partners exhibit heading

women in the military
Women in
Military Service

View additional photographs of women in the armed services




At first, servicewomen filled administrative and clerical jobs to "free a man to fight." But as more and more men were shipped overseas, women replaced them in jobs previously considered unsuitable for women.  Before long, women were serving in virtually every occupation except direct combat—in the motor pool, as radio operators and repairmen, gunnery instructors, mechanics, flight instructors, and in other advanced technical and scientific fields.

In the photo below, left, women Marines receive weather reports via radio, El Toro Marine Air Base, California, 1944. In the photo below, right, are WACs Stephena Plechavy and Kitty Martis, 107th WAC Detachment, San Francisco Port of Embarkation, Fort Mason, California, July 1943.

WACS and radio WAC and Truck

Top Row Photos Below:
Left - WAVES at work, Naval Air Station, Weeksville, North Carolina, July 1945.
Right - SPARs of the 11th Naval District learn the intricacies of an automobile engine.

WACs and weather balloon WWII WACs
WACs and military photography African American WACs
Bottom Row Photos Above :
Left - WACs at work in the photography section, Harlingen Army Gunnery School, Harlingen, Texas.
Right - WAACs leave the First WAAC Training Center, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, for duty in Fort Clark, Texas, 1943.


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 Photo Credits (L to R): #1, 2 & 3: The Women's Memorial, #4: National Archives,
#5: The Women's Memorial, #6: Library of Congress

(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum 2007