3. JOURNAL A-Z List

The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project


Search the Collection



Ethel LeBlanc Palma (b. 1919) of Timberton, Louisiana, served as a recruiter and mail censorer while serving with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and the Women's Army Corps (WAC) from 1942 to 1945.


Ethel LeBlanc Palma was born 2 May 1919 in Timberton, Louisiana, to Cajun parents. She was raised in DeQuincy, Louisiana, where her father owned a bottling plant, and graduated from the local high school in 1936. She attended Draughon's Business College in Houston, Texas, for a year, and then went to work at her uncle 's Coca-Cola bottling plant as a bookkeeper for two years. In 1939, Palma moved to New Orleans and worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In December of 1942, Palma joined the WAAC. She was sent the following month to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, for basic training. Palma was trained as a recruiter and briefly stationed at the Second Service Command in New York City before being transferred to Watertown, New York, in February 1943. She achieved the rank of corporal before returning to Fort Des Moines for Officer Training School in the summer of 1943. Palma returned to work as a recruiter in Trenton, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware.

In the spring of 1944, Palma was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, for overseas training. She embarked from San Francisco aboard the West Point in May 1944 and landed two weeks later in Sydney, Australia. A month later, she was sent to Port Moresby, New Guinea, where she censored mail and later worked in a mail sorting unit. Palma was later sent to Biak, an island off the New Guinea coast, to work as a secretary to a general. Then in early 1945, she was stationed in the Philippines, where she returned to mail censoring and sorting duties in Leyte and Manila. In November 1945, Palma returned to the U.S. aboard the converted ferry USS Evangeline, and 2 weeks later married Elwood Palma.

Following her discharge, she was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), serving the Henderson, N.C. Post 7467 as commander. She was also involved in many local civic organizations.

Portrait of Ethel Palma, 1943
Item # WV0022.6.006
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
10th Company, 1st Regiment, 36th Officer Candidate Class, 1943
Item # WV0022.6.007
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
Company 19, 21st WAC Regiment, 1944
Item # WV0022.6.008
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
Oral history interview with Ethel LeBlanc Palma, 1999
Item # WV0022.5.001
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
Ethel Palma seated on USS Evangeline, 1945
Item # WV0022.6.001
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
Ethel Palma and friends aboard the USS Evangeline
Item # WV0022.6.002
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
Ethel Palma in New Guinea, 1944
Item # WV0022.6.003
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
Ethel Palma with her Filipino employees, 1944
Item # WV0022.6.004
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers
WACs in New Guinea, 1944
Item # WV0022.6.005
From the Ethel LeBlanc Palma Papers

Certificate of Service, 1946; Military Memoranda, 1944; Miscellaneous Printed Material, Drawing, ca. 1943-1945; Newspaper Clippings, ca. 1942-1944; WAAC Parody Song Sheets, ca. 1942-1943