THE WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS. By Mattie E. Treadwell. (1954, 1985, 1991; 841 pages, 13 tables, 2 charts, 97 illustrations, 5 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 11-8.)
This comprehensive and detailed record of the wartime Women's Army Corps (WAC) is the first full-dress official history prepared about a corps of women in the military service of any nation. Although the work is pitched at the policy and planning level, rather then at the hundreds of individual units that made up the WAC, the author has managed to include many samplings of the ordinary female soldier's routine duties and reactions enough to give the reader a real sense of what life was like for a woman in the Army and what it was like for the Army to have women in it.
The spotlight is often focused on WAC headquarters and on its wartime head, Col. Oveta Culp Hobby. Her efforts to make the WAC a going and useful concern were sometimes handicapped by the confusion that existed in the field and on occasion even in Washington about the extent of her authority and responsibilities as Director, WAC. Nevertheless, the chronological account of the establishment and conduct of the Women's Army Corps is considerably amplified by a topical discussion of various aspects of the Army's problems in employing womanpower.
The WAC at its peak strength of 100,000 constituted an enviably large group for study. Because of its around-the-clock control of personnel, the Army had access to information not easily obtainable by business or industry. Its 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, as well as the discoveries in the fields of training, housing, clothing, feeding, and disciplining groups of women, offer
valuable insights, including heretofore unpublished statistics, in the social history of the Army.
Part One, "The Organization and Growth of a Women's Corps," covers the origin (Ch. I) and establishment (Ch. II) of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, the struggles of the first year (Chs. III-XI), the conversion and integration into the Army (Chs. XII, XIV), attempts to revive recruiting (Ch. XIII), and the removal of the Director's Office to the G-1 (personnel) Division (Ch. XV). Part Two, "World-Wide Employment," begins with the account of the employment of women in the Army's three major commands: the Army Air Forces (Ch. XVI), the Army Ground Forces (Ch. XVII), and the Army Service Forces (Ch. XVIII). The next chapter (Ch. XIX) describes their employment in the Medical Department's Auxiliary Service Force (ASF). The succeeding three chapters describe the WACs in overseas theaters: the Mediterranean theater, including North Africa (Ch. XX); the European theater (Ch. XXI); the Southwest Pacific Area (Ch. XXII); and other overseas theaters (Ch. XXIII). The Office of the Director, WAC, is discussed in the last chapter (XXIV).
Part Three, "War Department Policy Concerning the Women's Army Corps," deals with legal, social, and moral problems (Ch. XXV); housing, food, and clothing (Ch. XXVI); the employment of personnel: enlisted women (Ch. XXVII), officers (Ch. XXVIII), overseas shipment (Ch. XXIX), and minority groups (Ch. XXX); health and medical care (Ch. XXXI); training (Ch. XXXII); the leadership of women (Ch. XXXIII); and recruiting and publicity (Ch. XXXIV).
Part Four, "Last Days of the Wartime WAC," describes the WACs in the closing months of the war (Ch. XXXV) and in the throes of demobilization (Ch. XXXVI). The title of the final chapter is self-explanatory: "Evaluation and Recommendations."
Women's services, other than the WAC, discussed in this volume are the
1. Air Wacs (see Index: also under "Army Air Forces").
2. Army Nurse Corps (see Index).
3. British women's services (see Index: "Auxiliary Territorial Services," and App. B)
4. Canadian women's services (see Index).
5. Women's service in the U.S. Coast Guard (see Index: "SPARS").
6. WASP (see Index: "Women Air Service Pilots," and App. D).
7. WAVES (see Index: "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service").
8. WIRES (see Index: "Women in Radio and Electrical Service").
9. Women's Reserve, Marine Corps (see Index).
10. WOWs (see Index: "Women Ordnance Workers").
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