USA IN THE ETO – SOFTBALL, WAACS AND DRIVERS FOR OFFICERS

From YANK Magazine

We ran into a softball game the other day, it doesn’t matter where. The point is, the game made us very sad. Not the game itself, mind you; it was well enough played, as softball games go. The thing about it that cut us to the quick was that the guys who were playing it were talking like Englishmen. So help us.

They were Yanks, too.



Listening to them, you couldn’t tell whether they were playing softball or cricket. “Oh, jolly good hit,” we heard a sergeant say after a Pfc. Had slapped out a two-bagger. “Thanks, old boy,” the Pfc. Called back from second base.

One of the pitchers asked, believe or not, if he was tossing them too hard. “Not at all, not at all,” the batter said.  “They’re coming over perfectly.” We were glad to see that this batter stuck out, the rummy. We were also wishing that someone would get hold of a sizzler and part the pitcher’s hair, but of course this never came off. God loves pitchers, we guess.

We stuck it out for three innings and then we went away from there, walking slowly. We got to thinking about after the war, as we occasionally do these days. What, we wondered , is going to happen to baseball? Perhaps, we thought (and we shivered) it’s going to turn into a kind of nine-man tennis, with players bowing and scraping to each other all over the infield. When that day comes, we decided, we will have lost not only the war, but peace and the century and everything else.

The last thing we heard from the softball field was someone yelling, “Oh, a beautiful catch, Mickey, a beautiful catch.” IF we’d had an umpire there at that moment we’d have killed him. Throttled him with our bare hands.

Would have made us feel a little better.

The first WAACs have reported for duty in the ETO, two of them. They are respectively a first officer and a second officer. The first officer wears a captain’s bar and the second officer wears a first lieutenant’s bars. They are both, in their own fashion, attractive, and wear their officer’s uniforms with a very decided flair. They are very military in carriage, and they rate a salute, but anybody who thinks that the WAACs army is a man’s army is militarily mistaken.

They brought the press in the other day to interview the two charming ladies, First Officer (Mrs.) Zelma F. Henson, of Los Angeles, and Second Officer (Miss) Dorothy L. Swart (25), of Elsa, Tex. The two officers were very military about it all, and even addressed an enlisted reporter from Stars and Stripes with “Yes, sir, that’s right.” They also were as cagey about security as any two army people we’ve ever seen.



waacs

S.O. Swart and F.O. Henson: Their handbags are lovely.



But the conference broke down when several American women correspondents started admiring the lovely leather handbags which are G.I. issue for the WAACs. However, we will not go into women’s handbags.

The second reason advanced to support the argument that the WAACs army is not a man’s Army is the startling statement by the Second Officer that she was intrigued by the whole idea and that she would like very much to remain in the service after this war is al over. She said she thought it was a very good life. That, brother, is all, is all, is all.

Speaking of WAACs, which, incidentally is something we never thought we’d have to do again, we’ve been seeing a lot of rather attractive women lounging around these days in peculiar uniforms. For a long time we weren’t able to place those uniforms, but now we have. The women are drivers.

They don’t, of course, drive for privates, or for sergeants, or even for shavetails. You’ve got to be something above a captain to nail on of those dames for your khaki sedan. This, we think, is an abominable state of affairs. After all, who’s fighting this war, anyway? Colonels? Nah. Generals? Nah. Majors, yet? Nah. It’s us, the enlisted men. And we think we’re getting a dirty deal.

Why shouldn’t we have some dames to drive us around. After all, generals are perfectly capable of driving automobiles. Any one who is incapable of steering a car is incapable of leading an army. Ain’t that right? Sure, it’s right. But us, we’re incapable of leading armies, and therefore we’re incapable of driving cars, even of driving tanks. Something ought to be done.

There are a lot of women around here who can drive cars, and at last count we have 6,000,000,002 lorries, etc., in the British Isles. Why don’t we take the women drivers away from the generals and betake them to ourselves? If they want uniforms, we can slip ‘em our seconds. We can even put them into tanks, and the rest of the tank crew can relax. There’s a great point there.

Put women drivers in tanks, see, and then let the Germans know that our General Lees have dames at the controls. “Mein Gott,” they’ll say, when our tanks start moving up, “Women drivers, Let’s get the hell out of here.” See, we’ve just won a battle, just by using our heads. Any general around here got some better ideas?



For More on the WACs Check Out:

One Woman’s Army: A Black Officer Remembers the Wac


Silence Means Security: Secrets of a WWII Code-Breaking WAC




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