George C. Marshall believed every American who wanted to serve should have the opportunity. The Marshall Museum’s exhibit “For My Country, For Myself”, takes a look at who some of those Americans were.
Exhibit images and historical information have been provided with our Legacy Series partner, the United States Army Women’s Museum. During World War II, many women wanted to “free a man to fight” and volunteered for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS). This included women such as Charity Adams, the first African-American woman to be officer in the WAAC (later WAC). When asked why she joined, another WAC, Ruth Williams, answered: “I almost lost my mind when Bataan fell and there was nothing I could do to help the situation. I knew I had to help win the war so when the WAAC bill was passed, I was one of the first in line to join up. I think it’s much better being where war is than to grow nervous reading about it. I guess I’m just a busy body and have to see everything myself.”
The George C. Marshall Foundation Library has several collections of women who served as WACs during World War II. On display will be personal belongings and archival keepsakes from Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, handpicked to lead the WACs by General Marshall. Uniforms, items and personal photographs of Virginia Lee, a WAC who served under General Marshall, and WAC Doris Coffey Hafle will be displayed.
George C. Marshall supported the involvement of African-Americans who wanted to serve and helped to establish aviation training of soldiers who were to become the Tuskegee Airmen. He visited the African-Americans of the 92nd Infantry “Buffalo” Division in February 1945 after their North Appenines and Po Valley campaign and eventually removed a white commander for discriminatory remarks regarding the soldiers. Images from the George C. Marshall Photograph Collection and excerpts from personal histories provided by the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site will be a part of the exhibit.