Not just any woman could get into the WAVES. These ladies had to make the cut and after being accepted they went through a rigorous training process before becoming active duty members or officers. WAVES had to take a placement test, a physical fitness test, and had to submit letters of recomendation among other requirements (requirements for the WAVES).
Those who were accepted and enlisted became heroic figures in their hometowns and newspaper articles were written about their recruitment.
Some women did not graduate boot camp and were sent home. Read about “washing out,” or failure here.
But those who did make it … went on from Hunter College, Smith College, Cedar Falls or wherever they trained to members of the U.S. Navy – a whole new realm for women of their time period. The ones who made the cut became the hinges of history.
Learn more about the training process and transition to military life by visiting the “Recruits to Boots” exhibit.