In 1941, with the looming threat of war, Congress authorized the creation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). The bill became law in 1942, but since the WAAC was an auxiliary unit and not governed by United States Army regulations, enlisted women were not eligible for overseas pay or government life insurance. In 1943, a new bill created the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). The WAC would be part of the US Army, giving women the rank and benefits of enlisted men. About this same time, the 907th Post Headquarters Company was activated at Hill Field in Ogden, Utah. We’ve recently added new records to our Hill Air Force Base collection, including a history of the 907th Post Headquarters Company.
The primary purpose for the 907th’s activation was to release men for overseas duty. Female officers were brought in from WAC Training Centers in Florida and Iowa to command the new unit. When they first arrived, the barracks for women in the 907th, expected to number 135, were not yet completed. They got busy requisitioning beds, equipment, a mess hall, and all necessary supplies needed to train and house the new arrivals.
As the recruits arrived, they began specialized training. Women were taught to become radio mechanics, radio operators, supply officers, and other jobs held by male personnel. Pvt. Norene Sparks became the first WAC to replace an enlisted man at Hill Field in August 1943. Soon, WACs replaced dozens of positions held by men. The history for the 907th shows an exemplary disciplinary record with no punishments or court-martials. The WACs wanted to show military officials that they were serious about serving and could manage any job assigned. According to the history, their one complaint was not having enough to do. With the US deeply embroiled in WWII, the WACs made immeasurable contributions both at home and abroad.
During their downtime, WACs at Hill Field enjoyed different forms of recreation. The Red Cross established a day room where the women could gather and entertain friends. There was a piano, radio, games, and cards. Occasionally the WACs hosted dances or holiday parties. The WACs also developed a basketball team and played civilian opponents. They participated in service projects such as planning programs for patients at a local hospital.
As the military transitioned from WAAC to WAC, the designation of the 907th also changed. They became part of the 482nd Base Headquarters, and later, part of the 4135th AAF, Section C. Before WWII ended, more than 150,000 women served in the WAC. Other branches of the military also had similar women’s units, including the Navy WAVES, the Coast Guard SPARS, the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and Women Airforce Service Pilots.