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Over 150000 American women served in the Womens Army Corps WAC during World War 11 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 However 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 By the end of the war their contributions would be widely heralded The Women s Army Auxiliary Corps Early in 1941 Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts met with General George C Marshall the Armys Chief of Staff and informed him that she intended to introduce a bill to establish an Army womens corps separate and distinct from the existing Army Nurse Corps Rogers remembered the female civilians who had worked overseas with the Army under contract and as volunteers during World War I as communications specialists and dietitians Because these women had served the Army without benefit of official status they had to obtain their own food and quarters and they received no legal protection or medical care Upon their return home they were not entitled to the disability benefits or pensions available to US military veterans Rogers was determined that if women were to serve again with the Army in a wartime theater they would receive the same legal protection and benefits as their male counterparts As public sentiment increasingly favored the creation of some form of a womens corps Army leaders decided to work with Rogers to devise and sponsor an organization that would constitute the least threat to the Armys existing culture Although
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