partners exhibit heading
 

women in the military
Women in
Military Service



   

 

Armed Services:

Many Americans opposed the idea of women in military service in non-nursing jobs. But following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress authorized women to serve with the U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard in 1942, and the Marines in 1943 for the duration of the emergency plus six months. More than 400,000 women served, 432 died, and 88 were prisoners of war.

In the bottom left photo is Donna Mae Baldenecker, first WAAC bugler, Fort Des Moines, Iowa. In the bottom right photo is WAC Private First Class Rose Salute, Harlingen Army Air Field, Harlingen, Texas.



Donna Mae Baldenecker, first WAAC bugler WAC Private First Class Rose Salute
Women were initially barred from supervisory positions, jobs requiring physical strength, or work in conditions "improper for women." But as the first recruits proved their worth, the Army tried to enlist as many as 1.5 million women. These ambitious recruiting goals were never met despite an intensive public education program to prove to a skeptical public that servicewomen were pretty, feminine, capable, and absolutely necessary to help the men and the nation win the war.
The photo to the right is a WAVES recruiting poster,
"It’s a Woman’s War Too! Join the WAVES"
by John Falter, USNR, 1942
WAVES recruiting poster, "It’s a Woman’s War Too!  Join the WAVES"by John Falter, USNR, 1942 WAC recruiting poster, "Woman’s Place in War-The Army of the United States has 239 kinds of jobs for women" The photo to the left is a WAC recruiting poster, "Woman’s Place in War-The Army of the United States has 239 kinds of jobs for women"
Top Row Photos Below:
Left - 9th Company, 3rd Regiment, 73rd Basic Company, First WAC Training Center, Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
Right - WAVES in formation on the grounds of the Washington Monument

9th Company, 3rd Regiment, 73rd Basic Company,
 WAVES in formation on the grounds

Army nurses attached to the Army Air Corps bivouac in Hawaii

Hawaii’s WACs review infantry troops parading in their honor 1945
Bottom Row Photos Above :
Left - Army nurses attached to the Army Air Corps bivouac in Hawaii as part of training for combat areas, c.1945
Right - Hawaii’s WACs review infantry troops parading in their honor, Hawaii, 3 January 1945.

 

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 Photo Credits (L to R): #1 & 2: The Women's Memorial, #3: Library of Congress, #4: National Archives,
#5 & 6: The Women's Memorial, #7 & 8: U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii



(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007