During this cold winter, Sandy Hook has probably been on your mind a lot lately. I know it has definitely been on mine. Picture it, the warm sand in your toes, underneath the sun, looking out at the perfect water enjoying some snacks or maybe a book. A beach day would be really perfect just about now!
What many locals do know of the history of Gateway National Park (the official name for Sandy Hook), is that it used to be a military base known as Fort Hancock. Almost all of the barracks are still around today. However what is not as popularized are the Women’s Corps that were held at our beloved beach.
Women, before World War II were not involved in the army in many ways. Their potential roles in the Army became more recognized during this time period. The United States was the first nation to allow women to be a part of the army.
Joining the army had some very strict guidelines women had to stick with, or else they would not quite make the cut. The women for Sandy Hook Women’s Corps had to be between the ages of 21-50. They had to all be healthy, and weigh between 105-200lbs and stand between 5’and 6’. Women who applied for this mainly had Bachelor’s degrees, and saw this as a great way to advance in their careers.
Some jobs the women held in the WAAC (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) included working the Post Exchange, Motor Pool, Post Headquarters, Mess Hall, Commissary, Finance Office and Dental Office. Women in WAAC primarily worked in four fields; baking, clerical, medical, and driving. The women were so successful in their work, that the Fort Hancock Commander once stated,
“Every non-civilian job at Fort Hancock which a woman can do will be assigned to a WAC. Each job taken over is a contribution to winning the war, for each WAC will replace a man who is vitally needed for combat service.”
By the end of the war, due to the success of the women, over four-hundred jobs opened up for women in the army. Women finally in the United States were able to make their mark on the army. The United States was the first country to allow women to serve, over 150,000 women served in WAAC, and over 99,000 in the US Army at the peak in 1945. Women were involved in 401 out of 625 army occupation codes, including operations in at least 181 war zones.