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With Voices Raised High

March 21, 2019
WAVES singing, Stillwater, OK.
Courtesy National Archives

As any sailor knows, R&R is just as important as your daily responsibilities. Here in Stillwater, Oklahoma, seven WAVES enjoy their down time with some hearty singing.


One and Two and Three – Hold!

March 18, 2019
WAVES calisthenics Norman, OK.
Courtesy National Archives

In addition to square dancing, WAVES practiced calisthenics as a method of staying in top shape during wartime. Pictured here are some of the women in training in their official jumpsuits at the Naval Air Technical Training Command (NATTC) in Norman, Oklahoma.

Mary Marovich Ryan

March 8, 2019

Today we’re honoring an important women to the Homefront Heroines crew.

March 8th is the birthday of the woman who inspired the Homefront Heroines project. Mary Marovich was born in Chicago on March 8th 1921. She enlisted in the WAVES in 1943 and after boot camp at Hunter College she became a Pharmacist’s Mate based at Treasure Island in San Francisco.

Mary worked as a telephone operator in Chicago before enlisting in the Navy. She followed six of her brothers into the service – four were with the Army, and two were first class petty officers in the Coast Guard (her younger brother would serve in the military in the Korean War).

Photo of Mary M. Ryan

Mary said before enlisting:

I’d really like to wear a six star pin (to honor her brothers), but I can’t find a story that sell them!

Mary married James Warren Ryan, an Army Air Corps pilot, while she was in the service. She left in 1945 after V-J Day and died in 1992.

Happy birthday, Mother!

The Steps to Victory

March 7, 2019
WAVES square dancing.

U.S. Navy/National Archives

In the WAVES training program, square dancing was part of the physical fitness program. This photo depicts the regimen at the U.S. Naval Training School in Madison, Wisconsin. Any steps necessary to defeat the Axis!

Hats Off!

March 4, 2019
WAVES Officer Hat.

U.S. Navy/National Archives

That which ties any outfit together, the cherry on top, so to speak: the hat. Adorned with the golden crest of the United States Navy, a crisp white tip and a black brim, the WAVES cap is truly the piece de resistance of a clean-cut uniform for the remarkable women who served.

On this day in 1943…

February 8, 2019
WAVES being sworn into the service in New York City.
Courtesy National Archives

In celebration of WAVES and SPARS day, 418 women take the Oath of Enlistment in front of the New York City Hall on February 8, 1943. Demonstrations like this were essential to growth within both programs — apart from being an excellent way of raising war-time morale!

Intermission Story (9) – A Special Woman

July 26, 2017

What an inspiration.

Pacific Paratrooper

Last December the world lost a very special person, Florence Ebersole Smith Finch, (101).

Florence Ebersole Smith Finch, USCGR (W)

Coast Guard SPAR decorated for combat operations during World War II

By William H. Thiesen, Ph.D.
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian

Of the thousands of women who have served with honor in the United States Coast Guard, one stands out for her bravery and devotion to duty. Florence Smith Finch, the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran and Filipino mother, was born on the island of Luzon, north of Manila, in Santiago City. She married navy PT boat crewman Charles E. Smith while working for an army intelligence unit located in Manila. In 1942, after the Japanese invaded the Philippines, her young husband died trying to re-supply American and Filipino troops trapped by the enemy on Corregidor Island and the Bataan Peninsula.

After the Japanese occupied Manila, Finch avoided internment…

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