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.

Old-Fashioned Apple Pudding Recipe

DSC09814Many of the recipes in Aunt Marian’s cookbook were handwritten, but there also were some that were clipped from newspapers or magazines.

apple pudding recipeI was intrigued by an Apple Pudding recipe. Here’s a slightly adapted version of the recipe that I made:

Apple Pudding

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

3 cups peeled apple slices
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the brown sugar in the bottom of an oven-proof skillet or pan of similar size. Dot with butter, then arrange the apples over this. Place the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl (sugar, shortening, egg, milk, flour, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt); combine using electric beaters. Pour the batter over the apples and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve warm. If desired, may be served with cream.

The Apple Pudding was excellent.  I tried serving  it both with and without cream (actually I used milk).  I liked it both ways–though I think that it may appeal more to modern tastes without the cream.

 

 

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)


 

Box filled with Military Badges

DSC09652

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?

Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)