Cryptologic WAVES in World War II

Women in U.S. Navy Cryptology

Purple, Enigma, Ultra, & Bombes

The first Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) were assigned to OP-20-G in late 1942.

  • In December 1942, there were 7 WAVES (all officers) and 1,011 men assigned to OP-20-G.
  • By July 1943, the number of WAVES had increased to 1,630 (96 officers/1,534 enlisted) while the number of males had decreased to 910 (269 officers/641 enlisted).
  • As OP-20-G continued to expand, the number of WAVES billets increased to 2,469 by December 1943 (361 officers/2,108 enlisted).
  • By February 1944, the number of WAVES had increased to 2,813 (406 officers/2,407 enlisted); the number of males on duty had decreased to 821 (374 officers/447 enlisted).