Introduction

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An oral history interview with Catherine Wiley, a technician in the Women's Army Corps, serving at Fort Benning, Georgia during World War II. Courtesy of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia.

In Action

By the end of World War II, there were more than 288,000 women serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville was selected as one of four colleges nationwide to host a Navy WAVES (Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service) program that provided a three-month intensive training course for new WAVES who would go on to serve at naval stations as reservists.

In May of 1942, the Women’s Army Corps was formed (initially as the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps). By 1945, there were more than 100,000 WACs. In January of 1943, Fort Oglethorpe in North Georgia opened the nation’s third WAC training center. The facility trained as many as one thousand women weekly. Upon completion of a four-week course, WACs worked in jobs both stateside and abroad in battle.

Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs) flew military aircraft. Their duties included transporting new airplanes from factories to military bases, testing repaired planes, and carrying targets for practicing air gunners. Camp Stewart, approximately forty miles west of Savannah, was used as a training site for WASPs learning how to fly planes pulling antiaircraft targets.