Petticoats in the Navy: Yeomanettes
"Petticoats in the Navy! Damn'd outrage! Helluva mess! Back to sea f'r me !" - Naval lawyer who feared women would soon be assigned to his office.
"There's one thing certain and that's the spirit of the American women - if you men can't lick the Kaiser we women will." - Yeomanette stationed at the Shipyard in "Adventures of the First Co. of Yeomanettes: Summer of 1918" .
In order to fill severe clerical shortages caused by the war, the U.S. Navy approved the enlistment of women in 1917. The Naval Reserve Act of 1916 made no specific gender requirements for yeomen - enlisted personal who fulfill administrative and clerical duties. Thus, these newly enlisted women were given the rating Yeoman (F), with the "F" designating female. More popularly referred to as Yeomanettes, the majority worked in clerical positions, but they also served as translators, draftsmen, fingerprint experts, ship camouflage designers and recruiting agents.
End of the War: Return to Tradition
At the end of the war, Yeomen (F) were released from active duty. Most Americans had considered the use of female employees and female recruits to be a necessary but temporary wartime measure. Women were fulfilling their patriotic duty by releasing desk-bound men for combat, but they were expected to return to more traditional roles when the men came home. Women would disappear from enlisted service until the next world war.
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