In 1944 the Birmingham News characterized the Women’s Army Corps, or WAC, post at Anniston’s Fort McClellan as being more like a sorority house on a university campus than like a military barrack housing enlisted women. Noting the bowling alley, golf course, and post club, the paper lauded the role of WACs in the war eff ort but also patronizingly saw their work as largely frivolous when compared with that of their male counterparts. As the paper observed of a woman repairing a large rifle, “[I]t is not a soldier, it’s a WAC.” Even as women who served in the WAC during World War II (WWII) faced questions about their contributions, however, they felt that serving their country was worth the trials of basic training, the low pay, and the scrutiny they received. Indeed, during WWII and the Cold War that followed, the WAC evolved to overcome these challenges by improving the benefits of women’s service, countering opposition, and ultimately illustrating its commitment to female soldiers by making the post at Fort McClellan into a permanent training facility.
From the Vault
Read complete classic articles and departments featured in Alabama Heritage magazine in the past 35 years of publishing. You'll find in-depth features along with quirky and fun departments that cover the people, places, and events that make our state great!