NPR

'The Hello Girls' Chronicles The Women Who Fought For America — And For Recognition

A book published today, the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I, tells the story of "America's First Women Soldiers" who served as switchboard operators in the field.
Six members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps preparing to ship off for France in 1918, where they and 217 other women served as switchboard operators. Source: Harvard University Press

During World War I, some 223 members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps performed a highly specialized service which demanded great skill, nerve and tenacity: Over the vast network of telephone lines that had been hastily constructed across France, these soldiers worked the complicated switchboards connecting the ever-shifting front lines with vital supply depots and military command. At the height of the fighting, they connected over 150,000 calls per day.

They had been specifically recruited for

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