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WAAC member was the poster girl

Being on a recruitment poster brought publicity and fame during World War II.

By Anne Bradley Carnevali, Lakeland, Florida

A member of the WAACI had two brothers in the service during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Navy. I joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in May 1942. We all felt we were doing our part for the war effort.

My basic training took place at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. I was promoted to corporal after basic and sent to Daytona Beach, where I was eventually made a drill sergeant.

Early in 1943, we set sail for places unknown, leaving from Staten Island, New York. I was calling my company to board ship when an Associated Press photographer snapped my picture.

He sent my photo to the War Department, and it was chosen to be on the WAAC recruitment poster. The WAAC was changed to the WAC, Women’s Army Corp, later in 1943.

Our destination turned out to be North Africa. There were 90 of us young women, assigned to various jobs in many departments. We lived in a convent in El Biar, a suburb of Algeria.

Being on the recruitment poster brought me some notoriety. During my time in the service, I met General Omar Bradley and Miss Pearl Mesta, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, and had a few lovely lunches with Ernie Pyle, the famous war correspondent.

I also met my future husband while in the service. Calvary Lt. Santi Carnevali and I met in April 1943 and were married in August.

Not long after our honeymoon, I contracted malaria and came home to the States. I spent several weeks in the Halloran Hospital on Long Island, New York, until my discharge on Aug. 31, 1943.

Editor’s Note: About Anne, Ernie Pyle wrote, “The most soldierly of all the WACs I’ve seen is Anne Bradley of Philadelphia. Furthermore, she is so good-looking it makes you hurt.

In addition, she has a personality that breaks you down without resistance. And to top off the indignity of one small person having all those blessings, she’s got brains as well.”

But Anne didn’t need Ernie Pyle or even that poster to help her career in the WAC. She was competent enough on her own. Anne was one of three WAC sergeants selected to lead the women in a parade in North Africa, the first time American women soldiers paraded on foreign soil.

In addition, Anne was promoted to staff leader, the equivalent of staff sergeant, which made her the second highest-ranking non-commissioned WAAC in Africa.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Berstler May 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

She’s still so good-looking it makes you hurt.

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Peter Kushkowski May 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Re: “I also met my future husband while in the service. Calvary Lt. Santi Carnevali and I met in April 1943 and were married in August.”

I think Anne Bradley Carnevali meant to refer to her future (and eventual) husband as Cavalry Lt. Santi Carnevali

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Ann Lombardino August 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

We have a photograph of our Aunt Marylou who was also a poster girl for the WACs. Her last name was Ferguson, however she may have been married and if so her last name would have been Rambin. Does anyone have any information on where we can find a copy of her on this poster?

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Sherie Litteral October 12, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Sounds like you had a very exciting life and should be proud of yourself.

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pattycakes June 12, 2013 at 3:59 am

great story and still a beautiful woman thanks for sharing :)

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