At Hartsville Veterans Day ceremony, FMU professor recounts women’s military service

November 12, 2018

HARTSVILLE, S.C. — The role of women in the military was brought to the forefront of Sunday’s 100th anniversary of Veterans Day ceremonies by the chairman of the Francis Marion University history department.

About 50 people turned out at Burry Park to hear Scott Kaufman, who has a Ph.D. in history, talk about the history of women over decades of service.

Initially, according to Kaufman, women were in military service as far back as the American Revolution when they were cooks, nurses and launderers.

“George Washington found that having wives with his army was a way to convince their husbands to continue service,” he said.

Kaufman points out the different major conflicts throughout history where women were instrumental in the causes.

Kaufman said that some 16,500 women served with the American Expeditionary Force in the U.S. and France as nurses, telephone operators, canteen workers and secretaries.

It was apparent Kaufman was building an illustration of the type of work women were allowed to perform.

“It is important to note that in no case were women officially allowed into combat, and this was true as well in World War II,” he said.

Kaufman listed the different divisions the women were allowed to serve:

>> Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC).

>> Women’s Army Corps (WAC).

>> Navy’s Women’s Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).

>> U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS).

>> Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs).

And now after the five different major wars and conflicts, women do just about everything their male counterparts do.

Participating in the services were the Rev. Steven Gaither, who offered the opening prayer; the Hartsville High School JROTC, which posted the colors; and Andy Locklair, who provided the sound system and sang the national anthem.

The annual Veterans Day ceremonies are hosted by the Pilot’s Club of Hartsville.

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