A recent FB post that mentioned the USO prompted me to go to You Tube and research Captain Glen Miller.
Glen Miller was probably the best known Big Band leader in the US when the US entered WW2. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and used his considerable talents to build morale among the troops often through USO shows. He also provided background music for war effort documentaries.
Miller was traveling to France from Britain on December 15th, 1944 when the airplane he was flying in disappeared over the English Channel. Miller was declared MIA. There are a number of theories that try to explain Miller’s disappearance. According to this wiki link the mostly likely possibility is that Miller’s plane was the victim of “friendly fire.”
Whatever the case the Army lost a top shelf morale builder and entertainer.
The below You Tube video illustrates the kind of work Miller did. It’s a tribute to Women’s Army Corp (WACs) and Rosie the Riveters-women who worked in industry while the men served in the military.
About 150,000 women volunteered to serve in the WACs during WW2. The roles were non-combatant and thus released 150,000 men for combat duty.
The women served in an amazing variety of roles. In the video you will see them serving as hospital medics, tank drivers (testing) AA gunners and firing machine guns. There are also glamour shots no doubt for the benefit of “the boys” and at least one shot of a WAC handling a M1 Carbine. There is something humorous about seeing women in long skirts “man” an AA battery!
Of special interest to me is that my mother-in-law Margaret Rozman (nee Robinson) served as a WAC in the medical corp. She was stationed in Seattle, WA and cared for the wounded of the Pacific Campaigns. Although she remembered her service fondly she also remembered her duties as sad taking care of men horribly disfigured by combat. For some her pretty face would be the last thing they saw before entering eternity.
The contributions made by the WACs should not be underestimated. They blazed a trail for women in the military and did excellent service.
The social impact made my the WACs and the Rosie the Riveters also should not be underestimated.
When the boys came home most of the Rosies and WACs married and settled down thus the Baby Boom of which I am a product of. What changed however was a shift in thinking from a one-bread-winner type home to a two-bread-winners type home as many women pursued careers or otherwise pursued employment outside of the home. World War 2 changed much.
The video is fascinating nostalgia and Americana. It’s typical of the kind of “shorts” that would precede the showing of a movie-hence the intro by another famous character-Bugs Bunny! The clip is a fitting tribute to the WACS and Rosies backed up by three of the Glen Miller Band popular songs including, In the Mood. Enjoy.