Skip to main content Skip to main content

WAC Continuation:

Government Continues the WAC

Black and White Portrait of Colonel Mary A. Hallaren

Colonel Mary A. Hallaren
Director of the WAC, March, 1947-January, 1953

The Women's Army Corps had proved itself in World War II and had made valuable contributions to the war effort. With the conclusion of the conflict, a decision had to be made about the future of the WAC. The Army set a demobilization date, yet new WAC recruits were required to staff the separation centers and the work of the Army of Occupation in Europe. A similar situation emerged in the Pacific, where because of military necessity, the Army froze all WACs in clerical positions until suitable replacements arrived.

Black/White portrait of Brigadier General Mary E. Clarke
Brigadier General Mary E. Clarke
Last Director of the WAC, August, 1975 April, 1978

Surprisingly, Oveta Culp Hobby, director of the Women's Army Corp, and her replacement Colonel Westry Battle Boyce, favored WAC demobilization. However, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Army Chief of Staff, needed skilled personnel and decided to keep the WAC beyond the demobilization date because of what he considered a "manpower emergency." At Eisenhower's request, legislation was drafted to make the Women's Army Corps a part of the regular peacetime army. This legislation known as the WAC Integration Act, was introduced into Congress in 1947, but never became law because of fierce opposition.

On June 2, 1948, Congress passed the Women's Armed Services Act of 1948, providing a permanent place for women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Concerns expressed over women commanding men and women engaging in combat were addressed in provisions of the Integration Act. Among the major provisions in this bill that gave women gained permanent status in the Armed Forces were that the Women's Army Corps remained a separate organization within the Army, the WAC had only one full line colonel and that position was to be Director of the Women's Army Corps, there was a separate female officer promotion list, WACs could not constitute more than two percent of active duty personnel, and the service Secretary could specify the authority women might exercise and the types of duty they might be assigned. This final provision enabled the Army to prevent women from participation in combat missions. The Integration Act secured a place for women in the military history of this country by securing the advances made during World War II and providing for mobilization in the event of any future national emergency.

Pallas Athena, Greek Goddess of victory and the arts of war, continued to be the insignia of the Women's Army Corps and Colonel Mary A. Hallaren became the new Director of the Women's Army Corps.




Edit this page