Women's Army Auxiliary Corps

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) later the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was a woman’s branch of the United States Army. Representative Edith Nourse Rogers introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1941, to establish the group. The bill stalled but was proposed again after the entry of the United States into World War II and was passed and signed by President Roosevelt in May 1942. The program accepted women of all backgrounds to be trained in one of many specialties: switchboard operators, mechanics, bakers, postal clerks, drivers, stenographers, and typists.

The WAAC Training School No. 5 officially opened at East Texas State Teacher’s College on March 13, 1943. The first 300 women arrived March 12th and an additional 300 women arrived three weeks later. Each training course lasted six weeks. The program necessitated some modifications to the buildings on campus. Large classrooms were created out of the end wings of the library reading room. The East Dormitory attic was turned into sleeping quarters for forty students and many offices in Whitley gymnasium were dedicated for WAAC staff. A playing field on the west side of campus was used as a drill field. Some 690 people contributed to the training of WAAC participants. Members of the program published their own newspaper, “The WAAC Watch,” which circulated during the brief existence of the program. After the graduation of six classes, the WAAC Training School No. 5 closed on September 8, 1943.