Guest Post Reposted – Women of World War II by GPCox

Women of WWII

By: gpcox

As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected.  Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered.  Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily.  A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40’s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S.  These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base.  They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes.  The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed.  For artillery practice, they would tow the target.  During their service, 38 of these brave women died.

A wonderful story was given to me by my longtime friend, Carol Schlaepfer, about Pearl Brummett Judd, a WASP pilot she met in California.  Pearl was a test pilot flying the Stearman, PT-17; North American AT-6; Vultee BT-13; Cessna UC-78 and AT-17.  In an interview, she said, “The B-29 was a little touchy.  The engines caught on fire.”  Pearl Judd and her fellow WASP sisters (or their survivors) finally received a Congressional Gold Medal for their services in March 2010.  25,000 women in all applied for the WASPs; in Pearl’s class of 114 women, only 49 graduated.  The symbol for the WASPS, shown below, uses the image of Pearl Judd.  They did not receive veteran status until 1977 and did not have the right to have flag on the coffin until 2000.


WACs, (Women’s Army Corps), the nurses were on active duty around the world.  But, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service of the Navy); the SPARS (U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve) and Women’s Marines were prohibited by law from serving outside the U. S.  At Cherry Point Marine Air Station in North Carolina, 80% of the control tower operations were done by the female Marines.  Nearly all the SPARS and WAVES officers were college graduates and worked in finance, chemical warfare or aerological engineering.  Some were assigned to install radar on the warships.

WWII enabled women to be involved in top-secret operations for the first time.  These women dealt with LORAN stations, night-fighter training and watched the screens for unusual “blips.”  They took in messages from the British “Enigma” intelligence about German activity.  The OSS hired women as agents, as we discussed on my post at:                                                         

The first WACS to arrive in the Pacific were sent to Australia, 2 ½ years after Pearl Harbor, in May 1944.  In Port Moresby, New Guinea they served within barbed wire compounds (any dates with the men had be pre-approved)  As the forces moved from island to island, the WACS followed after the area was secured from the enemy.  Yet, despite these precautions, 68 service women were captured as POWs in the Philippines and 565 WACS in the Pacific Theater alone won combat decorations for bravery under fire and meritous service.  Nurses were in Normandy on D-Day+4.  In the Army Nurse Corps, 16 were killed as a result of enemy fire.  A Red Cross woman was also killed during an attack on the 95th Evacuation Hospital.  Also in the ETO, when their plane was forced to crash land behind enemy lines, Lt. Agnes Mangerich and 13 other nurses, male technicians and the pilot marched for 62 days before reaching safety.

A fascinating story of WAVE, Margaret Hain, can be found at fellow blogger, Don Moore’s site:

American women did more than join the military…..

Alice Newcomer graduated George Washington University in 1943 and immediately began working in the Lend-Lease Program.  The 400-500 people employed there easily dealt with billions of dollars in war materiel, but when it came to how much should be shipped in civilian supplies, she said no one quite knew where to draw the line.  Hilda O’Brien, fresh out of Columbia Univ. Graduate School, started her career in the Justice Dept.  Kay Halle, a radio broadcaster, worked for the OSS in Morale Operations and became known as Mata Halle.  (Many of these operations still remain secret.)  Sally Knox was an editor for what was a part of the Army Air Force.  She was in Detroit and then Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio. (Which later became Patterson Air Force Base)  She helped to prepare military publications.

Coralee Redmond of Tacoma, Washington had a husband, 9 children and several brothers who worked for the war effort or served in the military.  She and one daughter worked in the shipyards while her other daughter went to work for Boeing in Seattle.  [No one could doubt her contributions.]  On 29 April 1943, the National Labor Board issued a report to give equal pay for women working in war industries.  To see the actual report, a fellow blogger has posted it:

In Canada, besides having their own Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the women showed their national pride, not only by entering the masculine sphere of work to release the men to serve in the military, but by using their domestic talents in volunteer work.  The War Services Fund was supported in this way.  Their civic and community pride provided various forms of aid to the war effort.

In New Zealand, the women of WWII were also doing their part.  The Women’s War Service Auxiliary worked in the Transport Division, firefighting, canteen work, camouflage netting, ambulance work and even had an orchard and gardening section.  Their WAAF (Women’s Aux Air Force) had cipher officers, pilots, mechanics and meteorologists.  Noeline and Daphne Petrie, after joining the WAAF, were stationed at Woodbourne and Fiji.  And, we cannot forget the nurses.  Our fellow blogger, Gallivanta at: gave me the link for this information and for books that are available:

Australian women as early as 1939 were trained in jobs to free the men to enlist.  The Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps were based in Sydney.  The Woman’s Flying Club were not pilots, but trained to be mechanics and the Women’s Transport Corps passed rigorous driving tests for truck driving and ambulances.

