The WACs . . . They did 155 Important Army Jobs

WAC Air Traffice Controller
Source: Facts You Want to Know About the WAC (1944)

After I did my previous post on WAC uniforms, a reader asked about the types of work that WACs did. Well, here’s the answer. According to a 1944 recruiting brochure:

The WACS . . . They do 155 important Army jobs

Already the WACS are doing 155 vital Army jobs. Some of these jobs are arduous. Some may seem routine. But every one of these jobs is essential to winning this war.

Thousands more women are needed in the WAC to take over these jobs. Women with special skills and business experience are needed. Women who have had no special training, who have never worked before, are needed too. The WAC will train them for Army jobs. And many of the skills they learn will prove valuable after the war—in a career, or in running a home.

Facts You Want to Know About the WAC (1944)WACs packing parachutesList of WAC jobs

16 thoughts on “The WACs . . . They did 155 Important Army Jobs”

    1. I’ve read stories of some former WACs who strongly believed that serving in the WACs during WWII got them started down very rewarding career paths. However, my sense is that many WACs returned to more traditional roles and jobs once the war ended.

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  1. Great research. I worked in the aerospace industry and part of the industry’s history was about how women took over the building of planes during the war. They were almost all sent back to the kitchen or secretarial pools when the war ended.

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    1. It’s sad that the women were not allowed to keep those types of jobs after the war ended. In some ways it seems like women made huge gains during WWII–and then many of the gains were wiped out when it ended; though perhaps the WACs in WWII provided some of the early momentum for what later became the women’s movement.

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  2. That’s an interesting list, filled with terms that I’ve never seen before. “Draftsman” and “cook” are self-explanatory, but what in the world is a “theodolite observer”?

    Well, I went looking, and found some fantastic photos along with an explanation. These are British women, but that is itself a good reminder that women around the world were participating in the war effort. I did have to laugh at the term used to describe them: “ack-ack girls.”

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    1. I learned something new. Thanks for researching this. You also make a good point about how women in many countries served in a variety of roles as they helped support the war effort.

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  3. Isn’t it interesting how many of the WAC jobs make reference to men, though?! One job on the list is for “public relations man,” another “gas and oil man.” It’s as if they simply had no language for what this war was asking of people!

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    1. It seems really odd that in an era when many job titles were gendered (for example, stewardesses) that the military referred to some of the jobs in the list using male titles. You’re probably right that they just didn’t have appropriate terminology for some of the positions. It would be really interesting to know if there was any discussion back then about whether or not the titles were appropriate for WACs serving in those roles.

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  4. That is an amazing list of important jobs. I wonder how many got to choose their job or if they were assigned a job. I am sure the women were hard workers and proud to do the work.

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    1. My understanding is that the women were assigned to jobs–and that they worried about whether they would get the positions they wanted. That said, I think that they might have been able to provide some input regarding their interests and preferences.

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