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A boot camp for WAVES was established at Hunter College in New York City. Basic training lasted form six to eight weeks. Although women were expected to meet the same high standards of professionalism as men, often with similar responsibilities, there were several restrictions and limitations placed on their duties: Women were not permitted to serve at sea or outside the continental United States. Women were also not allowed to exercise military command over men and could not obtain a rank beyond lieutenant commander.

Nevertheless, in the ensuing month thousands of women joined the WAVES and became an integral part of the Navy. The WAVES performed nearly every conceivable type of duty at over 500 naval shore establishments. By 1944, this enabled enough officers and men to crew a fleet of 10 battleships, 10 aircraft carriers, 28 cruisers and 50 destroyers—and thus enabled the American Navy to emerge victorious in the Pacific Theatre of operations.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "WAVES." (Viewed on January 17, 2018) <>.


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