Lady G I: A Woman's War in the South Pacific the Memoir of Irene Brion

Irene Brion, Author
Irene Brion, Author Presidio Press $18.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-89141-633-3
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-0-7838-8409-7
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In 1943, a chance encounter with a military recruiter prompted Brion, then a 23-year-old teacher living in Rochester, to join the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Brion attended the requisite training courses, and then, as a newly minted cryptanalyst, was shipped off to the South Pacific to help decipher Japanese code. When the war ended, this ""lady GI"" returned to civilian life and a career in teaching. Brion's memoir of her short time in service will no doubt both fascinate and frustrate armchair military historians, especially those interested in the role of women in the armed forces. Rich in anecdote, the work offers the clear-eyed glimpses of military life and procedure that only an eyewitness can provide. The details of how Brion and her fellow cryptanalysts picked holes in Japanese code are stark reminders of the painstaking slog-work that went into this vital task. Elsewhere, relations between the sexes in the service are related with spirited humor. In one instance, a small plane circles over three sunbathing women and drops two weights that land at the women's feet. The weights are attached to notes requesting dates for the following Sunday. But the plethora of delightful anecdotes rarely venture beyond the incidents themselves, and we're left wondering why Brion, who writes of her disorientation upon returning to civilian life, didn't remain with the army. 36 b&w photos. (Nov.)
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