The Women's Army Corps

The Women's Army Corps

The Women's Army Corps

The Women's Army Corps

Excerpt

Soon after the end of hostilities, the decision was made to devote to the Women's Army Corps one volume of the Army's major historical series, U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Although small by comparison with the size of the Army, the WAC at its peak strength of 100,000 constituted an enviably large group for study. Because of its 24-hour-a-day control of its personnel, the Army had access to information not easily obtainable by business or industry, concerning not only the women's job efficiency but their clothing and housing needs, and the effects of their employment upon their health, conduct, morale, and recreation.

For most of the war months, the potential importance of this material was not recognized, and little systematic effort was made to collect it. A number of Army commands had rulings against the collection of separate statistics for women, while others lacked either the time or the means to compile such material.

In postwar days, with renewed emphasis upon future planning, the present study was authorized in an attempt to pull together such evidence as remained. It was recognized that the experience of the relatively small group in World War 11 might provide a guide to any later and more extensive national mobilization of womanpower that might be necessary. Although no one possessed sufficient clairvoyance to predict the course of history, it was plainly evident that, in any future emergencies, the proper mobilization and employment of womanpower reserves might become a primary national issue.

The preservation of the wartime discoveries made in this field assumed added importance in view of the fact that no other American or British service has yet published a full official history of its women's corps. Significantly, comparison of the records of these groups reveals that the problems and achievements of each fall into a pattern so similar as to suggest a strong measure of predictability of the course of future groups. The Navy Department's draft narrative of the WAVES remains under classification, as do those of the Women Marines and the Army Nurse Corps. The story of the Air Forces women is included in the present volume, since the wartime Air Wacs were a part of the WAC.

The Army's discoveries in general appear valid and reliable, not only for militarized groups, but for most nonmilitary institutions or businesses which train or employ women. The observations on health, fatigue, accident rates, and psychological patterns should be a useful addition to current industrial studies. The discoveries in the fields of training, housing, clothing, feeding, and . . .

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