"Enlist in the Waves. Release a Man to Fight At Sea. " Vintage WWII Navy Recruitment Poster, 1943

Presented is an original WWII Navy Recruitment poster, issued on January 13, 1943. The recruitment poster depicts a young woman in a U.S. Navy uniform, saluting. The top text reads, “Enlist in the Waves,” in white block text against a bold red background. Below, the text, “Release a Man to Fight at Sea,” appears in red block text. The poster urges women to “Apply to your nearest Navy Recruiting Station or Office of Naval Officer Procurement.”

Approved by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) program recruited women between 18 and 36 years old, and officers between 20 and 50, to serve onshore in the continental United States. Starting in 1944, many of these women also served in Alaska and Hawaii. The aim of the program was to enlist women to clerical jobs, in effort to free up male personnel for sea duty. 

The WAVES program offered women who weren’t nurses the first chance to serve in the Navy. In addition to clerical and hospital jobs, the majority of WAVES were assigned to naval aviation units. Women maintained aircraft, tested parachutes, were domestic air traffic controllers and weather specialists, and trained men in navigation and gunnery. For a significant number of enlisted WAVES, the war provided the opportunity to work at jobs usually open only to men. During WWII, it is estimated that over 90,000 women served in the WAVES at enlisted and officer ranks. 


Very good condition. Original color lithograph. Paper is bright white and the colors vibrant. One horizontal crease at the center fold line and  small marginal creases. "Order No. 19" stamped at bottom right margin. "NRB-34694-1-13-43- 40M" stamped at bottom right margin. Sold unframed, as-is. Unframed Dimensions: ​​42" H x 28 1/8" W (sheet size).

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