Category Archives: Women’s Army Corps (WAC)

Box filled with Military Badges

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I found a wide variety of articles and memorabilia that once belonged to Aunt Marian in my parent’s attic. One of the more mysterious items is a box overflowing with miscellaneous military badges. Many appear to be used—a few look new.

How (and why) did Aunt Marian assemble this collection of badges? Did people trade badges?

One thought, but it may be totally off base (no pun intended)–Aunt Marian was stationed at Fort Ord on the Monterey  Peninsula in California in the mid-1950s, and worked for awhile at the Quartermasters Sales Store. Could she have somehow gotten the badges off used uniforms that one way or another ended up the store?

Working at the Fort Ord Quartermaster Store in 1956

January 27, 1956 newspaper clipping

Aunt Marian did many different things during her 19+ years in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs).  I’m still researching what many of them were, but I do know one thing that she did—she worked in a commissary. Amongst the memorabilia of Aunt Marian’s that I found was this newspaper clipping from January 27, 1956.

The clipping shows Aunt Marian working at the Fort Ord (Monterey Bay, California) Quartermasters Sales Store. Aunt Marian’s handwritten note says:

My boss had me do this. The other girl was not on duty. I have on a green sales jacket.

Photo: 1945, Fort Oglethorpe, Company 11, 21st Regiment

1945 Fort Oglethorpe, Company 11, 21st Regiment, WAC
1945 Fort Oglethorpe, Company 11, 21st Regiment, WAC

The blogging community is wonderful. Over the years many readers have directed me to great finds and  resources. Recently Shore Acres suggested that I look at the the Military Yearbook Project website.

And. . . drum roll please. . .  I found a photo of Aunt Marian’s company and Regiment. Thank you, Shore Acres!

Which woman is Aunt Marian?   There are a  lot of women, but I think it might be the 2nd woman from the left in the 3rd row.  What do you think?

Good Luck! “45”

WAC book 8aBefore leaving the WAC Book that was printed by Miller Brothers Company department store in Chattanooga, I want to share one last page.

The latter part of the booklet contained pages where the WAC could enter her schedule. Instead Aunt Marian used it as an address book. It appears that she asked the other women to write their contact information in the booklet before they all left Fort Oglethorpe and headed in different directions.

What I really want you to notice is the note one women wrote, “Good Luck, ’45.’” Aunt Marian was 45-years-old, and older than most of her peers. I think that we now know her nickname at boot camp—45.

Portrait Studio and Optical Department Ads Aimed at WACs

WAC book 7

Here’s another page from the booklet that the Miller Brother Company department store in Chattanooga, Tennessee gave new WACs who were in basic training at nearby Fort Oglethorpe.

Homesick young WAC enlistees probably bought lots of photos to send to family and friends. I bet they wanted everyone back home to see how lovely they looked in their  uniforms, and  with their haircuts for new Wartime careers.

But, did Aunt Marian visit the Portrait Studio? She was 45-years old and her parents were gone.

Miller Brothers Company WAC Book

WAC book 1

Among the items of Aunt Marian’s that I found in my parent’s attic was a small booklet published by the Miller Brothers Company department store in Chattanooga. The booklet apparently was given to new WACs who were in basic training at nearby Fort Oglethorpe. It describes the store and the general area, and includes some blank pages at the back.

WAC book 2

WAC book 3

WAC book 4

WAC book 5

I was amazed that the first few pages of this book don’t describe the various departments in the store, but rather focus on personal shoppers, a mailing room (the women must have wanted to mail gifts home to family and friends), and food.

There are  more pages–I’ll share a few of them in future posts.

The store no longer exists, but the building was so awesome that today it is on the National Register of Historic Places.