Vet, Volunteer, Army Worker Anna Machuga

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anna Machuga, 87, who served in the Women's Army Corps during World War II and later retired as executive assistant to the commander of the Army Materiel Command, died of pneumonia Feb. 19 at the Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Alexandria. She was a resident of McLean.

Ms. Machuga, a native of New Sheffield, Pa., graduated from the Griffith School in 1938 and worked as a beautician in New Kensington, Pa. In 1942, she enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps to the concern of her parents, who had two sons on active duty overseas. She served in the WAAC for nearly a year and from mid-1943 to 1945 in the successor organization, the Women's Army Corps.

She was trained in the Army as a teletype operator and an information center operator, serving first in WAAC units of Headquarters, Antiaircraft Artillery Command and Eastern Defense Command, and at stations in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Selected for overseas duty, she served for 18 months in the U.S. Army Forces in the western Pacific, at locations in Australia and the Philippines. She achieved the rank of technician fifth grade and received several honors.

After the war, Ms. Machuga began a civil service career as a secretary at the office of the quartermaster general in the Army Department in Washington. She played a key role in implementing a successful program that dealt with the return of deceased World War II personnel, as well as a program for establishing cemeteries overseas and working with next of kin who wanted their relatives buried in overseas cemeteries.

She later transferred to the Army Materiel Command and remained there until retiring in 1974.

Ms. Machuga was fiercely independent, a niece, Peggy Slota, said. "She was a role model to all of us, such a dedicated person," Slota said. "Everything she chose to do was for the good of others."

After retiring, Ms. Machuga served as a Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service deputy representative and continued to volunteer at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington. She accumulated thousands of hours and more than 14 years of volunteer service in support of veteran patients and hospital staff.

Ms. Machuga was an active member of the Northern Virginia Chapter 33 of the Women's Army Corps Veterans Association and a charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Arlington.

She enjoyed traveling and hiking and especially loved the Great Falls area.

Survivors include a sister, Mary Fones of Alexandria; and a brother, Joseph Machuga of New Kensington, Pa.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company