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Memorial Day – Remembering the Women’s Army Corps (WAC)

Did you know the Daytona Beach had a Women’s Army Corps Training Center during World War II?

Here’s a photo from the Boston Public Library from the period.

Women's Auxiliary Army Corps

The training center was the second built in 1942. When initially created the corps was called the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and the women were not part of the regular army. That changed on October 1, 1943 when the WAAC was changed to the WAC and the women became full military members.

Women were serving before the creation of the WAAC as nurses in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. 16 Army nurses were killed as a result of enemy action during WWII.

WACs served in Viet Nam with one women killed by a Viet Cong missile and others during in plane crashes and from illness. In 1978, the WAC was absorbed into the regular army.

Today, women in the military and in combat zones is commonly accepted. It wasn’t always that way and there was a lot of resistance to women becoming part of the army in 1941 and 1942. When the WAAC was finally established, women were tasked with taking on clerical and administrative tasks so that men would be freed to fight.

Honoring Women Who Served on Memorial Day

I’m a veteran who served in the United States Air Force. My husband also served in the Air Force and US Coast Guard. In 1980, I was trained as an air traffic control radar technician because the Air Force wanted more women in technical jobs. I served in South Korea at Osan Air Base and the tension of being close to North Korea was real. We were not at war and I can’t pretend to know the feelings of being in a war zone. But, many women have lived in theater and some have died.

On this Memorial Day, let’s honor all who served, but especially those who lost their lives. And on this day, please take a moment to think about the brave women who served in the Women’s Army Corps and those who continue to serve in all our military branches today.

Learn More About the Women’s Army Corps

While researching this article, I came across a couple of pages that provided background information. Please visit:

The Museum of Florida History

Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association

The photo in this article is courtesy of the Boston Public Library on Flickr. The photo is used under the Creative Commons License 2.0.

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