MAY 28, 1947
CHICAGO, Tuesday—Two branches of the military services—the Army and the Navy—have written me about their plans for the future.
Last month, a bill was presented to Congress proposing that the Women's Army Corps be established as an integral component of the Regular Army. The bill also proposes that women be appointed as officers or enlisted in the Reserve Corps. One of the reasons given for this proposal is the fact that, in any future war, women will be more needed than before, and therefore it is best to keep at work a nucleus which can easily be expanded.
The record of the service of the WAC in the recent war is quite impressive. On VE day, 100,000 women were in service in the Army, and about 18 percent of the personnel served overseas. Some of them are still in Europe and Japan and Panama, and five WAC officers are even in Korea.
The Navy Department has just had a week which it designated as Naval Reserve Week, and it offers opportunities to many young men to prepare themselves for naval service and thereby keep their country going. Quite plainly it stated that if a country is strong, there is less danger of attack upon that country.
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I can see many advantages in both of these programs. Both men and women can be benefitted by discipline and by opportunities for learning a variety of skills. In the case of the Navy Reserve, men can take short cruises to foreign shores.
The only thing I object to is that we do not tie up our programs for defense with the idea that our ultimate objective is to create within the United Nations a military force to defend all nations, thus gradually reducing for every nation both the expense and the anxiety of having to act alone against aggression. I feel sure such a force would be less of a burden upon individual nations.
At the same time, the benefits which our young people can now derive through service to the nation, either as members of the armed forces or as reservists, should still be possible. The qualities which such service develops are the qualities of a strong and virile people, and the opportunities for education should still be available, as they strengthen our democracy.