest you thank her for her service and help her with anything she needs. She will be quite elderly because this medal was only distributed to women who served in World War II.
Anyone who served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps or the Women’s Army Corps between the dates of July 10th, 1942 to September 2nd, 1945 is eligible to wear this prestigious medal.
In today’s post, we are going to take a look as to why, when, and other facts that this medal for women who served in World War II was developed. Scroll down and learn more about the Women’s Army Corps Service Medal.
Women in World War I
During World War I, there were some women who contracted their services to the Army overseas. They worked in food preparation and communications jobs, but due to the fact that they were under contract, they had to find their own sleeping quarters and food to eat. The Army offered no benefits of any kind to these women even though they were serving in a patriotic mission.
Edith Rogers and World War II
Edith Rogers was a Congresswoman from Massachusetts in 1941. Edith knew about the way women served in the first World War and she was set to change this. She spoke with the Army’s Chief of Staff, General George Marshall about introducing a bill that would establish a Women’s Army Corps that was separate from the Nurse’s Corp. General Marshall somewhat agreed with the Congresswoman.
Through many negotiations, the bill to establish the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was finally introduced. It didn’t provide all the benefits that Edith wanted, but it was a start. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the Army and the United States Senate did realize that without the women’s help, they would be seriously short of manpower; so they gave in to women power.
Oveta Culp Hobby
The Secretary of War was Henry Stimson. Mr Stimson appointed the wife of a former Texas Governor as the director of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. Her name was Oveta Culp Hobby. Oveta’s first goal was recruiting women volunteers. She had a goal of attracting 150,000 female service members.
The first training center was in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and over 35,000 women applied. The qualifications stated that applicants must be:
United States citizens
Between 21 and 45 years old
At least 5 foot tall
Weigh at least 100 pounds
New training centers popped up all across the United States, and women were now a part of the Army in areas other than just medical positions. This was a step up from the old standard that women needed to be in the home cooking, cleaning and having babies.
The First Overseas Jobs For Women
As the women graduated, they were sent to Aircraft Warning Stations. This was an area that the Army was quite short handed in. It was a major help to the Army Air Force. As these positions were filled, and more women graduated, the Army discovered there was many other jobs these women could do. Some of the jobs they would now fill consisted of:
Control tower operators
And many more
Yes, this showed that women were quite capable, and this greatly helped the Army. Some of these women even took on flying missions.
Even though these women were helping greatly, they still faced ridicule and prejudice. Many Soldiers had been led to believe that a woman’s place was in the home. But many leaders did realize how great of a job these female Soldiers were doing.
While the auxiliary Army Corps kept most women on the mainland, some did start going overseas with the invasion of North Africa. They were kept far beyond front lines, and they still were not receiving equal benefits in comparison to their male counterparts. This is when leaders all agreed these women deserved more.
It was proposed there should be a branch of the Army that was female. The WAAC was formed to work with the Army, but was essentially not a part of the Army. The Women’s Army Corps was formed which provided the women the same benefits as men. At this point any woman serving in the WAAC was given the choice of enlisting in the WAC or returning to civilian life. The estimates show that about 75% of the women enlisted.
They didn’t carry rifles and grenades, but they took care of a wide array of other duties while our Soldiers battled enemies on many fronts. If we didn’t have the women serving in World War II, the outcome probably would have been much different, and with many more of our Soldiers killed or maimed. We owe many thanks to all the women who served in World War II.
You will discover that overall, women have been a great help in the defense of the United States. Many of these women have achieved medals other than the one I am about to explain. I mention this because if you know of any woman who served in World War II, you need to know that it wasn’t easy. Many of them faced loss of weight, and great stress trying to be all they could be in the United States Women’s Army.
President Franklin Roosevelt and the Women’s Army Corp Service Medal
President Franklin Roosevelt and the United States Congress did realize just how big a help these women were to the war efforts. In 1943, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9365 which instituted the Women’s Army Corps Service Medal. This medal would be given to any WAAC or WAC service member who served between the dates of July 10th, 1942 until September 2nd, 1945.
The Women’s Army Corp Service Medal
The medal is bronze and has a depiction of the goddess Athena on the front in bust format. At the top it says Women’s, and at the bottom: Army Corps. The reverse has an eagle holding a scroll and surrounded by 13 stars. The scroll reads: FOR SERVICE IN THE WOMEN’S ARMY AUXILIARY CORPS.
The designer of this prestigious medal was Thomas Hudson Jones. It was worn before the American Campaign Medal and after the American Defense Service Medal.
No matter what anyone thinks, women have been a great help in the service of our country. It all started with World War I when women volunteered with no benefits. They rightfully deserved everything they were given when the WAC was instituted, and much more.
Do you have a family member such as a Mother, Grandmother or Aunt that earned this medal? We would love to hear more about her and the service she gave for our country. Please do me a favor and thank her from all of us here at Part Time Commander.
To all women who serve in the Army, or any other branch of the United States military, we gratefully thank you for your service. May your days and nights all be filled with blessings.