Letter: Women Also Served in World War II

To the Editor:

More than 350,000 women served in the military during World War II, beginning in 1941. Our nation, except for the medical field, had never called for women to serve. We were fighting a war on two fronts, and it soon became evident that we did not have the man power needed. The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was formed to bring in women to fill traditional jobs such as secretaries, telephone operators, file clerks, cooks and many more, and thus free up more men for active duty. As time went on, they were trained in areas usually reserved for men, such as auto mechanics and plane maintenance.

On Aug. 13, 1943, President Roosevelt made women an official part of the military, and they were granted full military status. It has definitely been established that we could not have won the war in the Pacific without the participation of women. All the branches of service added women.

When I was watching TV on this past Veterans Day, I watched some of the programs honoring our military. The only time I saw a woman was a modern day soldier marching in a parade. None of the women from World War II were in evidence or even mentioned, and yet the impact of 350,000 women made the difference in winning the war in the Pacific. It could not have happened without them. And now, there are not too many of us who served left.

I have met young people who had no idea that women served during World War II. They did not know that it was during the war that President Roosevelt made women a permanent part of our military. All they ever heard about was “Rosie the Riveter,” and they didn’t realize what that term really meant. Some of them probably had great-grandmothers who worked in those factories, grinding out our war machinery. I am suggesting that people do some searching in hopes of finding the few who may be around and try to preseve their stories.

Helen E. Goodwin