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Press Release for Friday, September 21, 2007

WWII Women's Army Corps Vets Bring History to UNF

Contact: DeeAnne Crookham
UNF Women’s Center
(904) 620-1128

The University of North Florida Women’s Center presents “Stories of the Women’s Army Corps” on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 1 pm to 4 pm on the UNF campus in the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Student Life Center (Building 14), Rooms 1605-1606. World War II-era Women’s Army Corps veterans will relate their experience of being among the first women to serve in the U.S. military.

Dr. Ann Marie Byrd will present a brief overview of the turbulent history of the WACs in the War, and the veterans will discuss their role in this historic moment. A question-and-answer session will follow. This event is free and open to the public.

The WACs presentation comes at the midpoint of PBS airing Ken Burns’ new WWII documentary series, “The War.” Both the University and the WACs panel are involved with other local events related to the film. Two members of the panelists’ WAC Veteran’s Association Chapter were recently interviewed for WJCT programming preceding the documentary, and Burns himself will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the UNF Arena. Viewers of the series will find that hearing these women’s stories in person will add a compelling new dimension to what they see onscreen.

In 1942, with a war on two fronts, the U.S. Congress created the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps to release men for combat by replacing them in clerical and motor pool jobs. Auxiliary members, as a support group, received less pay and no benefits. Those sent to war zones had to take out insurance policies so their bodies could be shipped home at their own expense.

Female officers could not give orders to men. Even so, women rushed to volunteer, proving that women could handle most anything thrown at them and creating a unique band of pioneers. In 1943, Congress dissolved the WAACs and created the Women’s Army Corps, with full army benefits.

For more information about “Stories of the Women’s Army Corps,” contact DeeAnne Crookham, UNF Women’s Center at (904) 620-1128 or e-mail