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  • Writer's pictureSoCal WACs

WACs March to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia

The WACs were marching to Fort Oglethorpe this weekend in beautiful, sunny Georgia! Thanks to the incredible support of our online followers around the globe, our tee shirt fundraiser was able to ease the burden of traveling expenses for our California members. The result was an incredibly educational experience not only for our reenactors but for local Chickamauga residents as well!

SoCal WAC members Mariah Mussenden, Morgan Mussenden, Olivia Hathaway, Carli Holland, and Michaela Negrete (as well as helpful GI support John Decker) teamed up with new reenacting friends and Chickamauga NPS to bring the story of WACs training at the fort to life. Guests were given a stamp sheet and were formally inducted to WAC basic training. The WACs had set up key stations with informational activities meant to tick off every section of our guests' graduation requirements. And at the end, our very own tee design was turned into stickers given to our new recruits!

Fort Oglethorpe served as the largest WAC training center during WWII, and was unfortunately demolished almost immediately at war's end. Today, guests can hike a scenic trail just off the Chickamauga NPS visitor center to explore the foundations of the buildings that once hosted over 50,000 Army women. In recent years, local volunteers have worked hard to clear the forest that had once grown over these remains and erect informational plaques commemorating the site.

On Saturday night, Chickamauga NPS treated our WAC volunteers to an authentic movie under the stars! According to research, WACs stationed at Oglethorpe in May of 1943 attended a screening of This Land is Mine in Theater 2. Park rangers set up a movie projector, seats, and a popcorn machine on the remaining foundation of Theater 2 and reenactors were able to watch the same movie more than 80 years later, almost to the day! If you look carefully at the foundation, you can still see the holes in the concrete where theater seats had been riveted.

SoCal WACs want to give special thanks to Molly Sampson and Chickamauga NPS for coordinating such a lovely event, our fellow WAC reenactors for putting on such great displays, our male GI counterparts for their support, and every one who bought a WAC tee for helping get us across the country! Now armed with new experiences and knowledge, we are so excited to continue sharing the story of the Ft Oglethorpe WACs.

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