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Memorandum from Headquarters, U.S. Army, 20 July 1944, collection of Edith G. Wells

As WACs provided battlefield support, the Army addressed issues concerning their situation. This memo, issued shortly after D-Day, warned enlisted WACs that if captured by the enemy they would not have officers’ privileges. In 1949, the Geneva Convention provided women prisoners with limited rights—such as separate beds and toilets—because of their gender.

Thorough training will be given in the rights and obligations of enlisted prisoners of war…which may be interpreted to safeguard to women such provisions as billeting and sanitary facilities separate from those afforded male prisoners…

Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Memorandum from Headquarters Thorough training will be given in the rights and obligations of enlisted prisoners of war…which may be interpreted to safeguard to women such provisions as billeting and sanitary facilities separate from those afforded male prisoners…

Women in the Military: World War II

During World War II, Congress authorized women to serve in auxiliary forces to assist the armed services. Some 150,000 American women joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)—renamed the Women's Army Corps (WAC)—and thousands more enlisted in women's divisions of the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. They worked in the U.S. and overseas, providing clerical, communications, intelligence, transport, medical, scientific, and other essential military support.