Director of Women's Reserve
The office of District Director of Women's Reserve was established by a directive of the Chief of Naval Personnel on 8 April 1943; but it was 30 August of the same year before the Bureau of Personnel provided an officer for the billet in the Eighth Naval District. In the beginning the office was under the District Personnel Officer. Certain problems in administration developed, however, which made it feasible to set the office up separately under the Commandant; consequently, it was so established by a District Order on 14 June 1944.1 It remained thus until the revised organization came into effect under the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel.
The District Director of Women's Reserve acted in an advisory capacity to the Commandant and to the commanding officers of Naval activities in the district under his jurisdiction on all matters pertaining to the Women's Reserve. By making frequent visits to activities where Women's Reserve were stationed, she observed and obtained first-hand reports on the supervision, housing, health, discipline, welfare, and recreation of enlisted personnel. She maintained liaison with the Women's Reserve Representatives throughout the District. Via the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, she submitted periodic reports to the Chief of Naval Personnel on all matters concerning Women's Reserve Personnel.
By liaison with other District staff officers, she was able to solve many problems affecting Women's Reserve personnel. If construction of much-needed housing at a certain activity was lagging, a conference with the District Public Works Officer resulted in a concentrated effort to speed up the work. If the recreation facility anywhere were found to be inadequate, a word with the Director of Welfare resulted in immediate improvement of the situation. Through the District Chaplain's Office, the aid of such agencies as Navy Relief and the Red Cross was obtained when necessary.
Paying two or three visits a year to all activities where Waves were stationed, together with special visits whenever occasion demanded, required a great deal of traveling in an area so large as the Eighth Naval District. The small groups of Waves in isolated spots, however, were those whose morals was most likely to need bolstering, as the less hardy among them had a tendency to consider themselves "the forgotten women." A fair amount of the District Director's time was spent in listening while some girl obtained the psychological relief that she needed by talking about her troubles to a sympathetic person. In the main, the morale of the Waves was excellent. Problems among the Waves requiring disciplinary action were practically nil.
After 21 June 1944, when the Bureau of Personnel ordered it, the District Director of Woman's Reserve was consulted by the District Classification Control Officer on the assignment of women personnel in the district. The collaboration resulted in better placement. With the Increase in personnel, keeping properly informed on the placement
of Waves naturally required more time. Between 25 November 1942, when the first group of Waves (24 yeomen) reported to the Commandant, Eighth Naval District, and 1 January 1944, a total of 1003 were assigned to activities under the Commandant. Lack of housing facilities slowed up their coming at first. A year later, on 1 February 1945, the number of Waves had increased to 2055, the maximum number reached. These 290 officers and 1765 enlisted personnel served 118 activities. By 1 July the number of Waves had decreased to 1710 and the number of activities served to 84. The closing of various activities, the shifting of certain air stations from the Commandant's command, and the transfer of some Waves overseas were the reasons for the decline.
Waves performed very much the same kinds of duty in this district as in others. There were yeomen, storekeepers, general duty seamen, mailmen, instructors, communicators, tower control operators at air stations, and various other kinds of specialists, including those who train carrier pigeons. Keeping up with the manifold aspects of their lives, activities, and interests was a full-time assignment for the District Director of Women's Reserve.
1. Dist. Order No. 11-44, dtd. 14 Jun. 1944.
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