Sunday, May 1, 2016

35 Rare and Fascinating Color Photographs of Navy WAVES During World War II

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.

WAVE Specialist (Photographer) 3rd Class saluting, as she stands among the springtime cherry blossoms near the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC, during World War II.

U.S. Naval Training Center, Women's Reserve, The Bronx, New York. Some of the school's trainees march in formation behind their color guard, during World War II.

Navy WAVE trainee leans on a swab while cleaning her barracks, soon after she arrived at a Naval Training Center during World War II.

WAVES on liberty in Honolulu. Yeoman 3rd Class Margaret Jean Fusco photographs three friends by King Kamehameha's statue in Honolulu, circa spring 1945.

WAVES visiting the USS Missouri (BB-63) in an east coast port, during her shakedown period, circa August 1944. They are standing on the main deck at the bow, with the Navy Jack flying behind them.

Naval Training School (Yeoman-W), Milledgeville, Georgia. WAVES students on parade, during a Retreat ceremony at the school, during World War II.

Naval Training School, Yeoman-W, Milledgeville, Georgia. Retreat ceremonies at the WAVE Yeoman school, during World War II.

Naval Training Center, Stillwater, Oklahoma. WAVES march out of Morrill Hall after a class, March 1943. They are wearing raincoats and havelocks, presumably for the benefit of the photographer, as the sky is clear.

Bunk inspections pay special attention to corners, as this WAVE trainee knows.

A WAVE gets her "shots" from a Navy doctor, as nurses stand by. Photographed prior to January 1945.

WAVE Seaman reads a letter from home, circa 1943-45.

Yeoman 3rd Class Ellen Figg, USNR(W) poses by the entrance to the Old Capitol Grounds, Milledgeville, Georgia, while attending the Naval Training School, Yeoman-W, in that city during World War II.

Seaman Anna Carlson, USNR(W) on the grounds of the Naval Training School, Yeoman-W, Milledgeville, Georgia, during World War II.

Seaman 2nd Class Verona Livingston, USNR(W) stops for a helping of dessert from Ship's Cook 2nd Class William Barry, as she goes through a chow line at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, during World War II.

WAVES trainees at "chow" at Naval Training Center, Norman, Oklahoma, in February 1943.

WAVES sightseeing in Washington, D.C. Three WAVES stand by the north side of the Tidal Basin during the springtime cherry blossom season, circa 1943-45. The Jefferson Memorial is in the distance.

WAVES sharpen their aim with bows and arrows at a wartime recreation facility, circa 1943-45.

Seaman 2nd Class Eleanor Fern Hancock (center) and Seaman 2nd Class Nelda Jeanne Roark enjoy a day in the field with dogs and shotguns, during a break in their training at the Yeoman Training School, Cedar Falls, Iowa, circa 1944-45. Shotguns include a pump action and a semi-automatic model.

WAVES yeoman students take time out from classes to roll a big snow ball on the Iowa State College campus, circa 1944.

Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class Jackie Welsh depetals a flower to settle an ageless question of romance, as Signalman 2nd Class Harold Howey records the event on film. Witnesses are Pharmacist's Mate 3rd Class Anna Welsh (left) and Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Evalyne Olsen. All four are stationed at Naval Air Station, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Personnel from Naval Air Station, New Orleans, Louisiana, on liberty in a public park.

Sailors and WAVES from Naval Air Station, New Orleans, Louisiana, enjoy a boat ride while on leave. It appears that the girls are doing all the work.

WAVES of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts help wrap Christmas presents for Navy and Marine Corps convalescents at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, circa 1944.

WAVES from the Cedar Falls, Iowa, yeoman school take a meal break in an Iowa seed corn field, while helping de-tassel corn stalks during a critical rural labor shortage, circa 1944. More than 150 WAVES helped out during the operation.

Seaman 2nd Class Sally Kaufman, USNR(W) de-tasseling corn stalks in an Iowa state seed corn field, during a period of critical labor shortages in rural areas, circa 1944.

Two WAVES look out through the armored rear door of a 5"/38 twin gun mount, while visiting the USS Missouri (BB-63) in an east coast port during her shakedown period, circa August 1944.

Yeoman Third Class Betty Martin exiting the rear door of a 5"/38 twin gun mount, while touring the ship in an east coast port during Missouri's shakedown period, circa Aug 1944.

Two WAVES washing a North American SNJ training plane, circa 1943-45.

Specialist (X) 2nd Class Marcelle Whiteman holds one of the 200 carrier pigeons "based" at NAS Santa Ana, circa June 1945. The birds were used to transmit communications from the air to the station when radio silence is in force. One of the occupations covered by the Specialist (X) rating was Pigeon Trainer.

WAVE Specialist (X) 3rd Class Sidney Cazort at work with the residents of the Pigeon Loft at Naval Air Station, Moffett Field, California, circa 1944-45.

WAVES aircraft mechanics working on a North American SNJ training plane at Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Whiting Field, Pensacola, Florida, circa 1943-45.

WAVES aircraft mechanics working on the port outboard engine (a Pratt & Whitney R-2000) of a Naval Air Transport Service R5D at Naval Air Station, Oakland, California, circa mid-1945.

Seaman 1st Class Lorrain Taylor (right) and Seaman 1st Class Martha Harrison working on the # 1 engine (a Pratt & Whitney R-2000) of a Naval Air Transport Service R5D, circa mid-1945. Both WAVES are assigned to Naval Air Transport Squadron Four at Naval Air Station, Oakland, California.

Seaman 1st Class Billy Ikard (left) and Seaman 1st Class Barbara A. Patterson move a battery cart into position next to a Naval Air Transport Service R5D-1 (Bureau # 39170), circa mid-1945. Both WAVES are assigned to Naval Air Transport Squadron Four at Naval Air Station, Oakland, California.

Women mechanics march to their work area at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, circa 1944-45. This group appears to include both Navy WAVES and Women Marines.

(via Women of World War II)

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