A Feminine Finale at Bainbridge - July 1972
Through These Portals Pass the Women of the Greatest Navy on Earth Shown on a Sign as Company 28-72 Marches Out as One of the Last Classes to Graduate and the Last to have Graduation Ceremonies at Bainbridge. TRA NAVY: Magazine of Naval Training, July 1972, p. 6. GGA Image ID # 1cfe73cdf0
''Through These Portals Pass the Women of the Greatest Navy on Earth." For 21 years, the sign hung over the exit door of the drill hall used by students at the Recruit Training Command for Women at Bainbridge, Maryland. Last month it was carefully hand-carried to the women's new training center in Orlando, Florida.
The last formal graduation at Bainbridge was held on May 12, with the graduation of company 28-1972. Although four companies remained at Bainbridge to complete their basic training, no more formal graduation ceremonies were scheduled.
Navy women and their guests from throughout the country attended the nostalgic ceremony. Captain Robin L. Quigley, Assistant to the Chief of Naval Personnel for Women, viewed the companies along with the newly selected first woman admiral, Captain Alene B. Durek. The reviewing officer was Rear Admiral Valdemar G. Lambert, Deputy Director, Naval Education and Training. He spoke of the numerous opportunities now open for Navy women, commenting that "these fine young ladies will leave the grueling grind" of basic training to take their places in Navy ranks.
"The Navy would not be where it is today were it not for its wonderful contributions by its Navy women," Admiral Lambert said.
The recruit Training Command for Women will officially open its doors at the Naval Training Center in Orlando on July 3, with the first two recruit companies reporting for basic training on July 17. Involved in the move were approximately 55 military personnel assigned to recruit training for women. No civilian positions were affected. There are about 500 women recruits typically in training at any given time.
The companies at Orlando will be smaller, with some 50 to 55 recruits in a company, compared to 65 to 75 at Bainbridge. However, nine companies will be on board at all times instead of eight. The duration of training will remain at ten weeks.
Admiral Lambert, Captain Gore and a Recruit Commander on Graduation Day. TRA NAVY: Magazine of Naval Training, July 1972, p. 6. GGA Image ID # 1cfed59cf5
The move to Orlando was the third for the women recruits since 1942, when the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) were first established during World War II. Now an outdated acronym, the term WAVES described the women who assisted the Navy in meeting its acute personnel needs in the rapidly expanding fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The first Récrit Training Command for enlisted women was established at Hunter College in the Bronx, New York, in 1943. Then in 1948, the training moved to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Maryland in 1951.
Captain Mary A. Gore, commanding officer of the Recruit Training Command for Women since 1971, was among the first to attend the course at Hunter College. After graduation, she worked as a yeoman at the Bureau of Naval Personnel until 1947. This was followed by three years of inactive reserve duty. Then in 1950, she was commissioned as an Ensign and assigned to various Navy jobs. Before her present assignment, she was the Line Assignment Officer for Women at the Bureau of Naval Personnel.
JO3 Celeste Hein, Photos by PH3 Becky Wise, "A Feminine Finale at Bainbridge," in TRA NAVY: The Magazine of Naval Training, July 1972, p. 6.