“Don’t Ever Let Yourself Be Average”: Running The First WAC Detachment In Vietnam

Marion C. Crawford


First Sergeant Marion C. Crawford knew she wanted to be a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) from the time she first saw WAACs (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) march through her town of Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, as a young girl. She was so enamored by those women in service to their nation that she hung out in their orderly room, answering the telephone and delivering messages. The ladies eventually “adopted” her and even gave her a child-sized uniform to wear. After WWII, when the WAACs were disbanded, Marion wrote a letter to the Department of Defense, asking when reenlistments for women would be reopened, and upon receiving a reply, immediately went down to the recruiting center and joined the WACs. She exceled in the Army, and made rank fast, becoming a First Sergeant at the age of 23. Throughout her career, she was either running companies as the First Sergeant, or working in recruiting command, bringing young women into the Army. In 1966, she was hand-picked to deploy to Vietnam to serve as the first, First Sergeant for the WAC Detachment in Vietnam, building the unit from the ground up. She served in Vietnam from October, 1966 to June, 1968. In this interview, she talks about her childhood, joining the Army as a WAC, and her training. She describes some of her early assignments and how she viewed recruiting young women. She discusses deploying to Vietnam and setting up the WAC Detachment in theater, and explains her role coordinating with other First Sergeants and Commanders to ensure good working conditions for her female Soldiers. Finally, she reflects upon her post-Army jobs (including being the first woman JROTC Instructor) and expresses what her service means to her.


conflicts Vietnam War World War II
topics Women in Service Taking on a New Command Patriotism Morale Camaraderie Diversity Leadership
interviewer David Siry
date 27 April 2018


name Marion C. Crawford
service Women's Army Corps WAC
unit USARV, Special Troops, WAC Detachment
specialty First WAC Detachment First Sergeant in Vietnam
service dates 1948 1969