Carmen Contreras-Bozak was the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Women's Army Corps (WAC) where she served as an interpreter and in numerous administrative positions.
The Women's Army Auxillary Corps (WAAC) was established during World War II on May 15, 1942, "for the purpose of making available to the national defense the knowledge, skill, and special training of the women of the nation." During this period, the Army was looking for bilingual Latina women in fields such as cryptology, communications, and interpretation. In 1942, Contreras joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and was sent to Fort Lee, Virginia for training. Contreras volunteered to be part of the 149th WAAC Post Headquarters Company the first to go overseas, setting sail from New York Harbor for Europe on January 1943. She was the first person of Hispanic heritage and the first of approximately 200 Puerto Rican women who would serve in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.
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