Polk County

Capt. Clara G. F. Han




Waterloo's First Woman Officer

Graduated with 435 others, Miss Marion C. Lichty, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burr G. Lichty, 1481 Newell street, Saturday earned her commission as third officer in the Women's Army Auxiliary corps after six weeks training at Fort Des Moines, Ia. Only five other Iowans graduated: Clara G. Han and Helen E. Hanson, Des Moines; Dorothy A. Tomhave, Estherville; Helen Lloyd-Jones, Mason City and Mary S. Bell, Cedar Rapids.

Source: The Courier, August 30, 1942

All dressed up with plenty of places to go but these Iowans, first from the Hawkeye state to be graduated as officers in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, don’t know where until they receive their assignments, after two more weeks of specialized training at Fort Des Moines.

These WAACS—from left in the photo:
Miss Mary S. Bell, Cedar Rapids, former dean of women at Coe college;
Miss Marion C. Lichty, Waterloo;
Mrs. Clara G. F. Han, Des Moines;
Miss Dorothy Tomhave, Estherville—
Were among the first 436 to be graduated as third officers, equivalent to the rank of second lieutenant, at the Army post Saturday.

Their basic training over, the WAACS will be assigned to active duty to relieve soldiers for the fighting fronts, after completing two weeks of specialized training.

Actually two other native Iowans, Helen Lloyd-Jones, Mason City, and Helen E. Hanson, Des Moines, also were graduated, but they were inducted from corps areas outside the seventh, in which Iowa is located.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, August 31, 1942 (photo included)


Washington, D.C. -- Promotions for eleven Iowans in the women's army auxiliary corps were announce Tuesday night.

The following officers were advanced to the rank of first officer, the WAAC equivalent of captain: Clara G. Han, 1063 Twenty-first st, Des Moines; Marion C. Lichty, Waterloo; Kathleen McClure, Iowa Falls, and Helen E. Hanson, 726 Guthrie st, Des Moines.

Promoted from the rank of third officer to second officer, WAAC equivalent of first lieutenant: Clara J. Courson, Belmond; Elizabeth L. Flanagan, Cedar Rapids; Kola S. Gallagher, Council Bluffs; Vera E. Stiver, 4309 Allison ave., Des Moines; Jeanne E. Hardie, Dubuque and Marcella M. McCue, Greeley.

Source: The Des Moines Register, April 21, 1943

Local Girls Make Good in the WAC

Des Moines has been so busy being proud of having the WAC at its Fort that some detail of the achievement of the Des Moines girls who have gone into the corps has been lost.

Records speak for themselves. Des Moines girls have copped some of the prize WAC jobs. They hold ranks of private through captain. And they're stationed from Des Moines to the ends of the earth where the WAC is being sent.

One outstanding example of this is Capt. Clara Grace Han who has the assignment of all WAC enlistment leaving basic training centers and specialist schools.

On top of that she also assigns enlisted men from replacement training centers in chemical warfare, ordnance, finance and transportation.

While a civilian, Captain Han took part in a variety of activities. She was a supply teacher at Callanan Junior High, Roosevelt, Lincoln and East High schools. She was a member of the Y.W.C.A. council, junior high school adviser and in charge of the 'Y' summer school program.

She served for a time as chief of the book review section for the A.A.U.W. and gave frequent travel talks before church and club, basing them on a summer she spent in Europe when she took a group of girls for a cycling tour of European youth hostels.

While taking teacher training at the University of Michigan she headed a group of which blazed the 350-mile trail from Ann Arbor to Lake Michigan for the American youth hostels. Captain Han, civilian, was in Austria during the anschluss.

Assistant post adjutant at Fort Des Moines is the title of another Des Moines woman, Lieut. Helen Waldron Timm, who has had 18 months of service n the WAC.

Lieutenant Timm is the daughter of Mrs. Charles P. Waldron of Des Moines and Minneapolis. Her brother, Lieut. Charles P. Waldron, jr., is in the tank corps in Italy.

Lieutenant Timm came up "the hard way" as the army says, taking basic training at the First WAC Training center after which she entered the eight weeks course of bakers and cooks school. She was accepted for officer candidate later and received her commission Feb. 16, 1943.

She served as a company officer until Aug. 26, when she was made commanding officer of a basic training company in the First regiment.

And then after four and a half months she was assigned as adjutant of the First regiment at the post. Her most recent promotion, to assistant post adjutant, took place Mar. 6.

Lieutenant Timm was graduated from Roosevelt High and received her B.S. degree from Iowa State college at Ames.

One of the two 'junior' officers on Col. Oveta Culp Hobby's staff is Lieut. Pat Griffith, who was connected with Central Broadcasting company of Des Moines before enlisting in the WAC. While in Des Moines Lieutenant Griffith lived at 1511 Beaver ave.

Before attending officer candidate school, she worked in the public relations office at Fort Des Moines. She was commissioned last April and then attended the army special service school at Washington and Lee university and was special service officer at Newport News, Va.

She was assigned to Colonel Hobby's office in January.

Lieut. Margaret A. Sherman, former editor at Meredith Publishing company, is on duty with the war department bureau of public relations in Washington, D.C.

Selected from the ranks of the WAC to officer candidate school, she received her commission as second lieutenant March 16, 1943. From Fort Des Moines she went to Fort Devens, the Fourth WAC Training center, as assistant public relations officer.

Lieutenant Sherman's next assignment was to Colonel Hobby's office. Later she was on duty with the office of technical information, and upon discontinuance of this department she was detailed to work in the war department bureau of public relations, her recent assignment.

Source: The Des Moines Register, May 7, 1944 (photo included)