WAVES became a very important World War II Division of the U.S. Navy in the year 1942 precisely on the 30th of July. The name was an acronym for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services.” It can also be compared with the ocean waves because of the element of the navy. The aspect of emergency finds its way here due to the unusual emergency circumstances that surrounded the World War II. In fact, the women never took part in the US Navy following the end of the Second World War. The number of the women was a little more than a thousand.

The Description of and Role played by the WAVES of the Second World War

Before the Second World War, the roles played by the women who took part in the US Navy were just those that any other ordinary women played. They were mothers, wives, waitresses, dancers, secretaries, socialists, librarians and students. Just like the men, they had become of age at a time when the famous Great Depression which deprived men and women of jobs rocked the United States (Piehler and Pash 2010, 204)[1].

Around the early 1940s, at the height of the war, women felt that they had to get involved in the struggle. They were playing huge roles on a voluntary basis in the military. They found jobs in the women naval reserve as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services (Weatherford 2009, 198)[2]. They also participated in the Women Auxiliary corpse.

The roles that these women played contributed very significantly to the ultimate winning of the war. Apart from the fact that they were physically present and took up the roles previously reserved for men, their role in providing the much needed moral support for the navy was very instrumental. With the morale they provided, their male counterparts had the will and encouragement needed to take the war to the level that could see it to be getting won.

Initially, the WAVES could not serve abroad. They were also not able to combat aircraft or ship and initially limited to the Continental United States. Later on as the war progressed and was almost coming to an end, the WAVES became an official part of some of the United States possessions. Quite a number of women went to Hawaii. However, the war ended before they could be sent to other locations.

From its inception, the WAVES were an official component of the navy and played a very substantial role towards the success of the navy which ultimately conduced to the winning of the Second World War. The members of the WAVES held equal ranks with their male counterparts. Therefore, it could be argued that the success attributed to men with regards to the success of the war could also be attributed to the women. The credit given to men for winning the war can also be given to women. They proved that they could participate in the roles initially reserved for men.

The role played by the WAVES was an expression of patriotism, a lesson that people ought to learn. They participated against all odds and all the challenges associated with the war to express to the world the love they had for the country and their desire to bring the war to a quick termination. Historically, women have a lot of duty to the society (Kroener, Muller and Umbreit 2000, 658)[3]. There are some roles naturally meant for them. They had to balance some of these roles alongside participating in this important course. Some of the duties that women undertake include cooking, ensuring that homes are clean and taking care of the children. These women were able to participate in the war while at the same point attending to these duties and responsibilities (Weatherford 2009). It takes a high degree of courage, self determination and love for one’s country to ensure the making of these contributions.

Within the first year, the WAVES were very strong comprising huge number of members. A large proportion of the members of the WAVES took part in roles that relate to clerical works. Another proportion played a significant role in the Aviation community. They also took part in the fields of communication, store keeping, science and technology, intelligence, medical professions and even the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Kroener, Muller and Umbreit 2000, 987-989). The implication of this is that the role played by the WAVES in the World War II cannot be underestimated. This is so because the fields in which it participated played key roles in fighting and winning the war. The intelligence and communication departments were particularly very pivotal in relaying the right information to the soldiers in a timely, reliable and convenient manner.

The military nurses, a component of the WAVES were yet another critical force in the war. These women worked very hard in the aftermath of the Japanese attack that left 2043 Americans dead. Over a hundred military nurses, served at three medical facilities in Hawaii on the day of the assault (Piehler and Pash 2010, 241). Despite the pressure that resulted from burns and wounds, these women did good work.


The WAVES was a testimony of the significant role that women can play in society. It demystified the common notion that women cannot participate in some of the roles historically considered masculine. Their participation in the military was a reality; a reality that played a tremendous role to the winning of the battle even after the historic turning point, the Great Depression in the United States of America.





Kroener, Bernhard R., Rolf-Dieter Muller, and Hans Umbreit. Germany and the Second World

War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Piehler, Guenter K., and Sidney Pash. The United States and the Second World War: New

Perspectives on Diplomacy, War, and the Home Front. New York: Fordham University Press, 2010.

Weatherford, Doris. American Women during World War II: An Encyclopedia. London: Taylor &

Francis, 2009.


[1] Guenter K. Piehler, Sidney Pash. The United States and the Second World War: New Perspectives on Diplomacy, War, and the Home Front. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010), 204.

[2] Doris Weatherford. American Women during World War II (London: Taylor & Francis, 2009), 198.

[3] Bernhard R. Kroener, Rolf-Dieter Muller and Hans Umbreit. Germany and the Second World War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 658.

Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.