| This is laid in the years of World War II, when female soldiers first
began to enter the American Army in numbers. It involves a training march
through open country, with a small detachment of women surrounded by male
soldiers, and their tough female sergeant, determined to show her charges
as both rugged and proper. No real sex, just a bit of "hold it" and some
wetting in a military situation, and on a somewhat mass basis. F, w/s
The time was the mid-1940's; the war in both Europe and the Far East was
in full swing. America's military was growing daily, and women in uniform,
once a novelty, were in increasing numbers.
Sergeant Dorothy Showalter had the army in her blood. The of a
career army officer, she had grown up on military posts, familiar with the
military life and ritual, and strangely drawn to it. As a girl, the only
women she had seen in uniform were a few army nurses, and she had barely
hoped to one day proudly wear her own uniform. In 1942, with the formation
of the Women's Army Corps, her chance had come, and she had signed up when
the first call for recruits went out. Now, at 41, with a husband in Europe
awaiting the long-expected invasion of the continent, and a with
the marines in the Far East, she found herself wearing the stripes of a
First Sergeant, leading WAC recruits through their early training.
She had charge of a platoon of some forty women, most of them much
younger than herself, many fresh from high school or college, and eager for
the adventure of military service. "Dot", as she was known to her friends,
had the task of turning these raw recruits into something resembling
soldiers. Later they would go to army technical schools where they would
learn to become truck drivers, mechanics, radio operators, or one of many
other military specialities; but, to Dot, they were raw material to be
molded, however harshly, into the tough elements of which victorious armies
She answered her summons to the CO's office with military crispness, but
was soon put at ease by her commander, Capt. Mary McCaulley. "Dot", she
began, in friendly manner, "for tomorrow, your platoon has been chosen to
participate in a training exercise which will involve a 24 hour forced
march through the west country, about 32 miles total. Two battalions of
male soldiers will comprise the bulk of the exercise, but we have been
asked to assign a platoon of women to participate. As you know, women are
being sent into the overseas theatres in increasing numbers, and are going
to be close to combat situations. Frankly, General Early is interested in
how women will stand up to rigorous field conditions, and it is up to us to
give him a good demonstration. I have selected your platoon because I know
you can show him what a group of tough women can do. I will be going
along, but I'm to be assigned to the colonel's staff, so the troops will be
in your care. The march will begin at 0300 hours, and I will show you the
route on the map. Your group will be trucked to the starting point, so
have them lined up, with packs and field equipment, including a day's
rations, at 0230. There will be a few short rest breaks, and one longer
break at the Signal Corps station, but they won't do much sleeping. The
trucks will pick them up at 0330 the following morning for return to the
The Captain went over the map and logistical arrangements. Dot absorbed
her orders attentively. Mary gave her one final admonition. "Dot, you
know there will be hundreds of and a lot of officers looking at your
platoon. They will be looking for any signs of fragility, or what they
will consider 'female weakness'. I expect that they will see none. Got
it?" "Got it. Affirmative," Dot responded. She shook hands with her CO,
then departed with a crisp salute.
Dot assembled her charges for their orders. Having them fall out beside
their barracks, she gave them a quick inspection, making certain that no
one was found without a flaw. There were thirty eight women, with four
more on sick call. Dot gave them no rest. "All right, you creeps!" she
began, "We've pounded soldiering into your heads. You've been read the
Articles of War and you'd better know your General Orders! Tonight you'll
do some pounding with your feet! You're to fall out here at 0200 - that's
right, 0200! Fatigues, packs, full canteens, and you'll be issued field
rations. What you need you carry, and what you take out, you bring back!
You're going to march thirty odd miles over rough country, so don't tell me
your feet hurt! Field shoes and extra socks! And if any of you have
monthly problems, carry your supplies with you, and bring back the stuff
you take off - I'd better never hear that some male soldier had to pick up
some smelly used pad that a female left on the landscape! I'm supposed to
make soldiers out of the crummy stuff they send here, so you're going to
act like soldiers? Got it?"
Dot barked her instructions in a twenty minute tirade to the assembled
recruits, took no questions, and finally dismissed them to the mess hall,
afterwards to clean the barracks, police their area, and soundly sleep
until awakened at one thirty in the morning.
