Mary Filler Missbach
Tech Sergeant
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 09/01/1944 - 11/29/1945
Administrative NCO, Armed Forces Western Pacific Headquarters

Born in Holden, West Virginia, Mary graduated from high school and moved to Charleston, the state's capital. There, she worked as an au pair, and took bookkeeping, typing, and shorthand classes. Joining the WAAC (Women's Auxiliary Army Corps) in 1943, she worked in personnel records at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. After passing the OCS (Officer Candidate School) board test, she was given a choice of attending the school or departing in a company that was being formed for overseas duty. (That year, the WAAC was changed to the WAC (Women's Army Corps) and became officially part of the U.S. Army.) Sailing on the Lurline, a former cruise ship, Mary landed at Oro Bay, New Guinea, where she worked as a payroll and personnel records clerk in a gated compound. Women needed permission to leave the compound, and only then with an armed driver. "They tried to tell us it was to protect us from the natives, but we always thought it was to protect us from the GIs, who hadn't seen a white woman for a long time," she recalls, laughing. Mary remained in New Guinea until August of 1945. She was then sent to Manila where she worked at AFWESPAC (Armed Forces Western Pacific) headquarters in the personnel section. In November of 1945 she returned to America on the Lurline, and was discharged with the rank of technical sergeant. In Charleston, she married Lewis Missbach and worked in real estate briefly. After her husband died in 1963, she moved with her son to Hawaii, where she worked at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. She returned to "the mainland" in 1980 and came to Shreveport where other family members lived.