|Lt. Flagstad Write of Spirit and Aims of WAACs|
Lieutenant Kora Flagstad, who is in the city to contact young women interested in joining the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, has written the following account of life in the WAACs, based upon her own experience and attitude toward the service. Lieutenant Flagstad is making plans for the big WAAC Rally to be held here, at the Legion Hall, on the evening of March 8, at which two other WAAC officers, Lieutenant Dennis and Lieutenant Swanson, and two Army officers will be present.
Lieutenant Flagstad writes: "Each week the trains entering Des Moines, IA; Daytona Beach, FL; and Chattanooga, TN are crowded with hundreds of serious-minded, enthusiastic women who have recently been sworn into the largest women's Army in the history of the United States. The next time you see these same women on these same trains going home on furlough or leave, they have changed somehow. They are still serious-minded and enthusiastic, but there is a certain look in their eye, a certain purposefulness in their stride, a certain set to their shoulders that's new. They wear a uniform now. They meet an officer and raise their hand in a snappy salute. True, they are happy to be going home to see family and friends but, deep inside, they know they will be just as happy to come back.
"They are part of a great cause, these women—and they know it. They are in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps for one purpose—to contribute their share toward attaining the Army's ultimate goal: Success in battle. Each woman knows that she will release at least one man from some administrative job so he may go into combat duty. Each woman knows that the WAAC will utilize her skills, training, and experience to the fullest extent in order that the goal may be attained.
"These women take their jobs seriously. There is a very definite reason for this. About 75% of the members of the Corps have some loved one in the service. Many of them have husbands on the fighting front. They know why they are in this Women's Army.
"We need many more women. On November 20, President Roosevelt authorized the WAAC to expand to its full strength of 150,000. At the present time, we have between one-fourth and one-fifth of that figure. Even that growth is phenomenal, since Army camps and posts over the U.S. are asking for companies of WAACs. Those who already have them are asking for more, which is definite proof of our need to expand.
"Any woman between the ages of 21 and 44, inclusive; who is an American citizen; who has no one financially dependent upon her; who can pass a mental and physical examination; and, if married, who has no children under 14 years, is eligible to join. A defense worker must present a promise of release from her employer before her application will be considered.
"After a woman is sworn in, she is sent to one of the three basic training centers for four weeks of training, which is an orientation into Army life. At the end of that training, one of three things may happen to her: She may be sent with a company to some Army post or camp; she may remain at her training center or be sent to one of the other training centers to fill jobs there; or she may receive specialized training at same school. At present, there are six administrative schools—three in Texas, two in Arkansas, and one in Des Moines. There are two Motor Transport Schools, a radio school at Kansas City, a school connected with the Air Corps at Lowry Field, Denver and a Cooks and Bakers and a Communications School at Fort Des Moines. When she finishes her specialized training, she is placed in a job for which she is trained.
"Each company that goes out to an Army camp or post is a self-sufficient unit. The members live in quarters especially prepared for them—three barracks, a mess hall, and a building divided into a dayroom (recreation room), an orderly room (office), and a supply room. Three officers are in charge and each company has its own cooks and bakers. The women drill, take physical training, and have inspection as they did in their basic training, only now this is done after working hours. WAAC rules and regulations are still the governing law and are complied with.
"All officer candidates are now chosen from the ranks and every woman has a chance to apply for the training. As the Corps expands, there will be a great need for officers.
"Someday I would like to take a roll call of the women in the Corps. Artist, housewife, actress, singer, designer, lawyer, teacher, advertiser, author, composer, secretary, clerk, dog-trainer, pilot—I could go on down the list. But, somewhere in the organization, there's a place for each woman, and that place she assumes gladly and proudly. Out of the combined efforts of these women will come victory—victory to an America well worth fighting and sacrificing for."
Women interested in joining the WAACs and parents of girls who wish to enlist may contact Lieutenant Flagstad any day in the lobby of the Eau Claire Post Office or at the Eau Claire Hotel.