Seoul, South Korea, November 1959: Col. Hyun Sook Kim, director of the Korean army’s Women’s Army Corps, helps Lt. Col. Anne E. Sweeney, the deputy director of the Women’s Army Corps, dress into a hanbok. Kim gifted the traditional Korean dress to Sweeney at the end of the latter’s tour of Japanese and Korean WAC installations.
During the tour, Sweeney said women were making inroads on men’s jobs in the Army. “We are planning,” she said, “to experiment with women in electronics maintenance and to move them into new fields as soon as we can.” Noting that there already was a woman operations officer at one missile site who is qualified to instruct both male and female personnel on rocketry, Sweeney said, “It could very definitely be that women could join men in some of the technical jobs in mixed missile units. They could do the work.”
Kim founded the ROK WACs in July 1950, patterning them after their American counterparts. But unlike their American cousins, the ROK WACs fought on the front lines, pressed into service as snipers and guerilla fighters. Kim saw frontline duty during the Korean War as well along the Busan perimeter and was awarded for fighting the North Korean communists.
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