Celebrating the Contributions of Women in Uniform
(Published July 2007)
With America’s supply of able-bodied men at an ebb, President Roosevelt looked to the women of the WAVES to turn the tide of the Second World War.
Experts estimated that a force of some nine million would be needed to defeat the Axis powers. Most war planners anticipated a manpower shortage given the extraordinary demand for soldiers and sailors—as well as the continued need for men to perform non-military support duties.
The Roosevelt administration’s solution was, in part, to recruit an unprecedented number of women to tackle non-combat duties as varied as secretarial work, machine repair, and even code breaking. At Treasure Island in San Francisco, women served as gunnery instructors, teaching sailors how to shoot anti-aircraft guns.