The History Of Women In The Navy Dates Back To 1942, When They Were Called The WAVES

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The first video you will see here deals with the history of what during WWII was called the “WAVES.” That term was used for the women’s branch of the United States Navy Reserve. That was the beginning of a new chapter of our U.S. Military history books.

The Navy WAVES were established in 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Public Law 689, allowing women to serve in the various military branches. The original intent at that time was to bring women into the military services to free men up to be assigned to front line MOSs in both the European and Pacific Theaters of WWII. As you will hear, they took up clerical jobs, air traffic control, hospital corpsman positions and the like. 350,000 women responded to this call and became a vital element of the military efforts during WWII.

Source: YouTube/U.S. Navy


After the war, the recognition of the contributions of women in the war effort made it possible for President Harry S. Truman to sign the Women’s Armed Services Act in July 1948. The temporary status and ability of women to serve uniform in all of the military services was replaced by the ability now to serve in all of the branches as full members of each of the services.

Source: YouTube/U.S. Navy


The WAVES were officially disestablished in 1972, and women in the Navy then became officially U.S. Navy sailors like their male counterparts. They still served in similar MOSs as they had before in both enlisted and officer ranks. Today’s women can now serve in almost every single MOS in the military services.

Source: YouTube/U.S. Navy

The second video deals with the modern Navy’s nurse corps. This is not your father’s navy any more. These women and men in the Navy nurse corps are among the best at what they do in the world. These nurses serve on forward deployed aircraft carriers, and shore based facilities as well as on the U.S. Navy’s hospital ships providing the highest levels of medical care for people all over the world.

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These U.S. Navy nurses have training and skills that match or surpass their civilian counterparts. They handle the full scope of medical duties and are able to use the most sophisticated equipment and technologies in some of the most difficult of situations, especially in warfighting environments. Often what they encounter and do is beyond the scope of the average civilian medical environments.

It is a fact that military medicine is often years ahead of the civilian medical community in terms of new medical treatments, trauma care and the use of technological advancements. You will see in this video the variety medical facilities these modern Navy nurses work in and how much pride they take in that work.

Source: YouTube/U.S. Navy

The modern military has integrated women into all elements of its mission. These women have shown their value to the military mission in every sense. They are taking upon themselves the full burden of the defense of this nation and we can be proud of all that they are doing. Their courage, skill, determination, dedication to duty and patriotism has contributed mightily to the quality and effectiveness of our nation’s military missions.

They are an integral part to making our military the best in the world.

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The Veterans Site honors the service of all those women who have served since WWII. We send our deepest thanks to all of the women now serving in every capacity in our U.S. Armed Services. To those who are serving in the United States Navy we say, “Fair Winds and Following Seas.”

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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