Ladies First!

Throughout my thirty year military career I watched women in the military progress in their roles in the military. Roles were predominately administrative and medical in nature. Things gradually changed to the current age where my last unit has a Lt. Col. Commander happen to be a lady. As a Chief I never saw a gender, religion, or anything except the uniform ad the mission. This eveolution began today in 1942.

That was when a bill established a women’s corps in the U.S. Army becomes law, creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and granting women official military status. In May 1941, Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, the first congresswoman ever from New England, introduced legislation that would enable women to serve in the Army in noncombat positions. Rogers was well suited for such a task; during her husband John J. Rogers’ term as congressman, Rogers was active as a volunteer for the Red Cross, the Women’s Overseas League, and military hospitals. Because of her work inspecting field and base hospitals, President Warren G. Harding, in 1922, appointed her as his personal representative for inspections and visits to veterans’ hospitals throughout the country.

She was eventually appointed to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, as chairwoman in the 80th and 83rd Congresses. The bill to create a Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps would not be passed into law for a year after it was introduced (the bombing of Pearl Harbor was a great incentive). But finally, the WAACs gained official status and salary-but still not all the benefits accorded to men. Thousands of women enlisted in light of this new legislation, and in July 1942, the “auxiliary” was dropped from the name, and the Women’s Army Corps, or WACs, received full Army benefits in keeping with their male counterparts. The WACs performed a wide variety of jobs, “releasing a man for combat,” as the Army, sensitive to public misgivings about women in the military, touted. But those jobs ranged from clerk to radio operator, electrician to air-traffic controller.

Women served in virtually every theater of engagement, from North Africa to Asia. It would take until 1978 before the Army would become sexually integrated, and women participating as merely an “auxiliary arm” in the military would be history. And it would not be until 1980 that 16,000 women who had joined the earlier WAACs would receive veterans’ benefits.

May the 24th Memorial Day weekend we put flags out on Hwy 99 & Hwy 20. On Memorial Day we will be helping Babo put out flags at the Cemetery first and after we will put out the balance of the Flags on 99 & 20. We are also planning on doing a Memorial Wreath ceremony at the Hominy Cemetery on Memorial Day on May 27th. More details to follow.

Don’t forget we have tickets for sale. For only $10.00 [$5.00 goes to the Post] you could win $2,019.00 in cash at the drawing at State Convention in July! The first, second, and third place tickets will win $2,019.00! The next seven winners will get smaller amounts. We also have 100th anniversary American Legion “Challenge’ Coins for $10. They are one of a kind and a collectable item. I got mine, bought a few to present to a few special veteran friends as well.

Regular Legion meetings are the first and third Thursday of the month in May that is the 16th coming up. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in May are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Just watch the weather, it is the only factor that my change that. I think the Chef is on duty as we are into the spring. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s