The following day, Dot assembled her charges at two A.M., led them
through twenty minutes of calisthenics, inspected their dress and
equipment, berated them thoroughly over every offense she could imagine
they might have committed, and marched them to the waiting trucks. At
2:30, three truckloads of tired, sleepy women were being hauled to the
assembly point. Each wore the regulation army olive drab fatigues, pants
and jacket, with heavy field shoes over socks. Each carried her
pack, canteen, and side arms.
Three A.M. They climbed out of the trucks at the assembly point. Capt.
McCaulley met them, gave them a quick word of encouragement, then
introduced Dot to an officer at her side. "Major Ervin, this is Sgt.
Dorothy Showalter. She will be in charge of the WAC platoon." Turning to
Dot, she added, "I will be with the command post - Major Ervin will be your
commander for the march. I know you will give him a good show!"
Major Ervin was, at the moment, less than impressed. He quickly
informed Dot of his expectations. "Sgt. Showalter, this is a military
training exercise. Your group is just like the rest of us. You have been
assigned a central position in the line of march - you won't have to lead,
so you won't go astray; and if you leave any stragglers, the troops in the
rear will herd them back to you. I expect no more - and no less - of your
women than of any other soldiers. You are expected to keep up, and no
concessions. You get the same rest stops as the men. I want to warn you
that you have about forty women here among nine hundred men. I expect
discipline. I want no unnecessary fraternization. We're not here for fun.
I expect your women to hold their own, and I don't expect them to distract
the or look for any special favors. Particularly, I expect them to
stay in uniform and make no displays of themselves. Is that clear?"
Indeed it was, and Dot repeated the orders, with appropriate emphasis to
her 38 recruits. Loudly she commanded them to fall in, and they took up
their positions in the pre-dawn darkness.
The column began its movement across the countryside after an
appropriate waiting period. At first they marched briskly in cadence, but
gradually the formality subsided and they slogged along, but at a quick
pace. The stride was set by the men, and some of the women were pushed to
keep up. At the first sign of a whimper, Dot passed by the ranks of her
troops. "You are soldiers - soldiers, do you hear me? Miserable, poor,
inept, and uncouth excuses for soldiers, but still soldiers! Hear me! I
don't want to hear a cry, a whimper, a complaint! I don't want to hear
that anyone's nose runs or that your butt itches! I don't want to hear
your feet hurt, or that anything else hurts! Every one of you is going to
act like you can do this as well as any in this army; and the first one
I see with tears, or crying or complaining, will spend the next few weeks
of her army life scrubbing latrines!" Dot had learned well the manner of
the drill sergeant. Not a sign of female weakness would escape her eye, or
Dawn broke, and with rising of the sun, the summer heat would soon
become apparent. A little after six, word was passed down the column to
allow a ten minute break. Dot ordered her group to fall out, and they
began to break ranks and wearily take seats on the ground. were in
front of them, and behind, in fact, all around. Dot allowed a few words of
greeting, but beyond that, she saw that the male soldiers kept their
distance. She did notice many of the slipping back a short distance
from the column, obviously to relieve themselves, and several did so with
their backs to the women. Dot wished they were a bit more modest about
this, but the country was largely barren, and there was little cover. She
started wondering about her own troops. After all, they had been up now
five hours, and for at least four hours she knew none of them had had a
bathroom break. Her attention was drawn to this situation when one of her
soldiers cautiously approached her, asking "Sergeant, can we go the
bathroom -I mean, some of us would like to pee!" Dot really couldn't figure
out how to handle this - there was no place of privacy, were all over.
She had been warned to keep her women "in uniform" and not to distract male
soldiers or ask for special treatment. If she asked the nearby to turn
their backs, or move away, she would be accused of demanding special
treatment - after all, no one had asked the women to look away when were answering nature's call nearby. However, if she just let the women
drop their pants and squat, surely someone would complain of the women's
immodesty or find that in relieving themselves, they were a distraction to
the men. Dot's job right now was to prove women were tough. She would.
She would also hope for a bit more seclusion at the next rest stop.
Abruptly, Dot gave her answer. "No. Right now you wait. I'll tell you
when you can pee. Until then you hold it!" Dot hardly had to repeat the
answer. Most heard it, for she made it loud and clear. Women were tough.
They would hold it. To herself, Dot hoped it wouldn't be for too long.