In Britain there was a definite industrial segregation of men and women in industry, but as the war continued to rage, the barriers lessened out of necessity.  They began transporting coal on the inland waterways, joining the Fire Service and Auxiliary Police Corps.  They began to be “drafted” into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (“WRENS”), Auxiliary Air Force and Air Transport.  The women of Britain played a vital role in all phases of the war including the French underground, Special Operations and anti-aircraft units.

Finland had the organization, Lotta Svard, where the women voluntarily took part in auxiliary work of the armed forces to help the men fighting on the front.  At home, they were nurses and air raid signalers.  The Lotta Svard was one of the largest voluntary groups of WWII; although they never fired guns which was a rule of their group.

The Soviet Union utilized women pretty much from the start of the war and they were NOT auxiliary.  Approximately 800,000 served in front line units.  They were part of the antiaircraft units as well, firing the guns and acting as snipers.  Klavdiya Kalugina was their youngest female sniper starting her military service at age 17.

An interesting story about Irena Sendler in war-torn Warsaw, go to fellow blogger’s page at:

Judy and I would appreciate hearing any and all stories you have.  Let’s hear from every country out there!!

Resources: University of Fraser Valley; ww2 database; “Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw; “Americans Remember the Home Front” by Roy Hoopes;; Wikipedia; publicworks.qld.go;


Army Life – Dear Dad – Marian Writes to Grandpa – January 7 and 11, 1944

Blog - 2013.10.31 - Lad and Marian's Army Life - Wedding Pictures - Jan., 1944

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.

Friday – 1/7/1944

Dear Dad –

As you can see, my stationery arrived and I can’t start using it soon enough. I think it is darling, Dad – thank you so very much.

Lad Guion and Vern Eddington, his Best Man

Marian Guion and her sister, Peg Irwin

I’m enclosing some of the pictures we took on the day of our wedding. These were printed from Kodachrome colored slides – that’s why there is such a definite contrast of black and white – but it will give you a little idea of how we looked on that very momentous occasion. All the pictures haven’t gotten back from the printers yet. We have some of Mom and Dad with us that I’d like you to see. As soon as we get them I’ll send them to you –

Lad forwarded one of your letters to me this week, Dad. In it you mentioned that Ced was planning to go back via Los Angeles so that he could stop by and see us. Is he still planning to do so? Lad isn’t here, of course, but I’d love to have Ced stop by and say “hello” anyway. We don’t have a phone here at our house. Our landlady could take my message however, she lives right in front of us – Sycamore 9 – 5588 or my office phone is Sycamore 9 – 1333 if Ced wants to phone. I’d love to hear from him.

We had a board meeting Thursday night and I asked to be released from my contract. They were simply swell about it so I am leaving Camp Fire Girls on February 1st. I don’t mind in the least. My main objective is to get to Lad just as soon as I possibly can – ‘cause I’m sort of lost without him, Dad. A very important person in my life just isn’t here so I don’t like it here anymore!

I enjoy your letters so much Dad. I’m almost certain I know every one of you. My love and best wishes to everyone –

As always,




Marion at Pomona - smiling - in color- 1943

1416 Stratford Ave.

South Pasadena, Calif.


Hello Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean –

I am so excited that I don’t know whether or not this is going to be a legible letter – but I know you’ll understand when I tell you that I have my train ticket and am leaving on February 2nd to join Al in Texarkana. Isn’t that wonderful !?! That’s all I’m living for now, practically, and so, of course, time is just dragging by. I’m sure they’ve put some extra days in the month of January, too, this year. I haven’t heard from Lad about a definite place to stay – he just got my letter saying when I was coming so I’ll probably hear about it this week. I don’t care if we have to live in a barn, or park in the Buick! At least I can talk to him, and see that wonderful smile of his, and see him – period. Even though we are so much luckier than so many others, I still miss him terrifically, and I’m practically ready to take off from our highest mountain peak, all by myself! But I wouldn’t leave before I had a chance to see Ced. I am so glad he is planning to stop here on his way north. I’m really looking forward to meeting him very much, Dad, I know I’m going to like him.

And incidentally, Dad, I look forward to those weekly letters of yours as eagerly as Lad does. Believe me, a very nice part of my week would be missing if I didn’t hear from you.

A matter of business, Dad. I have written to the War Dependencies Commission asking them to send my allotment check to you – when it comes will you forward it to us, please? We might be moving quite often so I wanted a permanent address to give them.

My love to all of you,


By the way, Dad – my husband tells me he sent me this stationery for Christmas – but I know you must have had something to do with it too – anyway, I like it very, very much.

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

On Saturday more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House, Then and Now. 

