What did Aunt Marian do and think during her first day of basic training at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia?
Unfortunately I don ‘t have any letters or journals that record her thoughts, but here’s what another WAC named Aileen Kilgore Henderson wrote about her train trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee which is just across the state line from Fort Oglethorpe—and her first day or so there.
. . . arriving in Chattanooga about seven last night. Ate an elegant supper in the train diner—ham again, thick and tender! We recruits had a U.S. check for ours, but the WAC private chaperoning us had to pay for hers. But the guy in charge of the diner refused—he said her dinner was on the Railroad.
So here I am at Fort Oglethorpe. . . . Half an hour from now recruits assigned to Beds#11 through #20 are ordered to scrub, dust, polish, shine windows, and otherwise clean up the Orderly Room.
Any minute we’re expecting the fire drill whistle to blow. Last night’s drill unsettled us quite a bit. Another unsettling thing was the steady stream of new girls arriving in the night, stomping through the dark to find their beds.
I got this diary entry out of a book called Stateside Soldier: Life in the Women’s Army Corps 1944-1945 that was published in 2001 by the University of South Carolina press. The book contained the diary of Aileen Kilgore Henderson, who was in the WACs during World War II.
Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)