World War II was a so-called "total war," one in which the United States fought for its very existence. As part of the war effort, millions of people took up jobs that shifted momentum from the Axis to the Allies. How much do you know about these WWII jobs?
True or false: Was "Pigeoneer" an actual job title in the Army during WWII?
True. Thousands of Allied soldiers were trained to send messages via pigeons … and it worked. By some estimates, the bird-based communication was about 90% effective. Legend has it that the birds were also trained to poo directly onto Nazi helmets.
What was the purpose of the Smoke Generator Operator?
The Smoke Generator Operators analyzed weather forecasts and planned massive smoke screens. These smokescreens helped hide Allied movements from the enemy.
Balloon crewmen worked for which aspect of Allied operations?
U.S. balloon crewmen were responsible for maintaining and inflating hot air balloons used for intelligence purposes. They did all of the grunt work and safety checks that made sure the balloons worked properly.
What was the job of a WWII bombardier?
Bombardiers were the people who aimed bombs dropped from planes. It was one of the most important jobs in the Air Force.
True or false: Was "playwright" a U.S. Army job title during WWII?
A few people were hired as playwrights during the war. Some, like famed comic book creature Stan Lee, went on to fabulous careers once the war was over.
What was the purpose of playwrights during the war?
The playwright job description indicates that these folks were meant to create scripts for educating military personnel regarding important matters. Novelist William Saroyan was one such employee.
What was one job performed by members of the Women's Army Corps?
The Women's Army Corp performed vital jobs like rifle repair. In doing so, they ensured that Allied soldiers had enough weapons to fight the Axis.
What was the purpose of WWII combat dog handlers?
U.S. combat dog handlers trained countless dogs that served in the war. The dogs were trained to detect hazards and enemies so that Allied troops would be safer as they advanced across a battlefield.
Why was the job of combat dog handler one of the most dangerous of the war?
Combat dog handlers took their animals to the very edges of the front lines. There, they were exposed to every possible war hazard, from mines to bullets, to bayonets.
What was the purpose of employees who worked for the Aircraft Warning Service?
The Aircraft Warning Service was a civilian program meant to detect any enemy aircraft heading into American airspace. The service was deactivated in the spring of 1944.
Why was the "Crystal Grinder" job title so important during the war?
Crystal Grinders did the precision work of grinding quartz crystals for radios. These radios, of course, made WWII communications much easier.
The Decontaminating Equipment Operator was important following what type of event?
The Decontaminating Equipment Operator used a portable sprayer to hose down anyone and anything that was affected in a chemical attack. They wore gas masks and understood the chemicals they were working with.
How did Army artists change the course of major battles?
Artists were incredibly important in the matter of deception. They created decoy structures and vehicles to distract the enemy … and they made large camouflaged items that hid troops and equipment from prying eyes.
What did Intercept Operators do?
The Intercept Operators were intelligence-related employees. They intercepted enemy communications and monitored radio traffic for information that often turned the tide of battle.
During WWII, who were the WASPs?
The United States started the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program, and during the course of the war, many women flew military aircraft. Dozens were killed during their missions.
True or false: Were WASP pilots considered members of the military?
Although female WASP pilots risked their lives for their country, they weren't considered part of the military. They were regarded as civilian employees and received no military benefits or honors.
Which Army employees had the job of hiding the true landing area of Allied troops on D-Day?
Artists built massive dummy vehicles and tanks to mimic the buildup of forces … far, far away from the real forces in southern England. The plan effectively prevented the Germans from predicting the D-Day attack point.
What did the Coxswain, Mine Yawl do?
The Coxswain, Mine Yawl job description indicated a deadly task. It meant these soldiers planted underwater mines to protect coastal areas from enemy ships.
What did Allied balloon riggers do?
With steel cables attached to the ground or vehicles, the Allies tethered many thousands of large balloons in big groups. These balloons were meant to deter low-flying Axis planes.
The Remote Control Turret Repairman was vital for which branch of the military?
Some Air Force bombers were equipped with remote control gun turrets. It was the job of the Remote Control Turret Repairman to make sure these weapons were up to snuff.
The Russian army strapped explosives to dogs during the war for what purpose?
The Russians trained explosives-loaded dogs to approach German tanks. This tactic meant fewer Fidos … but increased Russians' survival odds.
What did Allied "Pioneers" do?
Allied Pioneers were the engineering guys who cleared the way for the troops who followed. They moved obstructions and made temporary repairs to roadways.
True or false: Was the Women’s Army Corps considered an actual part of the army?
At first, the Women’s Army Corps wasn't part of the "real" army. But later, it was upgraded to full military status. These women filled countless positions that helped turn the tide of the war.
What was the purpose of Ammunition Renovators?
Ammunition Renovators handled various aspects of ammunition, from inspection to disposal. They could also repair broken ammunition.
How did some military band members wind up dying during the war?
Military band members don't typically get caught in the fighting. But at desperate fights like the Battle of the Bulge, the band members laid down their instruments and picked up guns … and died fighting.
What was the purpose of the Radiosonde Operator?
The Radiosonde Operator was a part of the weather forecasting team. These people used portable devices called radiosondes to monitor environmental conditions and generate weather forecasts.
What was the purpose of the guys with the job title "Sound Recorder, Field Artillery?"
Specially-trained troops used sound recording devices to capture enemy artillery fire. With that data, they could figure out what sort of gun was shooting at them … and also get an idea of where it was located.
The Geodetic Computer was important to which task?
The Geodetic Computer job description made these people indispensable for surveying and topographical mapping. They helped the armed forces plan their movements.
Which job described the people who blew up various objects with explosives?
The Demolition Specialist had (at least at a glance) one of the most awesome jobs of the war -- they got to blow up stuff to hinder the enemy and help the Allies. But their work often placed them in areas with heavy combat.
Link Trainer Instructors were very important to the _____.
Link Trainer Instructors helped pilot trainees operate the Link Trainer, an early flight simulator. They made sure pilots were ready to soar into the skies.
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