Film, Video WWII Reunion: Women in the Military

Transcript: TEXT

About this Item


  • WWII Reunion: Women in the Military


  • As part of the National World War II Reunion held on Memorial Day weekend on the National Mall in Washington, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project sponsored several programs presenting compelling accounts of WWII history.

Event Date

  • May 28, 2004


  • -  In March of 1943, Elizabeth (Betty) Splaine joined the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS. After a 26-day boot camp, she received orders to report to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she served in administration and recruitment. Splaine was the first SPAR to re-enlist after a period of post-war demobilization and was assigned to the First Reserve unit. In 1953, she returned to full-time active duty in Washington in administration of the Reserve Program. In 1958, she became the first woman Warrant Officer in the Coast Guard and was transferred to the Admiral's office where she remained until she was forced to retire as a CW04 due to grade and term limits in December 1970.
  • -  On February 1, 1943, Martha (Settle) Putney joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. She entered the 35th Officer Candidate School at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, where she was commissioned on July 7, 1943. After completing OCS, Putney was assigned as a Basic Training Company Officer at Fort Des Moines. She had two temporary duty assignments in Texas and was assigned company commander of the 55th WAC hospital company stationed at Gardiner General Hospital in Chicago. Putney is the author of "When the Nation Was In Need: Blacks in the Women's Army Corps During World War II."
  • -  Miriam (Lee) Ownby joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps from Athens, Ohio, in October of 1942. After basic training, she remained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, for Administrative School where she served as a personnel clerk until she was selected for Officer Candidate School. Upon graduation from OCS, Ownby served in military personnel at Headquarters Air Technical Service Command at Wright-Patterson Fields in Dayton, Ohio, from 1943 to 1945. In 1945, she transferred to Oakland Air Force Base where she served as a squadron commander until her separation from the Army in July of 1946.
  • -  Cdr. Ruth L. (Rothberg) Erno joined the Navy WAVES on November 16, 1942, from her hometown of Boston. After basic training at Hunter College, Erno trained as an aviation metal smith in Norman, Oklahoma; she later served in Radio Communications in Boston. In January of 1944, Erno was selected for Midshipman School of Women's Reserve at Smith College where she received her commission in April of 1944. She subsequently served as Base Communications Officer at the Naval Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and as Communications Superintendent in Portsmouth Naval Yard. In 1951, Erno transferred to the Pentagon Office of Naval Operations where she remained on active duty until 1954. Erno remained with the Navy Reserves until her retirement in 1977.

Running Time

  • 51 minutes

Online Format

  • video
  • image
  • online text

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Credit Line: Library of Congress

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Chicago citation style:

WWII Reunion: Women in the Military. 2004. Video.

APA citation style:

(2004) WWII Reunion: Women in the Military. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

WWII Reunion: Women in the Military. 2004. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.