Thursday, August 14, 2003


The last surviving member of the US Navy's initial team of officers in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) has died at the age of 91. May she Rest In Peace.

She was an educated, professional woman whose dedication and service to the United States should be recognized and remembered. Of special note is the following:
Stationed in Honolulu as a transportation officer, Rapaport eliminated racial discrimination in the women's corps before male superiors could start it, insisting that if women of different races wore the same uniform they could share the same jobs and living quarters.

This significant act, which she did years before the rest of the military became integrated, belies her bold and courageous nature. Rapaport wrote of her experiences in "Once a Wave: My Life in the Navy 1942-46," which is listed on, but not currently available.

Having spent some time carrying a Department of the Navy ID Card, I feel obligated to throw in my two cents concerning the WAVE Corps. I dealt with and got to know a number of WAVES and my lasting impression is nothing but positive. As a group or individually, they were always willing to devote extra time and effort to get the job done. The legislation signed by FDR which enabled women to enlist, coupled with the contributions of Laura Rapaport Borsten and thousands of others are reasons to be proud as an American.

On a different note, my personal belief is that under no circumstances should women be assigned to serve on a warship or a combat unit.

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