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Call of Duty

Montana-born Grace Porter was teaching school in Iowa when, in 1942, she turned twenty-one and became eligible for service in the U.S. armed forces. Patriotic and adventurous, she volunteered to join the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, later the Women's Army Corps (WAC). A tough basic-training course in which she underwent most of the same hardships as the men, including long marches and latrine duty, strengthened her for future experiences. When the opportunity arose during the blitz and buzz-bomb days, Porter volunteered to go overseas. She and thirty-nine other WACs, along with thousands of male soldiers, crossed the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary in February 1944. Stationed in London, Porter served as a cryptographic technician during the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe, and Air Offensive Europe. Soon after the battle of the Bulge began, she was sent to Belgium, where she continued to work in cryptographics near - and once, accidently, across - the front lines of combat. As Grace Porter Miller demonstrates in Call of Duty, being in the WAC during World War II afforded her many thrilling experiences. She encountered fascinating people, traveled throughout the United States and Europe, and participated in a dramatic chapter of history. But the price she paid to serve her country was high. Like many other military women, she endured prejudice and harassment, witnessed the vast suffering of European refugees, withstood the constant threat of danger, and long after returning home suffered from serious health problems and nightmares. Despite their outstanding qualifications and record of service, the "girls" of World War II continued to be treated like"second-class soldiers" after the war. Now, fifty years later, one of their number urges us to recognize the sacrifices and contributions these unsung heroes made for our country.
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About the Author

After the war, Grace Porter Miller taught Navajo children in New Mexico, worked as an extension agent on the Fort Belknap reservation in northern Montana, and served as an editor for the Havre Daily News. A widow, she lives in Prescott, Arizona, near several of her children.

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