"Their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit and determination are immeasurable."
-- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Soon after Betty Muir enlisted in the WACs as an aviation cadet, recruiting slowed to a trickle as slander campaigns challenged the WACS as sexually immoral. Many soldiers ferociously opposed allowing women in uniform, warning their sisters and female friends they would be seen as lesbians or prostitutes. Other men, seeing the posters that called on women to volunteer in order to "free a man to fight" feared being sent to combat units if women took the safe jobs. Critics outside the military included those with religious objections, reactionaries who wanted to prevent social change, and right-wing critics of Roosevelt's social programs.
|Women's Army Auxiliary Corps recruiting poster; photograph courtesy of Wikipedia|
Despite initial resistance, the WACs were considered important by many in the Army, who realized they helped the U.S. and its allies win the war. Traditional restrictions placed on women in the workplace before the war were broken by World War II. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and all-female units were integrated with male units.
General Douglas McArthur called the WACs "my best soldiers," adding that they worked harder, complained less, and were better disciplined than men.
Treadwell, Mattie E. United States Army in World War II: Special Studies -- The Women's Army Corps, (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1954)
U.S. Army Center for Military History, http://www.history.army.mil