‘First station at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. Arrived December 24, 1943 where I met my two best buddies Agnes Bard “Corky” and Vivian Paruta. We were to see each other off and on until the end of the war’ – T/5 Billie Jean Nicodemus “Nicky” taken from her WIMSA memorable experience.
While at Fort Dix, Agnes Bard, ex-school teacher from Buffalo NY and Pat Davis from Chicago won a Second Service Command essay contest on “Why the WAC Needs You.” The prize was a four-day vacation to Montreal and St. Adele Lodge as guests of their Canadian counterparts, the CWACs, who had already held a similar contest, with a trip to New York by their winners. Corky would serve in General MacArthur’s stenography pool in Brisbane, Manila and Tokyo.
Vivian Purata from Paterson NJ was one of the first women to sign up for the Women’s Army Corps after the disbanding of the Auxiliary Corps. She joined 120 Women to serve in the newly formed NY Company. A college graduate disillusioned with not being able to find a teaching job, she enlisted after her brothers were drafted. She wrote in her memoir, If they had to do it, then I had to do it too. Nicky and Vivian would reunite in Hollandia, New Guinea where Vivian served in the Advanced Echelon under Captain Juanita S. Stryker, Commander of the 5205th WAC Det. Vivian would be the first of 12 WACs to accompany Captain Stryker to Tacloban, Leyte to help set up a Signal Intelligence office after Gen. MacArthur recaptured the Southern Philippines.
Barbara Nicodemus Daughter of a SigInt WAC