When legislation was passed in 1948 giving women permanent status in the regular and reserve Navy, it was largely due to the efforts of Joy Bright Hancock, the author of this revealing memoir. Her prominent role was acknowledged at the time by the secretary of the navy who credited her ideals, energy, and enthusiasm as the moving force behind the historic integration of women into the U.S. Navy, including the 1942 establishment of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). This personal account of those formative years has long been considered the best study available. Originally published in 1972 and out of print for nearly twenty-five years, it is now being reissued in paperback to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the birth of the WAVES.
Hancock's own work as a Yeoman in World War I offered the armed services a lesson in the benefits of having women in uniform. Her descriptions are eye opening of those early days and her later efforts, when finally in a position of authority, to argue the case for women. With a wealth of documentation and numerous photographs, she chronicles not only her career but also the evolution of Navy women, offering colorful details of the legislative battles to get women admitted into the regular Navy. She reminds us that although it was not until 1967 that the last restriction of rank was removed, WAVES always served with equal pay for equal work. This new edition of her book will introduce generations of Americans to the problems of establishing a place for women in the Navy and details of Hancock's dogged pursuit of fair treatment for women in the armed services.