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Navy Nurse Corps

As the United States inched closer toward entering World War I, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was struggling to meet the needs of personnel required to handle jobs on naval shore stations. "Is there any law that says a yeoman must be a man?" Daniels asked his legal advisors. When told that the answer was "no", Daniels responded, "Then enroll women in the Naval Reserve as yeoman." On August 29, 1916, a new class of female yeoman, known as Yeoman (F) or, more popularly, "yeomanettes", was established in the Navy.

Approximately 12,000 women served on active duty as yeomanettes during World War I "in order to release enlisted men for active service at sea." In addition to performing vital administrative duties, yeomanettes also served as translators, draftsman, fingerprint experts, camouflage designers, medical researchers and Intelligence experts. Yeomanettes were stationed throughout the United States, France, the Panama Canal Zone, Guam and Hawaii. About 300 female marines or "marinettes" also served during the war, with many being assigned to recruiting units.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Navy Nurse Corps." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <>.