The march resumed. An hour or so later, they were allowed a short break
for breakfast - such as it was, from their field rations. It was getting
warmer, Dot noted. Also, there was no shelter, yet. The "no pee" edict
remained in force. Although several women asked if they could somehow
relieve themselves, there was no open rebellion, no vocal complaint. For
the moment, they were compliant.
A new problem was arising. Dot noticed the women were reluctant to
drink; many were not opening their canteens, and it was getting warm. Soon
it would be hot. They were marching, sweating, and they would be getting
dehydrated. One thing she didn't need was a bunch of women suffering from
heat exhaustion, maybe even passing out. This was not going to demonstrate
that women were tough soldiers. She gave an order to her group, "All of
you! You've got to get water in yourselves, or the heat's going to affect
you! I want every one of you to drain at least half of her canteen right
now! You can refill from the water bags on the truck later! Drink up!
NOW!" Her command was in earnest. The women complied, looking nervously at
each other. They couldn't pee, and now they were being ordered to fill up
on water. Things were going to get worse.
The day went on, the column still moving at a fast pace. The women were
tiring, and many were getting quite uncomfortable. Dot knew she was
receiving urgent signals from her own bladder demanding relief, and she
hadn't found the solution. About half past ten, the women had gone over
eight hours without urinating, she reflected. Something would have to
give, and something did. She gaped at Ellen, marching in an outside
position in the third rank. A dark spot was spreading in her fatigues, and
her pants were dripping. Dot grabbed her, demanding "What are you doing?"
"I'm sorry, Sergeant," she replied, "I just couldn't hold it any longer - I
"You're a soldier" snarled Dot to the almost tearful girl. "Stop it!
Now! I told you you can when you get permission - not before!" Quickly
Dot pushed her to an inside position, moving another woman to the outside
rank. Then she took the girl's canteen from her, and inspected it. It was
full - she hadn't been drinking much. "Drink it - all of it - NOW!" Dot
noisily commanded, so all the others could hear her. The continued to
march in place, while chugging down the contents of her canteen. When at
length she emptied it, Dot handed her own canteen to the girl, and
commanded, "Drink this, too - all of it!" The girl, fearful, finished what
was left in Dot's canteen. Now, with a stomach sloshing with water, she
looked tearfully at her sergeant. Dot called to the whole group, "You see
what she got? Fortunately for her, with the hot sun, her pants will dry
out in a while. Now she's got enough water in her to give her a bigger
problem than she had before! When I say hold it, I mean hold it! You'll
be told when you can relieve yourselves, and don't try doing it until
Another twenty minutes and Dot spotted her second casualty. Marge, in
the rear rank, was trying to conceal what was obviously a leak into her
pants. While she appeared not to lose as much as Ellen, she was clearly
out of control. Again Dot scolded her severely, moved her position to a
less conspicuous location in an inside rank, and commanded her to fill
herself from her canteen.
The truck with water bags was not far away, and Dot saw that all of the
canteens were refilled. Again, at a rest stop, she ordered the women to
drink deeply of the water. She had to keep them from being dried out and
subject to heat stroke, even if they got painful bladder problems. Her own
bladder was beginning to hurt, having passed to stage of just discomfort.
She knew she couldn't bully the women into holding themselves much longer,
and she was trying to think of an acceptable solution, when another
emergency became apparent.
She got a quick look at Julie, as she moved up slightly from her rest
stop. On her pants could be seen a very noticeable spot. Dot called
her to account, and in her most brusque manner, demanded an explanation.
Julie tried to answer softly, greatly embarrassed. " It's my period - I
need to change my pad, but there's been no chance - I didn't mean to make
such a mess, but - what can I do?"
Dot quickly had three other women stand around Julie. She was ordered
to loosen her fatigue pants just enough to allow her to reach inside and
try to do the changes. Much embarrassed, but with the help of two others,
she managed a change. The spot was still much in evidence.
Dot looked at her in apparent disgust. "You'd better wash those pants
out right now! The pants will dry, but you need to wash out that color.
The look incredulous. "Wash it? With what? I 've nothing to
"You've got a load of it to use! Pee! Now! In the pants! And don't
tell me you don't have a full bladder - everyone here does!"
