More than twenty thousand people on social media have viewed these images of the mysterious women in uniform. That’s a whole lot of eyes. Thank you for all the leads!
Here’s the update.
The United States Army built Spanish Colonial buildings at many of their bases. All had tile roofs and stucco exteriors, however, if you look closely at the details of the structures there are differences. Roof lines vary, as do the window designs. Several people told me they thought these women posed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
I reached out to the Fort Sam Houston Museum. Jacqueline Davis, director of the museum spent time examining older photos of the Fort with curator of the collection, Bill Manchester. They were able to rule out Fort Sam Houston and added information about the architecture. “The style of building in that photo is the Spanish Colonial revival style that was used all across the southern tier of military installations during the massive upgrade in the 1930s. There are variations in building details and, of course, layout of the buildings.”
She also forwarded my inquiry to Robert Kane, Air University director of history. He sent me this photo. Look familiar. He thinks it’s a match. I do too.
So..now we have a place.
The women posed at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery Alabama.
Maxwell AFB began as a flight school for the Wright Brothers. You can read more about the history here.
Why Are They There?
Dr. Kane added: “From the picture, I suspect that the two were WACs (Women Army Corps) as the US Army Air Forces (AAF) didn’t have a separate “unit” or organization for women assigned to AAF installations during World War II. The AAF had WACs assigned to these installations. Since these two women are near a vehicle, I suspect that they were drivers for senior officers on Maxwell Field. Finally, from the state of the deciduous (leaf-bearing) trees in the picture (that is, the leaves are gone), I believe the photo was taken in late December or early January, possibly over winter 1944-45.”
Who Are They?
All this new information narrows down the search:
Women who served as drivers at Maxwell AFB in early winter 1944-45.
The sharp-eyed Phyllis Garratt looked at the pictures and noticed that the same woman appeared in two of the images. I found another matching face too.
Unfortunately the size of the photos makes it difficult to see the women. While I know there are slim odds of figuring out their names, I’m holding out hope that someone recognizes someone in the images based on the new information.