Colonel Mary A. Hallaren
United States Army, Retired 3rd Director, Women's Army Corps
Colonel Mary A. Hallaren was born in 1907 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Colonel Hallaren attended Lowell State Teachers College and Boston University. She taught school for 15 years in Massachusetts, spending her three-month summer vacation hiking around the world. Over the years, she literally walked across the United States, Canada, South America, the Near East, Far East and Europe. On one such walking tour she crossed the Andes on foot. She has lectured on her many travel experiences and has written several articles on the customs and traditions of the countries she has visited.
At the outbreak of WWII, Colonel Hallaren was one of the first women volunteers to be selected for Officer Candidate School in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). After graduation in August 1942, she was appointed first Executive Officer and later Commanding Officer of the 1st WAAC Separate Battalion. After the unit went through extensive training for overseas duty, and less than one year later, Colonel (then Captain) Hallaren, led the first battalion of women to the European Theater of Operations.
In 1944, as the numbers of WACs increased in Europe, Colonel Hallaren was appointed as the WAC Staff Director for the European Theatre of Operations. In that position, she was in charge of 9,000 WACs in England, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium. She returned to the States in June 1946, and was appointed Deputy Director, Women's Army Corps, and in May 1947 assumed the duties as the 3rd Director, Women's Army Corps.
Colonel Hallaren retired from the Army in 1960. Some of her awards and decorations include: *Legion of Merit (2 Oak Leaf Clusters) *Bronze Star *Army Commendation Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster) *Croix de Guerre (French) and *Legion of Honor (French).
Since her retirement in 1960, Colonel Hallaren lectures at colleges and universities. She also serves on several boards and continues her world-wide travels.
One of the most beloved members of the Women's Army Corps, Colonel Hallaren is affectionately known as the "Little Colonel" . . . and while she stands only 4' 10", she is a giant among both military and civilian leaders, and today continues to be a champion for unlimited opportunities for military women.
Women's International Center proudly salutes Colonel Hallaren by presenting her with the 1998 Living Legacy Patriot Award. What a woman!
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