Shirley M. Tillson of Manchester, New Hampshire, served in the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II.
Letters, chiefly from Port Blakely, Washington, document Tillson's daily life with the WAVES. Subjects include her dates and social activities, particularly the USO (United Service Organization), a Women's Service Club, dances, and athletics; her family; the status of the war, including the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the German surrender; WAVES uniforms and uniform regulations; and her work as a radio operator. Tillson writes in detail about the opportunities the navy the provides and about how difficult it is for sailors and soldiers to return to civilian life while on leave. She also tells the story of a young woman who punched a sailor when he criticized her for joining the navy.
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Shirley M. Tillson of Manchester, New Hampshire, enlisted in the WAVES in April 1944. She attended basic training in New York and radio training in Oxford, Ohio. Tillson also attended school in Port Blakely, Washington, in the spring of 1945. As seaman first class, radioman, she was sent to advanced training in San Diego in October 1945. One month later, Tillson worked as radio operator in Arlington, Virginia.