As I continue to research and write my military books, I’m doing a lot of reading on the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). One of the books I recently read was Call of Duty A Montana Girl in World War II by Grace Porter Miller. Miller was a WAC and served in the United States before going overseas to serve in England, Belgium, and then a short six week assignment in Germany.
What does this have to do with Workday Wednesday? I want you to consider for a moment what Miller’s daily work life was like as a WAC compared to yours today, especially if you are a woman.
Miller spent her days after basic training up early to have breakfast before working 10-12 hour or more days. She spent her days doing routine office work in the U.S. Once overseas she continued the office work until her she was cleared to work in cryptography in England. From there she was sent to a special school at Oxford to learn about the British codes so she could become even more useful in the secret, tiny, code rooms. Because of her proficiency, she was transferred to Belgium for many months and then finally Germany.
Not only did she work as a code breaker and message deliverer, but she also had the opportunity to travel in England, Belgium, and Germany as part of her daily duties. She met many interesting people through her job and free time and witnessed many things that would shock and horrify most of us. Shortly before her tour as a WAC ended and she was released to return home, she visited Dachau. Miller explained this one experience provided many years worth of nightmares.
Miller’s story is one of confidence, survival, ingenuity, consistency, integrity, and doing what she was called to do for her country. A very real look at what women endured as they broke the mold of what women “should” be at that time and served their country. Miller talks about the good and the bad of being a female in service. She opens the eyes of readers to the real experience.
One thing I learned through this book, again, was that women like Miller, and Virginia Brouk, about whom one of my next books is about, really laid the foundation for women today. These women broke the mold of ‘housewife, mother, caretaker’ and stirred things up so change could occur. These women gave my generation and those before me, the option to be a housewife or not marry; work inside or outside the home; serve in the armed forces; go after our dreams; and be who we truly are.
I deeply appreciate what these women did for our country in a time of war and what they did for future generations of women. They deserve our respect. And they make me wonder……could I have done their job? Served my country at that time? Would I have what it takes? Think on that…….
© 2013, Generations, Woodridge, IL