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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 1996
Birth: 1907 - Death: 2005
Born In: ,
Died In: Virginia, United States of America
Achievements: Government
Educated In:
Schools Attended:
Worked In:

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Mary A. Hallaren

In war and peace, Mary Hallaren proved herself a true leader of women. Described as "one of the giants among military women," Hallaren enlisted in 1942 in the newly organized Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACS, later to become the Women's Army Corps, WAACS). One year later, she commanded the first battalion of WAACS to serve in Europe, the largest contingent of women serving overseas throughout World War II. By war's end, Hallaren stood in the highest ranks of WAC leadership, serving as Director from 1947-1953. Many of her military colleagues, male and female, favored the peacetime demobilization of women. Army Chief of Staff Dwight D. Eisenhower believed women were necessary to meet post-war personnel needs. Hallaren refusing to "write 'finis' to women's contribution," became the primary exponent and dynamic force advocating permanent status for military women. Despite strong opposition, the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 was adopted, insuring for women of future generations new opportunities to serve and command on land, at sea and in the air. In 1965, Hallaren assumed direction of new organizations, Women in Community Service, sponsored by a coalition of diverse women's organizations. Through its program, at-risk women were able to secure job training and economic opportunity. Because of Hallaren's vision and inspiration, women who might have failed economically and socially, succeeded. In recent years, Hallaren has been instrumental in the creation of the "Women in Military Service Memorial," erected at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery in the nation's capital to honor the contributions and achievements of all military women.
Additional Sources:

Brokaw, Tom. The Greatest Generation. Random House, Inc., 1998

Weiner, Josephine. The Story of WICS. Washington, D.C.: Women in Community Service, 1979.