Women's History Month: WACs at the Presidio
March 14, 2014
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The cover of the May 12, 1944, issue of the Fort Ord Panorama shows Technician Third Grade Margery Barrett.
The caption says that Barrett, a member of the Women's Army Corps serving at the Presidio of Monterey, after recently serving in Algiers, "took a long look at Fort Ord's Soldiers' Club last week, and while there primped before a mirror in the ladies' lounge. Since the club was built for all enlisted members of the Army, the WACs are equally welcomed there.
Sgt. Barrett's visit to the club was part of a tour of recreational facilities of this region. Sgt. Joe Hinojos, Panorama Staff Photographer, was on hand to snap the picture that graces Panorama's cover this week."
WACs served in the Monterey area from World War II until the integration of the Women's Army Corps into the Regular Army in 1978.
Over 150,000 American women served in the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.
Both the Army and the American public initially had difficulty accepting the concept of women in uniform, according to "The Women's Army Corps: A Commemoration of World War II Service" by Judith A. Bellafaire.
However, Bellafaire wrote, political and military leaders, faced with fighting a two-front war and supplying men and materiel for that war while continuing to send lend-lease material to the Allies, realized that women could supply the additional resources so desperately needed in the military and industrial sectors.
Given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national war effort, women seized it, she wrote, adding that by the end of the war their contributions would be widely heralded.