Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs
With Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement that the Pentagon will lift the ban on women serving in combat, it seemed an opportune moment to watch the La Guardia and Wagner Archives’ video on the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), a branch of the Navy during World War II. The WAVES were the first women to serve in the Navy beyond traditional roles as secretaries and nurses and many of them trained at Hunter College in the Bronx (now Lehman College). Despite their limited roles, which included detasseling corn in Iowa, the women of the WAVES (and their Army and Air Corps counterparts in the WACs and WASPs) played a crucial role in the victory during World War II and opened the doors for women in the military in the future.
To learn more about women and their role in the military and on the home front during World War II, check out the New-York Historical Society’s exhibit WWII & NYC, the Archives’ lesson Women and World II, and a website on the WAVES created by the US Military.
P.S. If you would like to see more Archives materials, check out our Facebook page and Like us.