Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Yesterday marked the state's first annual observance of Massachusetts Women’s Defense Corps Remembrance Day. Established through legislation signed by Governor Charlie Baker in May 2018, this day honors volunteer women who provided critical war-related services during World War II.
With its origins in the #Gloucester Civic Patrol, the MWDC was authorized on April 2, 1941 as a statewide force under the Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety. The MWDC’s purpose was to conduct training for women to serve in civil defense capacities to support the war effort on home soil.
While there are not many surviving members of the MWDC, the dedication of these volunteers to our country paved the way for future generations of women to lead in all walks of life.
About 18,000 women were trained as air raid wardens, canteen workers, communications personnel, drivers, medics, chemical detection personnel, and emergency firefighters. These women were formally enlisted into the Corps and assigned to companies in geographic battalions across the state.
Corps members worked closely with the Massachusetts State Guard, the U.S. Army, state agencies, and local communities until the Corps was inactivated in 1946.