Biographical or Historical Information
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established during World War II to allow women to take over administrative duties at Army posts, camps, stations, service headquarters, and other army installations to relieve men for active duty. In July of 1943, President Roosevelt signed a bill to make the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps an integral part of the Army. This change was made over a period of months and by Sept. 30, 1943, enlistments were made in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and the WAAC ceased to exist. The Women's Army Corps Army Administration School at Nacogdoches, established in Feb., 1943, was the first of its kind in the United States. The school was established to train WAC's for administrative jobs in the Army. Stephen F. Austin College provided all necessary quarters, classrooms, and offices for the school while holding classes as usual for civilian students. Quarters were prepared in Gibbs Hall, the women's dormitory, the men's dormitory, and the Women's Recreation Center. Classes were held in the basement of the Administration Building. Offices were set up in the basement of the Science Building. Army officers and WAC officers served as instructors and directors. Lt. Col. Thomas M. Childs, A.G.D., New York City, was Commanding Officer of the school while Major John C. Woodbury was Educational Director of the 60 subjects taught. Six week courses were provided and had an enrollment of about 300 members, a new class starting at the school every three weeks. The first class arrived Feb. 12, 1943 and consisted of 250 WAC trainees. This first class was called Company A, Class 1. The next class was Company B, Class 2 and the next was Company A, Class 3. Thus the classes were lettered alternately A and B but numbered consecutively. In June, 1943, the school was expanded to embrace 8 weeks rather than 6 weeks, with an increased emphasis being put on clerical training. As a result, classes graduated every 4 weeks rather than every 3 weeks from that time on. The dates of graduation for the twelve classes attending the school were: March 24, 1943; April 14, 1943; May 5, 1943; May 26, 1943; June 30, 1943; July 28, 1943; Sept. 1, 1943; Sept. 29, 1943; Nov. 3, 1943; Dec. 1, 1943; Dec. 29, 1943; and Jan. 26, 1944. Each of the classes presented a program for the public at the high school auditorium usually on the night before its graduation. The titles of the programs in the order presented are as follows: "Variety Show," "Two Knights in a Day Room," "Salute to the Nations," "Why I Joined the WAAC," "A Night in the Day Room," "G. I. Follies of 1943," "WAC's a' Poppin'," "Passing in Revue," "WAC Tracks," "Reunion in 155," "Bal Masque," and "Women at Camp." The classes also produced a mimeographed service newspaper for the local WAC branch called the "Tag Echo". Most of the WAC's trained at the school were from outside the state of Texas. Many were from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and Iowa. Through the financial support of the business firms of Nacogdoches, a Service Club was opened for the enjoyment of WAC's and others in the Military Service. The Service Club was formally opened on May 15, 1943 in the Beall Building on Main Street of Nacogdoches with about 150 WAC's and as many civilians attending. Prior to the closing of the school in Jan. 1944, several officers of the school were transferred. Lt. Col. Thomas M. Childs was reassigned to the 8th Service Command, Dallas, in December of 1943. He was replaced as Commanding Officer of the school by Major Alford T. Hearne who was Adjutant of the station from the beginning. Major Woodbury was also transferred in December and was replaced as Educational Director by Major Ellen Bailey who had been Assistant Director of Instructions. The Army Administration School at Nacogdoches closed with the graduation of Company B, Class 12 on Jan. 26, 1944. In all, over 2,000 WAC's were trained at the school.