WWI - Women at the Battlefield.

Working on my new story, THE HELLO GIRLS, a little-known story of women who served in France during WWI.

 Hello Girls is a familiar name these women telephone operators recruited by the Signal Corps were given when they arrived in France in 1918.

They were an experiment for the US Army Signal Corps. General John Pershing commander of the American Expeditionary Force in France requested that the Army enlist skilled American telephone operators who could speak French as well as they did English. He knew their skilled telephone expertise would be a critical factor for fast and accurate communications with widely separated battled fields and the command headquarters.

In this picture, Grace Banker, the Chief Operator stands in the middle of smallish telephone switchboard room somewhere in France in 1918. She was a graduate of Barnard College, a trained operator and supervisor for the telephone company. Because of her technical skills, her well-spoken French and her leadership skills she was selected to lead the first group of 33 Signal Corps women to France.

General Pershing is known to have said, "These women will be as important to our winning victory as the boys in khaki."

In my story I use Grace Banker's words to tell you their story.

These women are often said to to be the predecessors of the women in today's Army - -

I know the more I read about them and internalize their story - the prouder I am of them - - and grateful to tell their story.

Have I piqued your curiosity?

If you are in the DC Metro area THE HELLO GIRLS is a part of the Capital Fringe in July. Find out when and where HERE.

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