The Woman's Army Corps (WAC) Mothers Association
was founded during World War II (W.W.II) by some of the mothers of women in
the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) which later became the Women's Army
Corps. The WAC Mothers' purpose was to help both men and women by serving
in hospitals and USO's, selling bonds, mending clothes, sending comfort packages
to the WACs and doing anything they could to make life more comfortable for
the men and women serving their country.
Active members of the Women's Army Corps and Women's Army Corps Veterans in the Chicago area met under the sponsorship of the WAC Mothers Association in January 1946 to discuss the possibilities of organizing a Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association. Definite steps toward organization were taken in the months following and on 14 May 1946, the by-laws of the Chicago Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association were drawn up and adopted. The organization was chartered as a general non-profit corporation in the State of Illinois on 26 July 1946. (On 11 May 1951, the Association was incorporated in the District of Columbia.)
Like efforts toward organization were made in other cities an on 23 and 24 August 1947 the first national meeting of the Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association (WACVA) chapters was held in Chicago for the purpose of establishing a national organization. Officers of the Chicago Chapter served as national officers pro-tem. The national constitution and by-laws were drafted and adopted and the first national election of officers was held with chapters from Chicago Number 1, Pittsburgh Number 2, Columbus Number 3, Milwaukee Number 4, and Cleveland Number 5.
Ours is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. No person who is eligible for membership is barred because of race, creed, color, or political belief unless such belief is contrary to the principles of the Constitution and the government of the United States of America.
At present we have approximately 3,500 active members, but we represent thousands of women who loyally served their country in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf Bosnia and in Iraq and Afghanistan. We count among our members the former directors of the Women's Army Corps, commanders of the WAC Center and School, Officers, warrant officers, NCO's and enlisted women who were the heart of the women's tradition in the United States Army.
Those who have served honorably with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, The Women's Army Corps, or those who have served or are serving honorably in the United States Army, the United States Army Reserve or the Army National Guard of the United States, are eligible for membership in the Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association. The membership has grown each year, with new chapters being formed wherever possible. Where no chapter exists, eligible persons become Members-At-Large (MALs) who attend the conventions and participate in the organization's programs and in their various community programs.
Each year a national convention is sponsored by local chapters and held in various cities. The meetings consist of a Board of Directors meeting on Thursday for all National Officers, Committee Chairmen, Chapter Presidents, and officially appointed MAL delegates. A Workshop on Friday morning, the opening session on Friday afternoon, and a Company Party on Friday evening are held. Saturday morning is another business meeting and Saturday afternoon is the Pallas Athene Luncheon. Saturday evening is free for reunions, sightseeing, shopping , etc. Sunday morning is the Memorial Service, followed by the election of Officers at another business session. Sunday afternoon is the President's Luncheon, honoring all Past National Presidents, Chapter Presidents, and includes the Installation of new officers and the closing business session.
The National Honor Guard was established in 1951. The Honor Guard participates in our convention activities by Posting the Colors, escorting dignitaries, assisting the National Sergeant-at-Arms and Convention Chairperson. They also assist the National Chaplain with the Memorial Service. Members of the Honor Guard participate in the memorial services at Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Honor Guard carries the Colors and Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association flag, and escorts our President when the wreath is placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Members also take part in Veterans function, parades and memorial services in their communities.
The organization's official publication, THE CHANNEL, keeps the members aware of our national business, projects and pertinent veterans information. Most chapters have a chapter newsletter to keep their members informed of their local activities.
Each chapter carries out the program laid down by the National Organization, with emphasis being placed on VA Hospital volunteer work and Community Service in the local and national community. The VA Hospital Program is one of our most important programs. Volunteers serve in 50 VA Hospitals and Nursing Homes where veterans are patients. The WACVA is on the National VAVS Advisory Board. Where no VA Hospital is located, members volunteer in state and community hospitals. Gifts from Chapters and MAL's such as television sets, special equipment, Christmas gifts, etc., total thousands of dollars each year.
To further community relations our chapter projects have included monetary donations to every conceivable type of charity organization and collections such as eye glasses, stamps for the wounded, coupons, clothing, food for Food Banks, Bears on Patrol. Activities of service to civilian hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizens, Meals on Wheels, children, handicapped, Halfway Houses, Homeless Veterans, Veteran Stand-Down, etc., are another way of contributing.
Some of our national projects have included the presentation of a plaque honoring all women in service, to the WAC chapel at Fort McClellan. Annual donation is given to the WAC Foundation for the building, equipment, beautification and maintenance of the WAC Museum at Fort McClellan. Helped establish and promote the "Women's Army Corps Veteran Redwood Memorial Grove" in big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, and the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project. Donations by National, Chapters and individual members to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation (WIMSA) at Arlington, Virginia.
In the spring of 1983, the first Pallas Athene Award was presented to an Outstanding Women Cadet in the Senior Army ROTC Program in each of the four ROTC regions. 28 May 1984, a plaque for the Trophy Room at Arlington Cemetery was presented as a tribute to the memory of The American Heroes Known But To God. A plaque was dedicated 1 June 1984 at the new 103rd Corps Support Command Building, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, honoring the many women who trained at the Fort during W.W.II. At Biloxi, Mississippi in 1984 the convention body voted to present a plaque to the Cathedral Of The Pines in Ringe, New Hampshire where the Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association has participated for many years in the annual memorial services for all war veterans. Many chapters have donated a Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association flag to their state capitols to be placed with flags of the other veterans' organizations.
In 1992 celebrating our 50th anniversary, in recognition of Women's Army Corps Training Centers commemorative plaques were presented to the following places, First WAAC Training Center, Fort Des Moines, Iowa; Second WAAC Training Center, Daytona, Beach, Florida; Third WAAC Training Center, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; Fourth WAAC Training Center, Fort Devens, Massachusetts; Fifth WAAC Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana (includes Camp Ruston, Louisiana and Camp Monticello, Arkansas); U. S. Replacement Depot, Lichfield, England; Regular Army, WAC Training Center, Fort Lee, Virginia; 5th WAC Training Brigade, Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Women's Army Corps Museum, Fort McClellan, Alabama.
In 1984, Congress passed the bills that granted the Association a Federal Charter. President Ronald Reagan signed the Federal Charter into law on 30 October 1984. President Reagan proclaimed the first National Women Veterans Recognition Week beginning 11 November 1984.