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Artifact Friday: American Red Cross Uniform

Today’s featured artifact is a uniform set from the American Red Cross.

Pictured is a World War Two-era Smith-Gray dress uniform.

The patch on the left arm indicates this individual was in the “Military Welfare Service.”

This was a broad definition of many jobs the lady who wore this uniform could have done. Typically, if one were in a dress uniform like the one pictured, the individual would work in administrative services, especially helping with communication between the soldier and his family.

However, the Military Welfare Service or Naval Welfare Service did several jobs including nursing; driving; delivering medical supplies (such as plasma); managing rest homes for combat-fatigued soldiers; managing weekly recreational halls; and even passing out donuts and coffee.

Much of the time, these courageous people were the last smiling faces a service member would see before combat.

One of the most fascinating things that these Red Cross workers did during that time was provide help to war brides.

After the war, foreign war brides would come to the United States with their children. So, to help them merge into a different lifestyle, the Red Cross organized classes including how to shop (price comparison, value, weight, etc.), American homemaking, and even nutrition.

For someone new to America, these classes would have been extremely helpful.

In conclusion, the search for the story of the person who wore this uniform continues, but we do know that she was a key part of the war effort as all Red Cross volunteers were during the Second World War.

Today, the American Red Cross still provides much-needed aid to our military at home and across the world.

It is a living legacy.

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