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 312 – Daniel Beck Guion and Alfred Peabody Guion – circa 1919

This is a 24 x 17  framed photograph that my parents, Lad and Marian Guion, had in their apartment. It is one of my favorites. I love the small smile on my Dad’s face. I didn’t really see his sense of humor very often. Then I saw pictures of Mom and Dad wearing costumes that Mom had made after they moved to California. They had joined an RV group and went on the weekend trips about once a month. I’ll find those pictures and post them soon.


Trumbull – The President is Preparing a Statement (3) – January, 1946

Page 3    1/20/46

And Dave gives us an on the spot story of the soldier demonstration which has occupied so much space in the newspapers of late. He says little about himself, which of course would be the most interesting news of all, but the very absence of such comments may of itself be reassuring. He says: “Everything was running smoothly – boats were leaving every day packed with boys bound for Frisco. Then the Daily Pacificcan (our Bible) came out one morning with the statement that a ship had left the day before with 600 empty births. There was the usual noise from the fellows – – maybe a little more vehement than usual, but nothing spectacular. The next day the Pacifican printed the story on Patterson’s statement that he didn’t know points had stopped as of VJ Day. Some of the guys laughed. Others (like me) could see nothing funny in it. How can one have faith in his government when the heads are so ignorant of their own particular departments! The third day the paper came out with the order that men had to be ELIGIBLE to go home on points. Anyone of these stories would have created the usual moaning from the man, but after two days in a row the War Department coming out with this new ruling! They couldn’t have picked a worse time psychologically for their statement. Some of the boys talked of protest but halfheartedly. They become passive in their feelings toward the government and the Army. You often hear, “What the hell!” Or “You can’t beat it”, in a way that shows they are too disgusted to even raise a finger.

The Red Cross holds a forum once or twice a week. Last Sunday’s discussion was the advisability of a peacetime draft. The boys weren’t thinking of this subject and the discussion gradually worked around to the latest government order. More stopped to listen to the arguments. Pretty soon the crowd got so big they went outside. The crowd grew still bigger. It was suggested they break up before there was trouble and they made plans to meet outside City Hall the following morning at 8:30. With a start of 25 at the forum Sunday night, and I don’t know how many at the 8:30 A. M. Meeting where a committee of five were chosen, they ended up Monday night with a group of 20,000 to hear a statement from Gen. Styer. He didn’t like the idea but his hands were tied. Unless these men cause trouble there was nothing he could do about it. That’s what thrilled me, Dad. These men weren’t a bunch of misled sheep that get panicky and cause trouble. They feel something definitely is wrong and that it can be corrected by concerted action. I’ll tell you frankly I didn’t go to any of these rallies because I was afraid there would be trouble. I have been very pleasantly surprised. According to today’s paper it looks as though we may get some action. I hope so.”

Tomorrow, a letter from Grandpa to Dave discussing this issue and other thoughts about Dave’s future.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Boys – A Birthday Celebration – Aug., 1942


Aunt Elsie Duryee – Grandpa’s sister

Trumbull, Conn., August 8, 1942

Dear Boys:

It’s raining, Lad is home and we got a letter from Dan; and as this sums up about all the news, I’ll now close. DAD

Hold on there, says you. That’s no way to write a letter. Well, he replies, that’s a lot better than getting no letter at all. (Business of Ced flinching and looking a bit guilty). Even if it’s only a postcard, like the fellow sent home to his wife: “Having a fine time, wish you were her.”) Which shows what happens when a letter is omitted. At least you can if you have a good imagination. Moral, don’t omit letters. Q.E.D.

We are now enjoying one of those all-day steady rains. It started last night in fact and has been quietly and persistently keeping up. Yesterday afternoon I decided to paint our porch chair and as the weather even then looked a bit threatening, I took the chair and paint upstairs in the barn. There was some other furniture there too, and in my innocence, I left them together for a few moments alone, feeling sure that as this had been Aunt Betty’s chair, it had from association, learned some measure of discretion, and you can therefore imagine my surprise a short time later on my return to find a foundling on the doorstep in the shape of another camp chair, which I duly adopted into the family, painted a sort of a character whitewash, and, I suppose, for moral effect, will have to sit on hard occasionally.

Lad dropped in last night on one of the raindrops, I guess. Anyway, there he was this morning, big as life, peacefully sleeping in the bed beside Dave. As his course in Cadre School will be completed next week, he expects to be assigned definitely to some other activity and will therefore not be able to get home. However, if things break right, he may be able to get home the weekend following – – that’s of the 22nd, on which we are planning to celebrate Dick’s and Aunt Elsie’s birthday, although I am not sure Elsie will be able to make it. Also, from Dan’s last letter, it does not look particularly hopeful that Dan will be able to get off either. He says the rumor mill has died down again and it looks as though they might stay on at Roanoke Rapids for a spell longer. Meantime his fame as a lecturer, quartette and choir singer seems to be stirring the little southern town into a seething realization of what a damn Yankee from Conn. really can be like. It is even rumored he will broadcast over their local station.