The command was incredible to the others, but Julie complied. Her pants
were saturated. The spot didn't disappear, but it faded considerably
as it washed all over the remainder of her fatigues. A nearby voice
called, "Can I do it, too, please?" The plea was met with a thundering "No"
Dot knew she was in deep trouble, and she was on the verge of just
ordering the women to wet their pants, realizing this would surely make
them he laughing stock of the army. As the march resumed, Dot could see
the signal station ahead - the intended site of a longer rest stop. A plan
was emerging, if she could just force the women to wait a bit longer. She
knew what trouble they were in, for her own bladder was stretched to almost
unbearable limits. It felt as though the bottom of her stomach had a huge
swollen spot with an increasingly severe ache. She secretly admired her
women for being able to torture themselves this far.
Another three quarters of an hour saw them arrive the signal station.
It wasn't much, but it served as a landmark. It had several antennas, a
small wooden building for communications equipment, and behind it a small
barracks building for the small detachment of soldiers assigned here, with
a wooden building housing a latrine next to it.
The several hundred stayed well away from the station, since they
had no real business there and it served only as a landmark for the march
route. As she had noticed before, the found other places to relieve
themselves, in fact virtually anywhere along the route of the column. "If
only to be a man", Dot thought, realizing what problems women had with what
men considered a simple bodily function, easily done almost anywhere
outside. "Well, easily done if only in male company", she thought.
It was arranged that the troops be given a one hour rest break here.
The column broke up, as units decomposed into bodies of sitting and
standing along the route of march. Dot was not so easy on her group. "At
ease!" she commanded, "For the moment!", and left her thirty eight women
standing in agonized discomfort as she walked a few steps to the station.
Quickly she approached a sergeant apparently on duty, and loudly inquired,
"Have you got a really dirty, smelly latrine here that needs a good GI
treatment? Because I've got a bunch of lazy scrubwomen who think the army
is place for fun and games, and need a good dose of cleaning while
the others rest up! Can you help me?" The sergeant smiled. Not before had
he the offer of a female crew to house clean anything in his area. He
gestured toward the wooden building housing the small latrine. "Feel free!
They'll find scrub tools inside the door!" He stood back to watch the fun.
Dot returned to her platoon, standing with grimaced faces and squirming
bodies. She drew herself up in front of the fatigue-uniformed women,
knowing quite well that under each of 38 sets of fatigue pants was an
extremely full female bladder.
After addressing her charges with appropriate expletives, loud enough to
be heard by many of the in the area, and rich enough in invective to be
worthy of the proverbial drunken sailor, she instructed them, "while the
rest of the soldiers here get a short rest, you bunch of no-good lazies
will have the privilege of scrubbing out the local latrine, as a gesture of
thanks to the local inhabitants who have been blessed with the dubious
pleasure of your company! You will proceed to that building, one rank at a
time, and take turns cleaning the place until the floor shines and
everything therein is bright enough to reflect your disgusting faces!
The first rank of women headed for the building, picking up buckets,
scrub brushes, and cleaning rags they found inside the door.
"MOVE" loudly commanded Dot, as the first group entered the building and
set to work. The little building was small, just one room, in which were
two toilets, two urinals, two sinks, and a shower stall with two shower
heads and a drain in the floor. There were no partitions - everything was
in the open, true military style. Loud with authority she directed the
handing out of cleaning items as the first rank went to work. Then, in a
low voice, to the women as they entered, she added "and while you're
scrubbing the place you've got a private latrine to accommodate your
personal needs, and I suggest you be about it!"
She returned to the remaining ranks outside, and began loudly reciting
their numerous flaws and offenses. As she stepped aside momentarily, she
encountered the station's sergeant. "Sarge," he began, "I don't know that
I'm yet in favor of women in the army, but I hand it to you - you know how
to treat recruits! Where did you learn?" "Growing up as an army brat!" Dot
returned with a scowl, trying to cover up her own internal torture as her
bladder expanded to its very limits.
Dot entered the latrine, hoping she could soon withdraw the first rank
and send in the second. The scene that greeted her was almost insane with
chaos; both toilets were occupied, with a second woman standing by each in
obvious distress. Four women were squatting in the shower stall, pouring
out forceful steams near the drain, while two stood at the urinals, male
style, their pants and underclothes off, as they tried to maneuver
themselves in position to use the fixtures. Three more were on hands and
knees, scrubbing the floor and pipes. The soldier positioned on the first
toilet was noisily crooning, "Oh, paradise is when you've had to for
hours and finally they let you!"
Shaking her head, Dot quickly moved the women to cleaning work as they
relieved themselves, then sent several out to bring in the next rank.
