Frances Wills and Harriet Ida Pickens, First African-American Women to become WAVES Officers (1944)

PortraitWith so many men going overseas during World War II, the government needed ways to get additional help. In the Navy their solution was to create the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in 1942.  By creating it as an “emergency” service, the Navy was able to admit women to serve during the war years but at the end of the war the plan was that the women would be discharged.