Cerro Gordo County

M/Sgt. Margery Pickett



MASON CITY WAC DIRECTS OWN BAND -- "I've never been disappointed in the WAC and I would be back in civilian life--" that's what Master Sgt. Margery Pickett who is home in Mason City for a visit with her father, Ray Pickett, says about her service in the Women's Army Corps. Sgt. Pickett is pictured above with her Fort Oglethorpe band which she directs.

Besides directing the band, Sgt. Pickett also has a 10 piece dance band under her direction. The dance band platys at the Service Clubs, the NCO club and Officers club every week. The band plays for troops marching to classes.

In addition to these regular assignments, the band has performed for visiting personalities including President Roosevelt and Col. Oveta Culp Hobby. Last summer the band went on a recruiting tour of Ohio, Kentucky and Georgia. It also broadcasts once a week over a Chattanooga station.

In the personnel of her band, Sgt. Pickett has no Iowans, but she has a drummer who was formerly with the Chicago Women's Symphony, a solo cornetist, formerly with the Wanamaker band; a solo cornetist, formerly with an American Legion sponsored girls' band in Milwaukee, and 4 former pubic school teachers.

Sgt. Pickett rehearse her band in the mornings and her dance band in the afternoon and finds time to give players individual instruction as well. This musical training which band members receive is only a part of the educational advantages which are made available to every WAC. According to Sgt. Pickett, many girls are attending evening classes in typing, shorthand and the like in preparation for a business career after the war.

There are classes in other subjects as well -- such as foreign languages -- which are popular among the WACs.
Of course, the regular WAC training includes educational advantages in that girls received valuable instruction in radio, photography, laboratory work and the like which they need to carry out thier WAC duties, but the evening classes are an extra benefit.

Medical attention and dental care, which the WACs receive is of the finest, according to Sgt. Pickett. All of their clothing is provided and replacements are made, so that a WAC may get as many as 4 pairs of hose a month if she needs them. Yes -- even the WACs consider the stocking situation. Theirs are better than the AAFs, according to Sgt. Pickett who met and chatted with Subaltern Mary Churchill of the WAAFs during her visit to Fort Oglethorpe. Their visit was recorded by the news reel cameraman.

Sgt. Pickett spoke of the beautiful countryside in which Fort Oglethorpe is situated and of the historic shrines nearby. The fort is in Chickamauga park and Lookout mountain is visible in the distance.

Real incentive for Sgt Pickett's visit to Mason City this time is the fact that her brother, Claude, is arriving home for a leave from his duties with the navy from which have taken him to north Africa and Italy.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, January 15, 1944 (photos included)