The Navy

Becoming an Officer

"I had a real strong feeling that I was not doing enough."

I was patriotic. People were patriotic back then. People loved their country and they were patriotic and were really afraid that we were going to lose it because we had, we were fighting two wars... People really cared about what happened and I did. I had a real strong feeling that I was not doing enough. I felt like there’s something I need to do and I couldn’t decide what it was and we had a lot of – in Fort Myers you’d see a lot of service people around and I tried to decide what do I want to do and I decided. I thought about the Navy and the Marines and the Coast Guard... I did decide on the Navy and I was interviewed by all three. They had someone come by and talk with me. I don’t even remember how I got in touch with them but when I applied for the Navy, in a few weeks I had a letter asking for me to come to Miami for tests and an interview and I got on the bus... We got to Miami and they gave us a physical exam and a written exam and also just an interview and sent me home again. Then about two weeks later, I had noticed that I had been accepted. I had to send in my picture and all this stuff, but I had been accepted and they told me when to return back to Miami and I was sworn in. I went back and I was sworn in and they gave me a ticket to Northampton, Massachusetts because that’s where they were training WAVES officers.”

Editor's Note: In 1942 Congress approved a measure that would create a women’s auxiliary military. These auxiliary branches allowed women to volunteer for the military in non-combat roles. The women’s auxiliary branch for the Navy was created in July 1942 and was called Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service or WAVES.