|Jeannette Oliver Leahy|
sense of humor is a grand thing to take along, wherever you may go,
Jeannette Oliver Leahy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Oliver, former
residents of this city, now of Niles, MI, found hers of use since she
joined the WACS [Women's Air Corps], especially at early morning exercises. Other features
of Army life she finds thrilling and inspiring, according to a letter
she wrote to a friend.
Mrs. Leahy, now Corporal Leahy, is the niece of Myrl L., Allyn C., and Joyce E. Oliver of Eau Claire; also of Stanley Oliver of Chippewa Falls. She is a grandniece of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Lee, of this city. She is married to Thomas J. Leahy, brother of the Notre Dame football coach, and their home is in South Bend, IN.
Last July, Corporal Leahy enlisted in the WAC in Los Angeles. She had been a hostess in the famous Hollywood Canteen. Her husband was then in the Army Air Corps. He has since been given a medical discharge.
At Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Corporal Leahy was assigned to the Military Correspondence and Business Section of the training center. Her job is to help handle the immense amount of military letters and papers connected with the operation of a large fort. In addition, she teaches physical training.
In a letter to a friend, Corporal Leahy gives this vivid and entertaining description of life as a member of the Women's Army.
"Our day starts at 6 a.m. with myriads of bright lights suddenly shining in our faces. At 6:15, we fall out for our physical training and I'm assigned to lead the girls in exercises. It is really quite comical to look into a sea of shiny faces, metal curlers, rag twists, braids, half-closed eyelids, and muffled yawns and is as good a starter as any for a bang-up day of Army life.
"We start the session with a cadence series and then progressive exercises, that is: push up, sit up, wing lift, running in place, and balance tests. I don't think any of us actually enjoy falling out at that early hour with windows wide open, acting as if it were noon instead of the middle of the night, but you'd never guess. I even think I'll keep it up in civilian life, or real life, as we merrily refer to it.
"Mess is really wonderful. We all love our mess sergeant and cooks more than anyone here. Breakfast is the customary coffee and orange juice and toast, often with cereals, waffles or eggs, but our lunches and dinners are something quite out of this world. For instance, we have really attractive dishes of assorted relishes at our main meal (noon): curled carrots, celery, olives, pickles, etc., all packed in ice, with fruit and vegetable salads besides. We call it rabbit food, but that sort of regalia really appeals to me!
Proud of Drilling
"We engage in many and varied sports activities. We have indoor and outdoor tennis courts, golf course, swimming pool, volleyball, badminton, and everything else you can think of. Our barracks has a bowling team, and we can match with the winners. Well, almost!
"You see, it isn't so much what we do or don't do; it's the spirit that exists among the girls as a whole. We get along so beautifully. It's a spirit of helping your neighbor and understanding her. So many of the girls here have husbands and sweethearts overseas or killed in action, but you'd never guess. They came here to do a job and they're sticking by their guns just like their men."