Colorized by me: Somewhere in England, Maj. Charity E. Adams and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell inspect the first contingent of Black members of the Women's Army Corps assigned to overseas service, 1945.
Original is courtesy of the US National Archives
Spurred on by the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Congress approved the creation of WAAC on May 14, 1942. WAAC was established "for the purpose of making available to the national defense the knowledge, skill, and special training of women of the nation."
Fort Des Moines, Iowa, was selected as the site of the first WAAC Training Center. Over 35,000 women from all over the country applied for less than 1,000 anticipated positions.
The first women arrived at the first WAAC Training Center at Fort Des Moines on July 20, 1942. Among them were 125 enlisted women and 440 officer candidates (40 of whom were black), who had been selected to attend the WAAC Officer Candidate School, or OCS.
Their arrival and subsequent training brought considerable public interest surrounding civil rights, as this corps presented the biggest opportunity to test integration in the Army. After OCS, black officers and white officers were segregated.
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