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Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service

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    The WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) program was created in August 1942 in response to the need for additional military personnel during World War II.

 

    From the very beginning, the WAVES were an official part of the Navy, and its members held the same rank and ratings as male personnel. They also received the same pay and were subject to military discipline. WAVES could not serve aboard combat ships or aircraft, and initially were restricted to duty in the continental United States.

 

    Late in World War II, WAVES were authorized to serve in certain overseas U.S. possessions, and a number were sent to Hawaii. At the end of WWII, there were well over 8,000 female officers and some ten times that many enlisted WAVES, about 2-1/2 percent of the Navy's total strength.

 

    In some places WAVES constituted a majority of the uniformed Naval personnel. And many remained in uniform to help get the Navy into, and through, the post-war era.

 

Ref:  Women of World War II

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