Thursday, July 3, 2008

WACs at Fort Des Moines

Fort Des Moines, in our very own Central Iowa, was a pivotal place in WWII training. It was the very first place to produce WACS (Women's Army Corps), and 72,000 troops were trained. The first female officers were commissioned here, 39 of whom were African-American. The impact was groundbreaking, to say the least. For science-fiction author James Tiptree Jr. - Alice B. Sheldon - the experience was transformational. She went on to have a career in the CIA, impossible without her training in Iowa. Fort Des Moines has wonderful museum, here is the website. But it is certainly worthwhile to make the trip in person. Books to read:

Fort Des Moines / Penelope A. LeFew-Blake.

My mother's fort : a photographic tribute to Fort Des Moines, first home of the Women's Army Corps / by Penelope A. Blake.

When the nation was in need : Blacks in the Women's Army Corps during World War II / by Martha S. Putney.

James Tiptree, Jr. : the double life of Alice B. Sheldon / Julie Phillips.

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