Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Irene Halfman LaFever, who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.
When the U.S. entered World War II in December 1941, the military drafted most available men. On the home front in Lowell, Iowa, Irene Halfman LaFever took on work in a factory where she packed lead arsenic powder to support the war effort. In November 1944, she decided to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). LaFever wanted to see the world and acquire new skills.
After basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, LaFever attended motor transport school. She learned to drive, repair trucks and use the convoy system, in which she drove to and from specific places and escorted other military vehicles. LaFever finished motor transport school in April 1945 and served with the 107th WAC detachment in a military police unit. She later went to Fort Mason and Camp Stoneman —both bases in California.
In October 1946, LaFever served in occupied Japan. Later, in January 1947, LaFever went to the 8225th WAC battalion and worked at the headquarters of the commander of Allied Powers Far East Command in Tokyo. She served for two months as her battalion’s company clerk, overseeing correspondence and preparing documents for administrative purposes. She later promoted to corporal and served as a typist for over a year. In August 1947, she promoted to sergeant and became chief clerk in the office of the Civil Property Custodian. According to a December 1947 article in the Lowell Times, LaFever’s work involved the restitution of war-looted or displaced property to their rightful owners.
LaFever served in Japan for two years before returning to the U.S. She honorably discharged as a sergeant in January 1949, but later decided she wanted to re-enlist and joined the Reserve. LaFever was honorably discharged from the Army Reserve in February 1951. For her service with the WACs, LaFever received a World War II Victory Medal, an American Campaign Medal, an Army of Occupation Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and a meritorious unit award.
After leaving the military, LaFever married Allen LaFever and went on to raise five children. Her service as a WAC inspired one of her nieces to later join the military.
LaFever passed away in May 2014 at the age of 94.
We honor her service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Editor: Katherine Adams and Julia Pack
Fact checker: Carl Wessln
Graphic artist: Kiki Kelley