Second World War: Patriotism and the WAAC

One girl's account of enlisting in the WAAC, or Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, out of a sense of patriotism.

| Good Old Days

I could hardly believe it! A few hours before, I was anticipating adventure, romance and patriotism - on my way by train to the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. It was January 2, 1943; my destination was Fort Des Moines. 

I was sitting on an upper GI bunk listening to a woman officer giving us an Army orientation. We were to call the women officers "ma'am," the male officers "sir." We were required to stay in the Army for the duration plus, unless we had an incurable illness, immoral or undisciplined behavior, or we got ourselves pregnant.

A "yellow" or disgraceful discharge, would be given for all charges except the incurable illness. The officer also mentioned a WAAC guardhouse.

We were to leave the "stables" only on command. We were housed in a former horse stable used by cavalry soldiers who had fought in other wars.

I found myself becoming terrified. How could I memorize all these things about the Army? Instead of feeling the former joy, I felt I was in prison; that" duration plus" sounded like being incarcerated for life!

About 2 a.m., one woman sat up in bed. "To hell with a yellow discharge - I'll get pregnant!" she said.

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