The Long Goodbye

WAVES newsletters and booklets also explained to women what would happen as they left the military. This image comes from the Women’s Reserve Information: Separation Pamphlet. The pamphlet outlined the transition process from WAVE to civilian at war’s end.

The first group of WAVES left shortly after V-J Day in fall of 1945. The separations would continue through the next couple of years until the passage of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in June of 1948. At that point, WAVES were qualified to become a part of the peacetime Navy.

Honorable Discharge

V-J Day happened August 9, 1945. Jean Clark’s husband, Lou, returned to Seattle from his assignment soon after and was to be immediately discharged. Jean’s commander decided to help her out as well.

He said, “I’ll put you down for 30 days leave. You come back and your discharge will be complete.”  So I went home with my husband and we — then we came back in a month. That was in August, I think. By the time we got back the discharge was complete. We went back to Lebannon where my parents were living. We didn’t have a house or anything. While we were there, we decided, I guess maybe we ought to find a job. We did. We went to the school district and both of us were hired. Because then teachers were in short supply and we both had our degrees and our certificate.

This is a photograph of Jean’s honorable discharge from the Navy, dated September 6th, 1945. It comes from the collection of Jean Clark.