The Leader Resigns

Mildred McAfee would lead the WAVES until August of 1945. During that time, she amassed some pretty impressive military firsts:

  • First female line officer in the Navy (1942)
  • First WAVES Director (1942-1945)
  • First female Navy Captain (1944)
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal

After she resigned as Director of the WAVES, McAfee would remain active duty until February of 1946.

McAfee met and married the Reverend Dr. Douglas Horton while in the Navy and changed her name to Mildred McAfee Horton. After she left the WAVES, she would first return to the Presidency of Wellesley College, where she would remain until 1948. After she left Wellesely, she became involved with the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches. McAfee also served as a UNESCO delegate, was on the board of directors of the New York Life Insurance Company, the National Broadcasting Company, Radio Corporation of America, and the Ford Foundation’s Fund for the Advancement of Education. She later co-chaired the National Women’s Conference on Civil Rights.

This photograph comes from the Naval Historical Center.

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