Women in the Military
  Women pilots  
While some women worked in factories, offices, military bases, or on the farm, about 350,000 women volunteered for military service. Some worked as nurses, others worked in clerical positions, and some were pilots or performed other hazardous duties. Some were killed in the line of duty. Women were key to the war effort and worked in the following organizations:
  • WACs: The Women's Army Corps was 100,000 strong by 1945, including 17,000 women serving in Europe and the Pacific and 2,000 in North Africa. They worked as radio operators at airfields, crew chiefs and technical workers in ammunitions and artillery. More than 400 worked in Los Alamos, NM, on the atomic bomb project. WACs earned hundreds of military medals and awards. More than 200 WAC nurses lost their lives during World War II.
  • WAVES: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service was a Navy unit. They worked in air traffic control, air navigation and communications. Navy nurses served on board hospital ships and on bases in the Pacific. Scores were captured by the Japanese and held as prisoners of war.
  • WASPs: Women's Air Force Service Pilots was a group of civilian pilots who worked for the U.S. Army as test pilots, running target missions, and ferrying new aircraft to bases around the country. About 1,000 served in the unit, and 38 were killed in the line of duty.
  • SPARS: The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve for women. At the peak of the Coast Guard's reserve strength in World War II, one of every 16 enlisted members and one of every 12 officers was a SPAR. These women trained hard, then worked as radio operators, as ship's cooks or parachute riggers, or in clerical jobs. Some worked on the top secret LORAN (long range) radio project.

Close