After the United States entered World War II, the need for increased manpower led to the creation of the Women's Army Corps, or WAC. More than 140,000 women served as WACs in the 1940s, and, except for combat, they did many of the same jobs as officers and enlisted men. After 1942, thousands of them began deploying overseas in Europe and in the Pacific. Their uniforms varied by season.
WAC Summer Uniform
The WAC khaki-colored summer uniform consisted of a button-down shirt, tie, skirt and suit jacket -- known in the military as a blouse. The blouse was designed with a decorative shoulder piece, or epaulet; four gold buttons; flaps over the upper pockets; and two lower slash-style pockets. Disc-shaped pins were worn on either collar, one depicting Athena, the Greek goddess of war, the other with the initials "U.S." The women wore pins on either lapel and patches of various designations on the upper sleeves.
WAC Olive Drab
The WAC winter uniform, also called olive drab, was similar to the summer khaki with a few differences. The khaki button-down shirt and tie were worn with an olive drab skirt and blouse. The blouse was the same basic design as its summer counterpart, except that it had plastic buttons down the front and on the two upper pockets. Other differences were the button-down straps atop each shoulder and the the mohair braid around each cuff. The women also wore a garrison cap of olive drab with straight sides trimmed in gold piping.
- George Mason University: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media: Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc.: Women's Army Corps
- Metropolitan State University at Denver: Camp Hale: The Women's Army Corps
- The University of North Carolina Greensboro: The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project: Women's Army Corps Khaki Uniform, 1944
- The University of North Carolina Greensboro: The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project: Women's Army Corps Olive Drab Garrison Cap, 1944
- George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images