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Adapted from "Captain Joy Bright Hancock, U.S. Navy (W), Ret." [biography dated, 21 March 1957] in Modern Officer Biographies Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command Archives, Washington Navy Yard.

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Joy Bright Hancock

4 May 1898 - 20 August 1986

NH 94945-A Yeoman First Class (F) Joy Bright, USNRF
Photographed in February 1918, while serving in the Office of the Naval Superintendent of Construction, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. Courtesy of Captain Joy Bright Hancock, USN (Retired). U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Joy Bright Hancock served in the Navy in both World Wars and retired with the rank of Captain in June 1953.  Hancock was among the first wave of females allowed to serve in the Navy and was instrumental in advancing their continued integration into that service.  She received degrees from the George Washington University and the Crawford School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC; the Pierce School of Business Administration in Philadelphia; and the Paris Branch of the New York School of Fine Arts.  She was also a licensed pilot.  During World War I, Hancock was a Yeoman (F) First Class on duty at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey.  By then end of the war she was Chief Yeoman at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Cape May, New Jersey.  Following the war, she worked as a civilian employee for the Navy.  Between 1934 and 1942 she was the civilian head of Editorial and Research Section of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and the Special Assistant to the Bureau’s Chief.  In the first year of World War II she was commissioned Lieutenant, Women’s Reserve, U.S. Naval Reserve and advanced through rank to Captain by 26 July 1946.  Captain Hancock was one of eight women to be sworn into the regular Navy following the Women’s Armed Service Integration Act of 1948.  She received commendations for her service to the Bureau of Naval Aeronautics and the Chief of Naval Operations (Air) during WWII and for her assistance in expanding opportunities for females in the Navy.  Following WWII, Hancock served as Director of the Women’s Reserve and then Assistant Chief of Personnel for Women.  She was instrumental in preparing the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act for passage.  Captain Hancock retired from active duty in June 1953.  She passed away on 20 August 1986 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Full Biography [Text Version] [Original .pdf]

Published: Fri Mar 18 09:47:31 EDT 2016