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Before 1976, women in the Army were segregated into their own branch known as “WAC” which stood for Women’s Army Corps. All WAC officers were trained at Fort McClellan, Alabama. The women’s training center was later moved to Fort Lee, Virginia. Penny thus was one of the last of the WACs. When the Army integrated women into its regular branches, Penny was assigned to the Quartermaster Corps as a logistics officer. Penny served four years on active duty and two years in the Army Reserve. She came into the Army through what was known as the “College Juniors” program. Women who were college juniors were brought into the Army Reserve as E-5s (corporals) for training similar to ROTC for two years. They were paid the salary of an E-5. When they graduated from college, and contingent upon completing the training program, they were commissioned as second lieutenants. Penny joined the Army, she says, “to see the world.” She was commissioned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and besides Alabama, she got to see the world all right: her permanent duty station was Fort Riley, Kansas, just a few miles down the road!
Craig was commissioned at the United States Air Force Academy in 1976. He served 13 years on active duty, 13 years in the Air National Guard and four years in the Air Force Reserve. He retired as a colonel in 2006.
Left to right: (my brother’s commander)(my nephew, David M., now age 30); David Q Manson (Maj, USA, retired); our Dad, Harold V Manson (1932-2013; Lt Col, USA, ret.); Terry Manson (Maj, USA, retired); me (Col, USAF, retired); a total of 85 years of service; our Mom, who also served every one of those 85 years (though she’s only 83 years old) without pay and not even so much as a medal.