In 1943 artist Francis V. Kughler, Hudson River Museum Director H. Armour Smith and Women’s Army Corps recruiter Joanne Coates conceived a plan to encourage women of Yonkers to enlist in the army and honor their contribution. Every Yonkers woman who joined the WACs would have her portrait made in oil or pastel by Kughler.
The age requirement for WACs was 21 to 45, and Yonkers recruits represented the full range of those years. Marie O’Buck was only 20, but women that young could join with their parents’ permission. Sworn in to the WAC on her birthday, she said, “I’m happy to be a member of the Army, because I think that that is where I can do the best for the good of the war effort.” She had family members serving: Joseph O’Buck, her brother, was stationed at Pearl Harbor, and her aunt, Julie Topolosky, was also a WAC.
Before enlisting, Marie O’Buck took an aeronautical program at the vocational high school in Yonkers, to prepare her for home-front factory work, and she worked at Eastern Aircrafts in Tarrytown.