And here we are now just about where we started.

The moving finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all of your piety or wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line

Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

          So says Omar Khayyam, and while I see no reason at present to cancel anything above, neither can I think of more to say at this writing that will add either to your information or entertainment. Flash – Dave just came in and said, “Whatever you do, don’t miss an opportunity to see Mrs. Miniver.”


Army Life – News From Lad and Marian – December, 1943


Dated – 1943 DEC 26






Dear Dad:- As I cabled, I am here in Texas —Co 3019, 142 O.B.A.M. Bn. O.U.T.C. Red River Ord. Depot, Texarkana, Texas. Marian will stay at 1416 Stratford Ave. until I can find a decent place for her here in this section. Things don’t look too good as yet, but I’m hopeful. This place is no where near as nice as L.A. and Anita, but some of the fellows went to Flora, Mississippi which is even worse. Happy New Year to All, and good luck.     Lad

(Little does he know but he and Marian will also end up in Flora, Miss.)



Marion at Pomona - smiling - in color- 1943



Dear Dad –

Your Christmas package arrived today, and even though Lad wasn’t here to open it with me, I had loads of fun opening your gifts. Lad’s I will send on to him, along with a few other things that hadn’t arrived when he left.

I love the cookbook! Couldn’t help but laugh when I opened it – I told Lad that he was going to have to be a guinea pig, even though he wasn’t here, so when I make some cookies or cake to send to him, I’ll have to mail a few to you – and I can always blame the post office department if they arrived sort of hard, or any badly mangled condition!

The perfume and powder is lovely, too, in fact, I started using it right away – Thank you so much, Dad.

Received a rather encouraging letter from Lad today – there are some houses available in Texarkana – not too good, he says, but at least they will furnish a roof over our heads, ‘cause if it is at all possible , I intend to join him as fast as I can. Seems as though he’s been gone for years, and nothing I do seems to be much fun anymore. As long as he is in the United States, I want to be with him.

I’ll have to give up my job here, and because it is the kind of a job it is, I am going to have to tell them right away, even tho’ I have no definite word from Lad as to when I can join him. But it will take at least a month to get everything straightened around at the office, and if the National office in New York doesn’t have someone available right away (which is very probable) I am going to have to get everything lined up so that some local person can take over until the new Executive comes. It’s just not the kind of job that you can give two weeks notice and then leave. So I’m starting now to clear the decks for action. I can stay on here in South Pasadena and work in Pasadena or Los Angeles- I know that I can get some sort of a job – and one that I can leave rather hurriedly, and that doesn’t require any contract signing.

You’ve probably heard from Lad by now- the trip to Texarkana wasn’t too bad – one flat tire on the way – and quite a bit of snow the last 500 miles, but he arrived safely. The weather is very cold but the people there have been swell to him, he says. How can they help it? Say I.

Dad, I wonder if you know what a perfectly wonderful son you have raised? I simply can’t put into words all the wonderful things that he means to me. Truthfully, and very humbly, I say that no girl could ever ask for a nicer husband then Lad is. Somehow it seems hard to believe that I could be so very lucky in finding him – thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for doing such a grand job.

And from what I can gather from your letters and the things you do, I can see where he gets a good part of it. I’m not so good at putting what I feel into words, but, very sincerely, I mean every word of it. I hope it won’t be very long before I can really meet all of you in person. I’m looking forward to it so much.

I’m not usually quite so serious, Dad, So I’ll have to close on a lighter note. Lad comments that the country around Texarkana is “very poor and definitely not likable!” He also says that he retracts any mean statements he ever made about California! Gosh sakes! Quite a few people manage to live in Texas so it can’t be too bad – don’t they say that nights on the desert are beautiful and can’t be beaten? Hope I get a chance to find out for myself!

Has Ced gotten home? I mailing a letter to him there in hopes that he’s there by now.

With loads of love and very best wishes for the new year for all of you-

As ever,


P.S. Enjoyed your Christmas card so much. –

This is the final letter from 1943. In three weeks, I’ll begin letters from 1944.

Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

On Monday, we jump ahead to Christmas, 1945 and the end of that year.

Judy Guion


Special Picture # 289 – Ced as a Toddler – Mount Vernon, NY – @ 1918



This picture was probably taken at their house in Larchmont Gardens in Mount Vernon, New York. Ced was born in June, 1917. I don’t know if that is Lad or Dan in the background, but my guess is Lad. Dan would have been about 3 or 3 1/2 at this time. Lad was born in April, 1914, so he would have been about 4 or 4 1/2, but he was always tall for his age.