WOMEN IN THE NAVY
Approximately 86,000 women on active
duty in the naval service, 8,000 officers
and 78,000 enlisted, constituting 18
percent of the total naval personnel
assigned to shore establishments in the
continental United States. Accession of
women into the Navy discontinued by
Navy surgeon recommends nurses be
included among personnel at Navy
Civilian nurses serve on board the
Navys first hospital ship, USS Red
On 26 July Captain Joy Bright
Hancock, a former World War I
yeomanette, becomes director of the
WAVES. The womens ranks decrease
to some 8,800 by that time.
On 13 May U.S. Navy Nurse Corps
established. The first 20 nurses (in
reality, the first women in the Navy)
report to Washington, D.C., that
Army-Navy Nurses Act establishes the
Nurse Corps as a permanent staff corps
of the Navy. It also authorizes perma-
nent commissioned rank for nurses.
Navy nurses serve aboard the transports
USS Mayflower and USS Dolphin.
On 12 June President Harry Truman
signs Public Law 625, the Womens
Armed Services Integration Act,
abolishing the Womens Auxiliary
Reserve and permitting women to enter
the U.S. Navy in Regular or Reserve
On 19 March the Navy authorizes
enlistment of women as volunteers.
Designated as Yeomen (F), they un-
officially became known as yeomen-
Women in the Naval Reserve recalled
along with their male counterparts for
duty during the Korean conflict.
On 11 November when the armistice is
signed, 11,275 yeomenettes are in the
naval service, with some 300 marinettes
in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Navy women accepted for commission
in the Medical Service Corps.
Navy nurses serve aboard the first ship
built as a floating hospital, USS Relief
Women in the Hospital Corps begin
serving on board hospital ships and
transports carrying dependents.
Navy nurse Alene Duerk, director of
the Navy Nurse Corps since 1968,
achieves flag rank; she is the first
woman in Navy history to do so. The
term WAVES is dropped as an official
Naval Reserve Act of 1938 amended 30
July to include the Womens Auxiliary
Reserve, later known as the WAVES
(women accepted for voluntary emer-
gency service). Wellesley College presi-
dent Mildred McAfee, selected to lead
the new Womens Auxiliary Reserve, is
sworn in as a lieutenant commander on
The Secretary of the Navy announces
authorization of aviation training for
By 30 July more than 27,000 women
are on active duty in the Navy.
Authorization is passed for a woman
to hold the rank of captain, and
Mildred McAfee is promoted into that
rank. Navy Hospital Corps accepts
U.S. Naval Academy admits women.
The law prohibiting assignment of
women to fill sea duty billets on support
and noncombatant ships is amended in
October, putting into force the Women
in Ships Program.