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Women in the Navy
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Rear Admiral Fran McKee
1980 U.S. Naval Academy graduates its first women   officers. 1982 By  June,  193  women  officers  are  on board  30  ships,  and  2,185  enlisted women  are  aboard  37  ships. Today More than 7,200 women serve as Navy officers  (10  percent  of  the  Navy’s officer  strength).  More  than  45,000 enlisted  women  make  up  9  percent  of the  Navy’s  enlisted  ranks.  Because  of their  combat  relationship,  only  two officer  communities—submarines  and special  warfare—and  18  of  103  enlisted ratings  remain  closed  to  women. Although  women  did  not  become  an  official part  of  the  Navy  until  1948,  they  made  naval tradition by serving in the Navy as early as 1811. At  that  time  a  Navy  surgeon  recommended women  be  assigned  to  hospitals  to  care  for  the Navy’s  sick  and  wounded.  However,  our  nation did not act upon that recommendation until the Civil   War,   when   women   served   aboard   the hospital  ship  USS   Red  Rover  in  the  Medical Department.  Although  an  unofficial  unit,  the  first trained nurses in the Navy were stationed at the Norfolk  Naval  Hospital  to  care  for  the  injured during  the  Spanish-American  war  in  1898.  A decade later (in 1908), the Navy Nurse Corps was officially   born. In addition to the Navy nurses, some 12,000 women  served  on  active  duty  as  “yeomenettes” in  WWI.  This  resulted  from  a  need  for  more Yeomen  and  personnel  to  handle  the  growing demands of the services as the nation readied itself for   World   War   I.   Josephus   Daniels,   then Secretary  of  the  Navy,  was  responsible  for  this turn  of  events.   “Is  there  any  law  that  says  a yeoman must be a man?” Daniels’ legal advisers answered that there was not, but that up to this time  only  men  had  been  enlisted.  “Then  enroll women  in  the  Naval  Reserve  as  yeomen,”  the secretary said. In such jobs, he added, they would offer  the  best  “assistance  that  the  country  can provide.” Immediately after the United States entered World  War  I,  women  were  taken  into  the  Navy on a large scale “in order to release enlisted men for  active  service  at  sea.”  As  a  result,  the  Navy had a total of 11,275 women Yeomen by the time the armistice was signed. They were handling most of  the  immense  volume  of  clerical  work  at  the Navy  Department,  in  addition  to  many  highly important  special  duties. Women Yeomen were stationed in Guam, the Panama Canal Zone, and Hawaii, in addition to the   United   States   and   France.   About   300 “marinettes,”   as  the  enlisted  women  of  the Marine  Corps  were  designated,  were  on  duty during the war. Most of them were stationed at Marine Corps Headquarters at the Navy Depart- ment,  although  a  number  were  assigned  with Marine  Corps  recruiting  units. All women Yeomen were released from active duty by 31 July 1919. Secretary Daniels sent the following  message  to  the  women  Yeomen:  “It  is with   deep   gratitude   for   the   splendid   service rendered by the yeomen (F) during our national emergency  that  I  convey  to  them  the  sincere appreciation  of  the  Navy  Department  for  their patriotic   cooperation.” Twenty-one  years  after  the  yeomanette  era, women  were  needed  to  fill  an  acute  shortage  of personnel caused by rapid expansion of the Navy for  World  War  II.  On  30  July  1942  Congress authorized   establishment   of   the   Women’s Reserve,   with   an   estimated   goal   of   10,000 enlisted   and   1,000   officers.   However,   certain congressional limitations were placed on the new organization.  Women  could  not  serve  at  sea  or outside  the  continental  United  States,  and  they could  not  go  beyond  lieutenant  commander  on the promotion ladder. On 4 August 1942 Mildred Helen   McAfee   was   sworn   in   as   a   lieutenant commander of the U.S. Naval Reserve to become Commander   of   Women’s   Reserve. A   boot   camp   for   women   accepted   for volunteer   emergency   service   (WAVES)   was established  at  Hunter  College  in  New  York City—it was promptly dubbed the USS Hunter. Basic training lasted from 6 to 8 weeks, and every other week about 1,680 Wave seamen had to be housed, fed, and uniformed. The Navy took over 17 apartment buildings near the college to use as housing. At  about  the  same  time,  three  other  schools were  commissioned  in  the  Midwest  to  train enlisted  women  as  Yeomen,  Storekeepers,  and Radiomen.   In   July   1943   the   Navy   Japanese Language  School  in  Boulder,  Colorado,  opened to  women. Navy  women  came  to  work  the  same  hours as  Navy  men,   standing   both   day   and   night watches.  They  stayed  in  uniform  at  all  times except in the barracks or when engaged in active sports. They were called upon to meet the same 2-30

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