Attached is a photo-essay from a 1943 issue PIC MAGAZINE illustrating the roll women played in a California bomber factory.
When it became clear to the employers on the American home front that there was going to be a shortage of men, their attention turned to a portion of the labor pool who had seldom been allowed to prove their mettle: they were called women. This article recalls those heady days at the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground when local women were trained to fire enormous artillery pieces in order that the Army weapons specialists understand the gun's capabilities. This column primarily concerns the delight on all the men's faces when it was discovered that women were able to perform their tasks just as well as the men.
During World War II many women played roles as daring and courageous as were required of any man. This is the true story of one such woman, who gambled her life to help the Allies win the final victory in Europe.
"...I began my mission in wartime France as a British secret agent. Colonel Maurice Buckmaster had told me what my assignment was:"
"You will parachute into France with a wireless operator and a demolition specialist. The drop will be 40 miles from Le Mans, where Rommel's army is concentrated..."
Click here to read about the women who spied for the Nazis during the Second World War.
The attached is a short article from THINK MAGAZINE that sums up the contributions made by the 87,000 American women of the U.S. Navy during World War II. These women were organized into a body called WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service):
"In 500 shore establishments of the United States Fleet, women in navy blue released enough men from non-combatant duty to man all of America's landing crafts in two important operations: the Normandy landings on D-Day and the invasion of Saipan."
"Created July 30, 1942, the Corps completed more than three years of service while the nation was engaged in war. The director was Captain Mildred H. McAfee (1900 - 1994), former president of Wellseley College."
"'Lady Leathernecks', as the trimly-clad members were affectionately dubbed, responded to their country's call some 19,000 strong, accomplishing more than 150 different jobs at more than fifty Marine bases and stations throughout the United States."
"Organized February 13, 1943 the Women's Reserve was directed by Lt. Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter (1895 – 1990). Women in the Marine Corps were authorized to hold the same jobs, ranks and pay as Marines."
"From the icy sweeps of Alaska to the tropical Hawaiian Islands, trimly clad girls in the dark blue of the Coast Guard SPARS have served since their organization was founded in 1942 to fill the shore posts of men at sea."
"Communications and radio work were an important phase of their duty. Another field in which SPARS were exceptionally active was aviation, with young women in navy blue working in control towers, instructing fledgling fliers via the Link trainer, and parachute riggers...SPARS were also required to familiarize themselves with weapons."
"Ranking woman officer is Captain Dorthy C. Stratton (1899 - 2006), Director of the Women's Reserve, appointed on November 24, 1942).