The American WAVES came into existence on July 30, 1942, and they became enjoined as a division of the American Navy, in the course of the World War II. The American WAVES were enrolled entirely of women. The WAVES was just an acronym of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. The incorporation of the word emergency reiterates the acceptance of women, in which case it was due to the rare circumstance of World War II. However, immediately after the war ended the women were permitted to proceed with the navy careers. It had its official name, in which case it was the US Naval Reserve, but the WAVES nickname prevailed. The only limitation that the women had was the fact that the law had to limit the number of positions that were open to them, especially in some given ranks. The law only gave some authority to the women officers over other women reservist.
The way, how the American WAVES came about involved some lengthy effort. There were inter-war changes in the Naval Reserve legislation, and this subject was limited to men only, and this necessitated new legislation. Even though, the far-sighted individuals in the department of Navy knew far ahead of the time that uniformed women would be a wartime need, the opinion of the general service was negative until there a crisis broke. Even at that time, there was the use of creative intrigues in order to acquire some authorization through the Congress. The then president, Roosevelt had to sign WAVES into law on July, 30th 1942. Months after the signing saw some women, such as Mildred McAfee being commissioned, including several other famous female professionals and educators, and they were to help in guiding the new organization.
After the formation of the new organization, there was recruitment of several women. This exercise had to be managed, and this is because the number of women who had some interest was immense. There was also the establishment of training, including the administrative structures put in place plus the designing of the uniforms. The last effort had to produce the best design, in which case elements remained in use for nearly six decades later. Difficulties that were significant were overcome, and they were negotiated with insurmountable energy and essential good humor. As such, within a year or so, a large number of women began to wear the WAVES uniform, 27, 000 women to be exact.
All these women had to serve in quite a wide range of occupations. Many of the American WAVES had to perform the previously untypical roles that were in the medical professions, aviation community, intelligence, judge advocate general corps, communications and science and technology. These new female occupations took large portions, besides the traditionally occupied female clerical and secretarial jobs. In fact, the demand in their services in the wartime navy was intense as they had to struggle against Hitler and the Japanese troops, in the Pacific area, among other challenges of the war. When the conflict ended, the number of female officers comprised 8,000 women, thus totaling about two and half percent of the total navy’s headcount. In addition, some divisions comprised of the majority of the uniformed female naval workforce. Furthermore, many women had to remain in uniform, and this was to help in getting the Navy both through the war and into the post-war era.
It was after highly skilled and well educated women demonstrated immense mettle while fulfilling clerical responsibilities, when the American WAVES could presume their responsibilities. The American WAVES became the naval-air navigating specialists, technicians, and even aviation machinists. Others proceeded to train navy airmen on how to utilize and use the anti-aircraft weapons. Remarkably, the American WAVES received satisfaction to the extent of having the compensation package at the same level as the male counterparts that were in the same ranks. This was through the available positions for women were quite limited as compared to position that men could occupy. The most significant roles that the American WAVES played in the war involved the code breaking. Almost 550 American WAVES that were stationed, for instance, in Dayton (Ohio), and they had to operate bombs. The America WAVES had to operate in shifts in order to administer the bombs around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Such untiring efforts questionably shaved the years off the duration of the war.
By the time the war ended, remarkably many women had served as WAVES, most precisely 86,000 women, which comprised approximately 2 percent of the overall Navy forces. In fact, in every naval station, in the US, the American WAVES held the wide range of the military positions. The navy did not disband the WAVES after the war ended. The officials recognized the importance of having women serving in the military. In 1948, the Congress had to pass the women’s Armed Services Integration Act, in which case it made the women have some permanent presence in the military. This, in essence, made the America WAVES unit dissolved. Though many American WAVES were remarkably the most significant women’s military unit in the US, the Navy was not the only position for women to serve during the World War II. There were some other significant units such as the Women Auxiliary Army Corps, and it had the same roles like those of the WAVES. Many countries also had to welcome women into the armed forces at war times.
In essence, the creation of the American WAVES was a manifest of the fundamental changes that was taking place in the American society as there were increasing efforts of war. In fact, women were moving into the work force from home, and this made them gain increasing independence. Many served in various positions although they were not recognized, nor their service was made public, or formal programs of training never existed. This, in essence, coupled with the publicity surrounding the WAVES, put more focus on the independence of women, equality and their intelligence, especially compared to their male counterparts. This made women come to the WAVES from every sector of society, in which case it helped in bringing vast varieties of skills and experience into the military forces. Though originally the black women were excluded from the WAVES, the then president removed the ban, in 1944 (it created some friction at some training schools).
In conclusion, the status of the American WAVES was quite uncertain at the end of the war. With the endorsement of the Act, the American WAVES became a permanent constituent of the Navy, until 1978. After that, exceedingly varied women’s units of the armed forces were enjoined into the previous all-male units. Whichever way, many women did not accept this change while others had to accept the new arrangement. Nevertheless, the fact is that, those who got the chance to serve in the WAVES during the World War II, up to now, are still recognized, and many American people do appreciate them. Their entire contributions gained the utmost respect of the society. It also laid the foundation for the movement of women. Indeed, that is how the American WAVES came about and played their roles in making the history. It was quite fascinating to observe the powers beginning to recognize and tap into the potential of use of the feminine resources during the wartime and thereafter.