America Goes To War
December 7, 1941. At 7:55 a.m., Hawaii time, the first wave of Japanese seaborne aircraft, fighters, torpedo planes and dive bombers, began their attack on the United States Pacific Fleet as it lay at anchor in Pearl Harbor, and the planes on Hickam Airfield. During this two hour raid nineteen U. S. vessels were sunk or seriously damaged, one hundred and sixty-two planes destroyed on the ground, and over 3500 servicemen were killed or wounded. Japan and the United States go to war. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States as well. As the young men enlisted the women began to take over the jobs they left behind. The United States Armed Forces saw the potential in women joining the military so that the men could fight. The Army formed the WAC's, Women's Army Corps; SPARS served with the Coast Guard; Lady Marines joined the Marines. WAVES, Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, became a vital part of the Navy.
This is not the first time that women were in the Navy. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was hard pressed for clerical workers just before the U. S. entered World War I. Through a convenient interpretation of the law (that yeomen need not be males), the Navy hired 11,275 Yeomen (F), the F standing for Female, to serve in World War I. Generally referred to as Yeomanettes, they served as clerks, stenographers, translators and recruiting agents.
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