© 2014 Enfys McMurry All rights reserved.
June 26, 1942: Women began leaving town to join the WAACs at the national training base at Fort Des Moines. They were greeted there by Colonel Thomas N. Gimperling, who told them, the corps “...will tolerate no petulance or capricious feminine temperament.” Other Centerville women left for the navy’s WAVES, for the Coast Guard’s SPARS and for the WOW’s volunteering as Woman Ordnance Workers. African Americans were leaving, their departures separate, their destination camps segregated. When the U.S. Navy lifted its racial exclusion policy, Centerville’s 20-year-old Casey Bolden was the first African American in Iowa to enlist. “I’m proud of that boy,” said his father, an employee of the Iowegian, to editor Jesse Beck. (418)