Category Archives: Women’s Army Corps (WAC)

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

Pallas Athena: The WAC Insignia

WAC insignia
Source: Facts You Want to Know About the WAC (WAC recruiting brochure, 1944)

The WAC insignia was widely used. It would have even been on the buttons on Aunt Marian’s uniform.

The insignia was an image of the Greek Goddess, Pallas Athena. According to the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association:

… hit upon the idea of a head of Pallas Athene, a Roman and Greek Goddess associated with an impressive variety of womanly virtues…She was the goddess of handicrafts, wise in industries of peace and arts of war, also the goddess of storms and battle, who led through victory to peace and prosperity. Accordingly, the head of Pallas Athene, together with the traditional US, was selected for lapel insignia, cut out for officers and on discs for enlisted women.

The Slander Campaign

1943 WAC cartoon
1943 WAAC Cartoon, Caption: “What makes you think the WAAC is coming to this camp?”

Source: United States Army in World War II: The Women’s Army Corps by Mattie Treadwell (Published by the Department of the Army in 1954)

Several readers recently wrote wonderful comments about the role of women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). The comments made me think about something that was commonly referred to as the “Slander Campaign.”

In 1943, as the women’s unit was converting from the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC) to the WAC, some people were concerned about women getting the same pay and benefits as men—and being an actual part of the army.

The media took a very active role in questioning why women were in the army—and sometimes argued (very inappropriately) that the women were not much more than “camp followers.” Many cartoons, such as the one I’m posting today, were considered to be part of the Slander Campaign.

How Much Did WACs Earn in WWII? . . . and What Were the WAC Grades?

WAC grades & pay 1944 Daughter WAC (1)
Source: Someone to be Proud of: Your Daughter in the WAC (1944)

I’m still trying to figure why Aunt Marian had a box of military badges—and what units the badges represent. But I have determined that some of them represent various WAC ranks.

I found this chart in a 1944 recruiting publication aimed at parents, called Someone to be Proud Of: Your Daughter in the WAC, which not only shows the grades, but also the monthly pay received at each level. Who won’t want to join the WACs when they get $50 a month in “spending money”?

WAC badges in Aunt Marian’s Collection

WAC Badges: Technician Fifth Grade
Technician Fifth Grade (Pay=$66 per month)
WAC Badges--Technician Third Grade and Technician Fourth Grade
Top left and bottom: Technician, Fourth Grade (pay==$78); Top right: Technician, Third Grade (pay=$96 per month)
WAC badge-staff sargent
Staff Sergeant (Pay=$96 per month)