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WAVES Opened Doors for Women in Military

August 20, 2003

Laura Rapaport Borsten's obituary (Aug. 13) aptly conveyed the importance of her work to implement the WAVES program in which tens of thousands of women volunteered to replace male naval officers and enlisted personnel for ship and overseas duty during WWII. I was among the first WAVES class of 600 at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., to be commissioned as ensigns in 1943.

We became cryptographers and watch officers who coded and decoded secret radio communications, as well as having other duties. For two years I served in the Joint Operations Center as ship movement officer responsible for monitoring and mapping naval ships from the San Francisco Bay out to sea 500 miles. The contribution of the WAVES (as well as the WACs and others) to the success of the war effort spearheaded the inclusion of women into today's military as full-fledged service personnel and combat veterans.

Muriel M. Shishkoff

Huntington Beach

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