Exhibit W: Telephone Operator Request Solders Bonus by State of Washington - 1920

Newton, N.J., November 15, 1920.

As a former member of the Telephone Operators Unit, U.S. Signal Corps, A.E.F., I hereby apply for recognition for myself and other Signal Corps women of the State of Washington as participants in the Bonus Bill just passed by the people of our state.

I understand there is some indecision as to whether we are included and so offer this statement as proof that we are entitled to the same benefits conferred upon army officers and enlisted men, field clerks, and women of the Army Nurse Corps, Navy, and Marine Corps.

I took the Oath of Office and was appointed Operator in the Signal Corps on February 18, 1918, reporting shortly upon competent orders to San Francisco for a period of training covering six weeks.

Then our group was ordered to the Port of New York, and on May 10 arrived in France. My first service of five months took place with the Advance Section Services of Supply from where on October 1st I was ordered to the Advance Echelon Headquarters First Army, remaining there through its offensive in the Meuse-Argonne.

After the Armistice I went with the Army to its new headquarters and thence to Paris where I remained for duty during the session of the Peace Conference.

In July 1919 I was ordered to Brest, and after short duty there arrived in New York on Sept. 3rd. My services with the Signal Corps ceased on Sept. 25 at which time I received my official completion of services.

As members of the U.S. Signal Corps we wore the prescribed uniform and insignia at all times. During our service with the A.E.F. we were under army discipline and the same regulations and allowances as Army Nurses.

Our military status was not questioned, and all our orders were identical with those issued to other army personnel. The right to wear army service chevrons was officially granted us, thus setting us apart from workers in the various relief organizations and other civilian personnel attached to the army.

After my participation in the Meuse-Argonne Operation, I requested and received authority from the Commanding General of Base Section S to wear the Victory Ribbon and one battle clasp as per Special Orders 224, Par. 37.

Upon returning to civil life, however, we discover that our status in the Army is questionable. The Signal Corps women are not specifically mentioned by the War Department as eligible to the Victory Medal nor to the $60.00 bonus which was given upon discharge not only to all officers, enlisted men, field clerks, army nurses, but also to women of the Navy and Marine Corps who never saw duty in battle area nor in fact outside of the United States.

This seeming injustice was recognized by the State of Massachusetts which passed a Bonus Bill giving $100.00 to all ex-service men and women, of the Signal Corps. We trust that the State of Washington will see the justice of our request.

Mrs. Marmion Douglas Mills, formerly Adele Louise Hoppock

U.S. Signal Corps.

Note.—This “affidavit” was approved by Col. Marmion Mills. His service in War I & War II was outstanding. After retiring he entered transportation field, introduced trackless trolleys to Seattle and was involved with San Francisco’s transit system.

"[Exhibit W]: Affidavit of Gertrude Hoppock: Signal Corps Veterans Association Membership Card, 1919," in Recognition for Purposes of VA Benefits, Hearing before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Unted States Senate, Ninety-Fifth Congress, First Session on S. 247, S. 1414, S. 129, and Related Bills. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 25 May 1977. p. 375.

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