Col. Oveta Culp Hobby (right) talks with Auxiliary Margaret Peterson and Capt. Elizabeth Gilbert at Mitchel Field (New York State) / World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Aumuller. Source: Library of Congress
Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government
This year's national theme honors women who have dedicated their lives to serving as leaders in public service and government. These women helped shape American history by influencing policy, championing basic human rights, and ensuring equal opportunity for all. One of the 2016 national honorees is Oveta Culp Hobby, the first Director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and the first Secretary of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. During World War II, Colonel Hobby meticulously and with great personal sacrifice, oversaw the creation and implementation of the Women's Army Corps. She had the monumental task of establishing procedures and policies for the recruitment, training, administration, discipline, assignment, and discharge for women in the Women's Army Corps. In two short years she raised an Army of women, building the strength of the Corps to over 100,000. Her military career, followed by years of federal service, did indeed enable Oveta Culp Hobby to form a more perfect Union.
MG Ulio, COL Hobby and COL Faith (L-R) reviewing the First Officer Candidate Course Graduating Class, 1942. Fort Des Moines, IA. Source: Signal Corps Photograph; Archives: U.S. Army Women's Museum
Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby was appointed as the first Director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on May 16, 1942. She was a perfect choice; she had a proven record of achievement but also the femininity and grace that would appeal to small town and middle class America. Prior to this she was appointed parliamentarian of the Texas House of Representatives; was elected state president of the League of Women Voters and served as chief of the Women's Interest Section of the War Department Bureau of Public Relations in the Roosevelt Administration. In her role as WAC Director, COL Hobby meticulously and with great personal sacrifice, oversaw the creation and implementation of the Corps. She had the monumental task of establishing procedures and policies for the recruitment, training, administration, discipline, assignment, and discharge. Over 150,000 women served under her in WWII. In 1953 she became the first Secretary of the newly formed Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. For the rest of her life, Oveta Culp Hobby demonstrated exceptional public service and professional accomplishment.
The U.S. Army Women's Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to Army women. The Museum honors women's contributions to the Army from the Revolutionary War to the present, telling their stories with interactive exhibits and videos throughout the gallery ...