Girl Patriots at Great Lakes - 1919
Yankee Pluck - an Even Dozen of Pretty, Vivacious Young Ladies Are Shown in This Picture. They Left Their Homes in the East Because Uncle Sam Needed Them Right Here at Great Lakes, to Finish a Real Man's Job They Had Started in the East. Officers Have Found Them Efficient and Faithful. Great Lakes Is Proud of Them. Great Lakes Recruit, May 1919. GGA Image ID # 1972d3ba0c
Over in one of the largest regiments at Great Lakes, the fifteenth is located the workshop for twelve intrepid young ladies. Intrepid because they all left good homes and came “west” because America needed them.
At this writing, their presence on the station is not news to the personnel at Great Lakes. They have been seen about the camp wearing their natty fluttering capes and their Quaker-like hats, going about their business in their modest and unassuming way. Officers and gobs have already classed them as shipmates.
Most of them live in New York City or near there. They successfully passed examinations and were given regular ratings according to their ability.
The Bureau of Navigation has classified them as Yeoman (F). After receiving their ratings, the twelve young ladies now at Great Lakes were assigned to Columbia University.
At that institution, various textbooks were started for educating bluejackets on various gas engines used in seaplanes. The copy handed to the girls was written in longhand by multiple authorities. It had to be copied on typewriters and put in good form for the printer.
But along came a mandate transferring this branch of the service to the middle west Naval Training Station. Relative to the girls at work on the books, there was no alternative. They, too, had to be put on a draft and sent to the Great Lakes to complete their work.
The officer in charge at Columbia University asked for volunteers. It caused a stir for just a moment; then the following young ladies decided it was their duty; that they had sworn to Uncle Sam and even went so far as leaving home and friends:
Miss D. Greenhaut. Yeo. 2c (F); Miss F. Phair, Yeo. 2c (F); Miss H. Mussinan, Yeo. 3c (F); Miss C. Newton, Yeo. 2c (F); Miss M. Bissell, Yeo. 2c (F); Miss E. Reicherter. C. Y. (F); Miss A. Watson, Yeo. 2c (F); Miss M. Ballot, Yeo. 2c (F); Miss R. Friedman. C.Y. (F); Miss A. Tully, C.Y. (F); Miss I. Greene, Yeo. 3c (F); and Mrs. W. Gay, Yeo. 1c (F).
And the way they talk, they are not one bit disappointed in their decisions. To quote one, “I have found the men at Great Lakes to be very courteous and gentlemanly, on a par if not superior in conduct to their eastern shipmates. We are all going to see this thing through.”
They have a regular man-sized job to do. All-day long, the typewriters they use over in the aviation unit click away in the busy endeavor. And all day long, they pluckily work, forgetting their homes, some of which are a thousand miles away.
That is, they worked away persistently and bravely up to the day that they received their anti-typhoid injection, more commonly known as “shot” to the sailor bourgeoise.
Real "fellows"— It Was with Much Reluctance and Much Blushing That These Young Ladies Stepped before the Camera; in Fact, A“gold Striper" Had to Intercede on Behalf of the Recruit Photographer. After the Chief Yeoman (f) Pointed out That It Was for The “Good of the Ship," They Finally Agreed to Arise from Their Hard Polished Chairs and Stand at Attention for a Fraction of a Minute. Great Lakes Recruit, May 1919. GGA Image ID # 197339f72d
Then some of them, after taking the annoying injection, took a few hours respite, tackling their well-oiled machines before the swelling and soreness had stopped entirely.
So far, only one romance has developed. It is in the case of Mrs. Gay. While the war was waging in Europe, those mentioned above met a young Chicagoan at a church gathering. His name was W. Gay.
The young man had a craving for the Navy. He always did want to join long before the first gun had boomed on the Belgian frontier. Mrs. Gay agreed, and her husband was ordered to Great Lakes after his enlistment. From there, he was ordered east.
But his recent wife was not to be frustrated in her plans. She too went east, passed the examinations in New York for her Yeoman rating, and coincident with the orders her husband received to go “back home” to Chicago, with his release from active service, she too received orders to go to Great Lakes. So they came back on the same train.
The Gays are still all that their name implies. They live in Lake Forest, where the other eleven yeomanettes are quartered.
Three Chief Yeomen (F), the Misses Friedman, Reicherter, and Tully. Great Lakes Recruit, May 1919. GGA Image ID # 197347a585
“Girl Patriots at Great Lakes” in Great Lakes Recruit, Chicago: Great Lakes Athletic Association, Vol. V, No. 5, May 1919, pp. 12-13, 54.