World War II Veteran: Thelma Kardon
For some, joining the service was a chance to relocate. Thelma Kardon, formerly Sherman, was a 21 year-old native of Chelsea, Massachusetts who joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in November of 1942.
(Thelma Kardon) And the training was fantastic. It put me on my shoulders, told me what to do. I took everything in, what they had. You didn’t get your—like a corporal sergeant; you had to earn it and they tested you on that—every month in order to get more money. And I was getting $78 a month.
Kardon trained at the WAAC base located at Fort Des Moines and earned the rank of Technical Sergeant. The training facility was the first of its kind for women in the United States. Because women were not allowed to be involved in combat, the WAACs took state side in foreign headquarters jobs that allowed men to fight the battles. Kardon spent the duration of her service in Des Moines as a Military Policewoman.
(Thelma Kardon) I was so proud to be on the parade grounds at Fort Des Moines. It was just beautiful, everything.
From the barracks on the Drake University campus, Kardon would patrol the city of Des Moines with one other WAAC armed with nothing more than a flashlight and limited training in hand-to-hand combat.
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