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IHS Press

An Army in Skirts: The World War II Letters of Frances DeBra Brown

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Over 150,000 women served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in World War II. Although the majority of WACs were assigned to duties in the United States, several thousand received overseas assignments. More than 7,600 WACs served in the European theater of operations (ETO), mostly as communications workers, stenographers, typists, and clerks. Only 8 percent worked in jobs considered unusual for women such as mechanics, draftsmen, interpreters, and weather observers. Frances Debra Brown was a draftsman at American headquarters in London and Paris, where she worked on classified material. Frances Debra was born and raised in Danville, Indiana. An Army in Skirts: The World War II Letters of Frances Debra contains the letters that Frances wrote to her family and letters from family and friends to Frances. The letters vividly detail her World War II service, beginning with basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. After an assignment at an army air field in Marianna, Florida, where she worked on the post newsletter, she was shipped overseas on the HMS Queen Mary. While in London she worked through buzz bomb and V-2 rocket attacks, slept in shelters fully clothed, and made the acquaintance of a young English woman and her family. Arriving in Paris two weeks after the city's liberation, Frances witnessed the city's devastation and the effects of war on the populace. During her stay in Paris she attended classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and received a marriage proposal.

Hardcover.  274 pages. 2008, Indiana Historical Society Press. By Francis DeBra Brown.