The procedure continued, amid loud clanging of buckets, dumping of
water, and much evidence of activity as women went back and forth through
the door. At one point, Dot unfastened her own pants as she went into the
shower, squatted with the others while she emptied her bladder onto the
floor, now awash with female gradually running down the drain.
Half an hour after they had started, the women were relieved and the
latrine was gleaming from the work of many hands. Approvingly, Dot
inspected the results and recalled her charges to the positions in the
column of march.
Loudly, she again scolded them for their poor performance, but the
smiles on their faces belied her sincerity. The women, refreshed and much
relieved, were ready to resume.
The afternoon was extremely hot, and Dot knew she wouldn't easily find
another place like to station to relieve her group. Nonetheless, she
insisted that they partake heavily of water to fend off heat stroke. They
trudged along, their spirits lifted with confidence in their leader.
Dot was hoping they could last until dark before another bathroom break.
The women were sweating profusely in the heat and with their continued
exertion. In mid-afternoon they experienced a moment of triumph when they
saw a male soldier fall out of ranks and collapse in exhaustion. At least
it wasn't a woman who was the first to fall!
As dusk settled, the women had been six hours without a bathroom break,
longer, Dot noted, than most of the around them who were seen to be
taking opportunities to relieve themselves whenever there was a rest stop.
Dot was feeling fullness in her own bladder, but nothing like what she had
forced herself to endure in the morning.
"Sarge, when can we again?" one of her women asked her, now showing
obvious anxiety. Rather than bully them with her rough mannerisms, she
answered quietly, "when it's dark enough - it won't be much longer!"
Dark fell, but there were no rest stops soon. In the darkness, with
cooler temperatures, soldiers were expected to last longer, and the pace
was kept up. Around eight o 'clock word was passed to break for half an
hour, and allow the troops to break out rations. No lights, it was noted,
could be allowed. They were to stay in blacked-out condition, no smoking,
no fires, no lights. There was little moon, and it was difficult to see
beyond one's closest neighbor.
As they halted, Dot loudly commanded them to fall out, but remain within
touch of each other. Then, much more quietly, she instructed them, "The
area within our perimeter is your latrine - use it, and keep yourselves
dry. The holding time is over, for now." Grateful soldiers did as
The night was long, and they were exhausted. They were allowed a two
hour break, to sleep if they could, before resuming the final stage at
about one in the morning. At long last, they were able to meet the trucks
at their terminal point, and the tired and dirty soldiers climbed into the
trucks for the ride back to their barracks.
Dot had not seen Capt. McCaulley since the march began. She began to
wonder what had become of her. Finally she spotted her Captain as the
trucks unloaded. Mary McCaulley summoned her for a report. At some
length, Dot recited the events of the day. The captain seemed pleased. "I
don't think there should be any real complaints about our women soldiers.
I'll be interested in hearing what the male officers have to say, later."
About to depart, Dot hesitated. "Captain, could I ask you one very
personal question?" "Of course," Mary replied.
"Well, Captain, you were with the headquarters group - all men, except
yourself, as I understand."
"Right, Dot. Your Captain and a dozen or so men."
"Just for my future guidance, Captain, would you tell me - how did you,
er, handle the bathroom problem?"
Mary laughed. "Dot, when I first saw the starting to step off to
the side to, well, we all knew it was to pee, they would often excuse
themselves with some remark, like 'I need to take a leak' and I tried to
ignore them. Usually they turned their backs to me, and they weren't
trying to offend me. None of them made any suggestion as to what I should
do; and I kept hoping there might be a tree or somewhere sheltered to which
I could excuse myself; but, as you know, the country was pretty bare. By
the time I saw taking their relief the second or third time, my bladder
was hurting so bad that I didn't care who was watching or what they
thought. So when one Major stepped aside after giving some remark to excuse
himself, I simply said to him, 'I need to, too - I'll join you' and I did.
I just squatted down beside him when he got ready, and I think I shot out
the biggest stream I've ever done in my life. He just stared at me, but I
"Weren't you considered a 'distraction' to the men?"
"No one said I was! I'm supposed to be an officer and a lady - but just
then it was a lot more of being an officer and a woman! I may not have
been a lady, but I felt a lot better!"
"Captain, you will be glad to know that the members of my platoon were
soldiers AND ladies!" Dot responded, reflecting to herself that they would
probably have much preferred to have acted as the Captain had.