Bethesda, then [in 1942] a town of some 20,000 according to ration book registration figures, was probably typical of the Washington suburbs then. Men headed the ration board and the local draft board, but women did almost all the work. Women ran the blood donor programs and the scrap drives, volunteered at both the Navy Medical Center and Suburban Hospital, and took night classes in metal work and machine assembly at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School so they could join the almost entirely-female production corps in Bethesda’s fast-growing war industries, one of which produced the super-secret radio proximity fuse. Long-time storekeeper Walter Perry had often noted that while the men ran Bethesda’s businesses, the women ran everything else.
Read more at “The Bethesda USO” by William M. Offutt on the Montgomery County Historical Society website.