Star-Spangled Girl Only 19 When She Enlisted

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Ninety years ago today, Billie Jean Edwards was born in Lubbock, Texas. October 1943 only 19 years old, she walked into an Army Recruiting office in Beaumont, Texas. Knowing you must be 21 to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps, she told the recruiter she was born in 1923 making her 20 years old. They bent the rules a bit and took her. The only problem, she needed two relatives to swear to her birthday. The persuasive young women talked her two sisters in to signing the affidavit.

Knocking the top off the AGCT and Intelligence Tests, she was selected for Special Services. Volunteering to go to the Pacific, she found her way into the Signal Intelligence Service where she served in a select all women’s cryptologic field unit under the command of Cpt. Margaret Turner. When asked by her daughter how she became a cryptologist, she said, “On the job training.” Billie Jean got her training at Ascot Park Brisbane, Australia.

EPSON scanner imageBillie Jean 21
Age 21, Both photographs taken the same day in Brisbane, Australia while on leave

Barbara Nicodemus, Daughter of a SigInt WAC

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One Response to Star-Spangled Girl Only 19 When She Enlisted

  1. Amy says:

    Hello, I am very interested in the biography you are writing about your mother’s service. I am in the Canadian Armed Forces working in SIGINT. The related trades have always been inundated with women, but because of the classified nature of the work little is known. I am absolutely intrigued. Please let me know when a copy may be available.

    Best wishes,
    Amy

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