Moxie, WACs and the NSA

I love the word “moxie.”

Per my Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, this term came into slangy being sometime in the 1920s-30s, associated with a brand of soda. It means:

1. vigor, verve, pep. 2. courage and aggressiveness; nerve. 3. skill; know-how.

The term came to mind this morning when I read this Omaha World-Herald story, about Mildred Freeouf Brodt‘s career.

She served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, then took a civilian personnel job with occupation staff in Tokyo after the war ended. Alongside fellow military veterans (but few women), she earned a business degree from the University of Nebraska, and “scoffed” when the dean of the business school told her to take typing and shorthand classes to become a secretary because “women don’t get jobs in business.” She worked for the newly-formed National Security Agency for four years before returning to the Midwest to farm and teach school.

Mildred bucked a lot of social norms to pursue a dynamic career. I salute her.

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