Letter from Adele Hoppock Mills to Senator Vandenburg - 1935
Adele Louis Hoppock, University of Washington Coed at the Time She Enlisted into the US Army Signal Corps as a Telephone Operator. GGA Image ID # 19ac43734f
Birmingham. Mich., February 6, 1935.
Hon. Arthur H. Vandenburg,
My Dear Senator Vandenburg:
I am writing to invite your attention to and solicit your support of H.R. 91, introduced by Mr. Moran on January 3, 1935, which provides that those citizens of the United States, who, during the World War were members of The Telephone Operating Units, Signal Corps, American Expeditionary Forces and who were enlisted as and served in the status of civilian employees of the Signal Corps, shall be held to have served in the military service of the United States.
This Bill will grant military status to 200 American women, of whom I am one, who served the Army in France as telephone operators at the principal exchanges.
General Pershing specifically mentions the work of the women operators in his “Experiences in the World War”, stating, “No civil telephone service that ever came under my observation excelled the perfection of ours after it was well established. The telephone girls in th A.E.F. took great pains and pride in their work and did it with satisfaction to all”.
During my service of nineteen months, I served at the Headquarters of the First Army, during the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensive and later, during the Peace Conference, I served at the Paris exchange.
Throughout our service in the Army, we women operators were subject to Army Regulations and were considered as much a part of the Army itself as were the male members of the Signal Corps who worked with us.
It was only after return to the United States that we learned that the women operators were classed as “civilian employees” and were therefore not eligible to receive the Victory Medal or other veteran benefits.
In contrast to this, I wish to invite your attention to the fact that the women who served in the Navy, in the United States as Yeomanettes, were regularly enlisted and considered as much a part of the Navy as any male sailor.
This Bill will rectify an injustice to a small group of American women who volunteered for service in France under the impression that they were regularly a part of the United States Army.
I will greatly appreciate your favorable consideration and support of this measure.
(Mrs.) Adele L. Mills.
"[Exhibit Z]: Affidavit of Gertrude Hoppock: Letter from Adele Hoppock Mills to Senator Vandenburg - February 6, 1935," 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. 377.