Most Iowa WACs Coming From Military Families

Des Moines—More than 50 percent of Iowa women serving in the Women’s Army Corps come from families which have at least one other member in the service. Many have a husband and at least three brothers fighting. There are several sisters in the corps. At least two are known to have WAC daughters—Pvt. Bessie E. Heer, of Cedar Falls, whose daughter Evelyn is a Corporal; and Pvt. Gladys R. Kerns of Ames, whose daughter Bettejune is also a private.

Pvt. Heer’s family is giving 100 percent war service. Her husband Pfc. Earl O. Heer is overseas, her son, Pvt. Robert B. Heer is a prisoner of the Japs and son, James, is in the Navy.

Fourth in Air Corps.
Twenty-five per cent of Iowa women are on duty with the air corps, thirteen percent are daughters of Spanish War veterans. There are a few whose fathers served the armies of foreign nations in previous wars.

This information was revealed by officials of Fort Des Moines following a survey which embraced about 70 per cent of the total Iowa WAC enlistment. 

Among WACS from this section of the state:
Private Verna Silvers, daughter of Mrs. Nellie Silvers of Webster City, is a sister of the late Roland J. Silvers, who died in Great Britain last year while serving with the U.S. Army. Previous to her enlistment she was a clerk at the McNerney Drug Store, Des Moines.  She is now on duty at Fort Des Moines. 

Private First Class Ruth M. Melvin of Woolstock, formerly at the general hospital, Clarion, Iowa, is now on duty at the station hospital, Fort Des Moines. 

Private Verna R. Wanken, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Wanken, is serving overseas with a WAC communications company. She has one brother in service, Pfc. Leo G. Wanken.

Private First Class Hannah M. Patterson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Patterson of Stratford, is on duty at Portland, Maine, with a WAC detachment. She was a school teacher before enlisting last June.

Private First Class Glada M. Wilson, daughter of H. L. Wilson of Stratford, is a cook at Fort Myer, Va.  Prior to her enlistment last January, she taught home economics and science at Jewell high school.  A graduate of Iowa State College, she is the only member of the family in service.

First Lt. Dorothea Keller Clinton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Keller, of Eagle Grove.  She is one recruiting duty at Boston, Mass.  At present she is working on air force drive to recruit women for service with the air corps.  A graduate of St. Teresa’s College in Winona, Minn., she was employed at Winona and St. Paul, Minn. Before her enlistment in July, 1942, Lieutenant Clinton was a member of the fourth officer candidate class, composed of women chosen direct from civilian life for officer’s training.She was married last June at Maxwell Field, Ala., to First Lt. John E. Clinton, of the army air corps. Her two brothers are also in the air corps.  John is in the army at Ballinger, Texas and Arthur recently transferred from the navy air corps to the marine air corps at Pensacola, Fla.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA – December 13, 1943