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Women in the Military in World War II U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Emphasis Programs Presents: Women’s History Month 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Women in the Military in World War II U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Emphasis Programs Presents: Women’s History Month 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in the Military in World War II U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Emphasis Programs Presents: Women’s History Month 2005

2 “It wasn’t just my brother’s country, or my husband’s country, it was my country as well. And so this war wasn’t just their war, it was my war, and I needed to serve in it.” Major Beatrice Hood Stroup Women’s Army Corps, WWII

3 Women in WWII: Introduction 400,000 American women served American women were in every service branch, assigned around the world 1 st time the armed services actively recruited women in large numbers Helped alleviate major workforce shortages in various fields within the military Service helped in expanding women’s roles and opportunities around the world

4 Women in WWII Army Nurse Corps (ANC) Navy Nurse Corps Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard Reserve (SPARs) Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)

5 Army Nurse Corps (ANC) Est.1901 - oldest female branch of U.S. military services Served all over world, including near front lines in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes Forest, on German/Belgian border) Army nurses in Philippines were taken prisoner and cared for other inmates during the 2½ years they were POWs April 1945, suicide plane off waters of Okinawa crashed into the USS Comfort, killing 6 Army nurses and 1 Navy nurse 201 Army nurses died during the war Many African American nurses tried to join, but most were denied - A unit of African American nurses served in Tagap, Burma, in September 1944

6 Navy Nurse Corps Established in 1908 Navy nurses were at Pearl Harbor and cared for the injured after the attack 11 Navy nurses and 66 Army nurses were Japanese POWs for over 3 years Army and Navy nurses served throughout the world and suffered highest casualty rate of all military women –83 taken as POWs “One day it seemed like the whole area was full of ships and the next morning there was not a single one. We knew the invasion was beginning. We were on alert. We could not leave and were on duty 24 hours a day. We didn’t know what we were waiting for…And then the causalities came. It took about 3 or 4 days after the invasion before we started receiving causalities…We did not sleep for the first 24 hours, and then finally sleep had to be rationed because no one would leave their work.” Helen Pavlovsky Ramsey, LT, USNR (Ret.), Stationed at Royal Hospital in Netley, England on D-Day

7 Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Women’s Army Corps (WAC) WAAC became WAC when women given full status and benefits 300 WACs worked at Los Alamos, NM, on the Manhattan Project atomic bomb development –Cryptographers, chemists, photographers, electronics techs, etc. –WACs received Meritorious Unit Award 40,000 WACs assigned to Air Force (“Air WACs”) and were radio operators, code instructors, and airplane mechanics. Former WAC, Sherian Grace Cadoria, became the 1 st African American female general in 1985 Oveta Culp Hobby was 1 st Director of WAC –Later became 1 st person to hold position of Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and 2 nd woman to hold a cabinet position

8 Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) Were aerographers, control tower operators, aviation metal smiths, aviation machinist mates, and gunnery instructors. Between December 1941 and August 1945, 7 officers and 62 enlisted WAVES died while on active duty 3 WAVES awarded Cross of Lorraine by France for training French pilots Grace Hopper joined the WAVES in 1943 and retired as a Captain in 1986 –Invented COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) and guided U.S. Navy into the computer age “WAVES of the Navy, there’s a ship sailing down the bay/ And she won’t come into port again until that vict’ry day./ Carry on for that gallant ship and for every hero brave/ Who will find ashore his man-sized chore was done by a Navy WAVE.” – WAVES song

9 Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Were automotive mechanics, auditors and statisticians, assembly and repair mechanics, weather observers, teletype operators, welders, map makers, etc. Over 22,000 female officers and enlisted served during the war Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Band formed in 1943, and toured country, often playing concerts at hospitals “They are Marines. They don’t have a nickname and they don’t need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine post. They inherit the traditions of Marines. They are Marines.” General Thomas Holcomb, Marine Commandant, on the issue of women in the Marines, in a March 27, 1944 issue of Life

10 Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard Reserve (SPARs) Over 10,000 women volunteered for SPARs from 1942-1946 SPARs is from Coast Guard motto – Semper Paratus, Always Ready 1 st women to attend a military academy –During war, Coast Guard was only service to train women’s officer corps at its academy Were parachute riggers, chaplains assistants, air control-tower operators, vehicle drivers, gunner’s mate, etc. Assigned to highly classified LORAN (Long Range Aid to Navigation) project, which enabled navigation under all weather conditions Was not until October 1944, that Coast Guard authorized the acceptance of African American women to enlist March 1945, Olivia J. Hooker became 1 st African American in March 1945

11 Women Air force Service Pilots (WASP) 1,078 women were WASP and became 1 st women in history to fly American military aircraft Stationed at 120 air bases across the U.S. Flew more than 60 million miles ferrying aircraft, flight testing, transporting cargo, etc. 38 WASP died in the line of duty Unlike other women in military services, WASP denied military status and benefits “…On through the storm and the sun/ Fly on till our mission is done/ From factory to base, let the WASPs set the pace,/ We’re a thousand strong!” From WASP song “Fifinella” is WASP mascot and was designed by Walt Disney for a proposed film, but he allowed WASP to use it

12 Minority Women in the Military in WWII Many minority women served in the military during WWII, but contributions have often been obscured and ignored Most units and facilities were segregated and prejudice was widespread Minnie Spotted Wolf (Blackfeet) was 1 st American Indian woman to enter Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Rafaela Muniz Esquivel, Army Nurse Corps –Served at the 242 nd General Hospital at Sissonne, France and the 101 st Evacuation Hospital in Luxembourg

13 Minority Women in the Military in WWII Hazel Ying Lee was a pilot (WASP) killed in the line of duty in Montana, in 1944 PFC Eva Mirabel (Taos Pueblo) was painter and cartoonist in WAC –Assisted on “Bride of Wings” mural, which is still in place at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH Carmen Bozak, WAC –Teletype operator in Algiers, transmitted coded messages to the battlefield

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