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Date of Award
Thesis-ISU Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Department of History
This thesis examines the experiences and conditions of Black enlisted servicewomen who served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during the Vietnam War; many who were assigned to the WAC Detachment, the first female detachment to a warzone since World War II. African American servicewomen’s military experiences are unique as they are marked by both race and gender, placing them at the bottom of societal and institutional hierarchies, and granted little or no protection and privileges within the military ranks. Previously serving in segregated units during World War II, Black women’s transitions into the modern military was plagued with racism, sexism, and harassment that followed into the Cold War era, even after the military integration laws and policies put forth by President Harry S. Truman. By studying the Vietnam War, I will showcase the integration laws and policies that positioned Black women in the armed forces, and eventually changed institutions like the WAC into a respectable career opportunity. This study will detail Black women’s motivations for Army enlistment, whose service was strictly voluntary, and the racial and gendered adversities they faced throughout the war that integration laws and policies failed to expel.
Reinhardt, Telisha Nichole, "Opportunity in a Uniform: the History of Black Enlisted Wacs during the Vietnam War" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 703.