Women at War
Though limited numbers of women served in the military in previous conflicts, it wasn’t until World War II that they served in large numbers and in capacities other than nurses.
Women didn’t fulfill combat roles during World War II, but they performed crucial and often hazardous jobs both stateside and overseas so that men could be freed to fight. Some 500 women lost their lives as a result of their military service during World War II, with 16 of them being killed by direct enemy fire.
Each branch of the service had its women’s division, including:
- The Women’s Army Corps, or WACs (They were formerly known as the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps);
- The Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES;
- Army and Navy nurses, who were commissioned as officers in their respective Nurse Corps;
- The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve;
- The women of the Coast Guard, who were known as SPARs, which stood for Semper Paratus — Always Ready.
Mary LaMarte Del Giudice (left) served as a staff sergeant in the Women Marines and Madeline Palucci (right) served as a staff sergeant in the Women’s Army Corps.
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