Lake City veteran was part of the U.S. Navy WAVES

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Veterans Marie and Bob George of Lake City are active in the Monette American Legion Post 136. Marie was part of the U.S. Navy WAVES. Bob served in the Marine Corps. (photos provided)

The U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) was established on July 30, 1942, by President Roosevelt. In August of 1942 women from all over the country were applying for admission.

The first training available was for yeoman. The course was 12 weeks long and the women were taught secretarial and clerical duties. The first class graduated 644 women at the United States Naval Training Center (USNTC) in Bainbridge, MD.

Women in the WAVES were taught to be ladies first.

Marie George joined the U.S. Navy WAVES two months after her 18th birthday.

Duties for women serving in the Navy broadened and increased as the years went on, until they were accepted for sea duty and combat duty.

The term WAVES was discontinued in 1972. Even the uniforms changed to what was called a “uni-sex” look. It is about to change again.

Marie (General) George of Lake City (originally from Yaphank, L.I., N.Y.) was one such person who enlisted in the U.S. Navy WAVES in October of 1960. Two months after her 18th birthday, she was whisked off to USNTC with a group of girls from the same area. After 10 weeks of boot camp and 12 weeks of Yeoman ‘A’ School, she was sent to Naval Intelligence School, Anacostia Naval Air Station, Washington, D.C.

About a year after arriving in D.C., Marie met a Marine from Monette, Ark., Bob George. Little did she now she was meeting her future husband.

The couple married and Marie was told she could not stay in the service. She was discharged Oct. 19, 1962.

Her first civilian job was working for RCA, Defense Electronics Products; this is the company which sent up the first Telstar satellite.

Bob and Marie moved from D.C. to the town of Quantico on the Marine base because the missile crisis was going on with Cuba. While they lived there, their daughter, Wanda, was born at the Navy hospital on base. After Bob was discharged from the Marines, they came “home” to Northeast Arkansas. From there the couple and their daughter moved to St. Louis for employment. While there their son, Michael, was born in Troy, Mo.

Bob was injured during a horse show and couldn’t work for a period of time. They moved back to Northeast Arkansas where Marie attended Arkansas State College and then University on the GI Bill, earning her BSE in Art Education-K-12 and certification to teach German.

Bob was employed as a police officer at Arkansas State University.

Marie went on to earn a MSE in Secondary Administration-Curriculum and Instruction and then a certification in Secondary Guidance.

Marie taught school at Gosnell, Monette (pre-BIC), Bay and retired from the Brookland School District.

Bob retired from ASU.

Bob and Marie both served their country and continue to be a part of veteran activties. They are both active in the American Legion Post 136 in Monette, as well as other professional organizations and clubs.

Marie is proud to have served in the Navy. She joined over 100 other women in Branson from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, for the fourth annual reunion of WAVES who attended boot camp at WRTC Bainbridge, MD from 1942 to 1972.

"There were 115 women in attendance who had the experience of that boot camp," Marie said. "One of the activities was a memorial service for the women who are no longer with us. Singing of the Navy hymn, Eternal Father, was especially touching. A choral group and a drill team were created from the attendees. The chorus sang WAVES of the Navy, Here Comes the Navy, Anchors Aweigh, and a marching chant. We might not have served at the same time, but we all experienced many of the same things."

Many new friends were made at the reunion with a lot of memories shared.

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