75 Years Ago: Women Making WAVES

By Katie Van Riper, National Museum of the American Sailor Intern

“I hope you don’t worry about my joining the Waves for it has already been worth millions of dollars to me.  I wouldn’t take anything for it all.”  — WAVES Recruit Araminta Richardson to her mother, July 1943  Continue reading


Navy’s STEM Program Sparks Growth in Education Techniques

STEM Workshop at NSGL 1

Navy’s STEM Workshop at Naval Station Great Lakes, March 15, 2017

By Erik Wright, National Museum of the American Sailor Education Specialist

Within the education world, standards are constantly changing, material and curriculums are always being updated, and we’re learning more and more about our physical and natural world on an almost daily basis.  But with the increasingly busy schedules of teachers, rapidly growing class sizes, and ever shrinking budgets, how and when are educators supposed to find the time and resources to stay relevant and up-to-date on educational standards and training?  This is a question the Department of the Navy (DoN), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the education department of the National Museum of the American Sailor grapple with in an effort to ensure that our nations educators have the necessary tools and training to produce the highest caliber students possible (students who might become future sailors and leaders). Continue reading

Goats are Good Luck for Navy and the Cubs

NH 122773 Great Lakes Baseball Team, 1918

Great Lakes Baseball Team, 1918. George Halas is in the top row, 5th from the right.

By Martin Tuohy, Archivist, and Dan Smaczny, Contract Curator, National Museum of the American Sailor

Every April, hope springs eternal on baseball’s opening day.  The American entrance into World War I on April 6, 1917, however, plunged the baseball season into a national emergency.  In Chicago, the Cubs baseball team – and the U.S. Navy – responded with fervent patriotism.

On April 12, 1917, six days after U.S. entry into the war, the Navy sent sailors from U.S. Naval Training  Station, Great Lakes to Weeghman Park,

Continue reading

The Mother of Naval Station Great Lakes

MoffetBeginning in 1908, when Congress authorized a female Nurse Corps of the United States Navy, women began to officially serve their country in times of both war and peace. Since then, whether they are civilians, enlisted personnel, or Naval officers, the women of Naval Station Great Lakes have etched their places into the history of this base through both word and action.   One of these women is known as the “Mother of Naval Station Great Lakes. Jeanette Whitton Moffett was the wife of Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, commander of the Great Lakes Naval Training Station from 1914 to 1918. She reported to Great Lakes with her husband in September of 1914. Initially, she settled into a ladylike social life and focused her attentions on raising her 6 children, but soon found other outlets for her energies.

Continue reading

Rated M

2-22 M Rating

Specialist (M) Third Class patch on the uniform of Thomas Francis Martin 

The U.S. Navy’s rating system is always in flux. As new technology replace old, new rates are created and old ones become obsolete. In other cases, old ratings are merged into a new rating. Such is the case of the Specialist (M) rating, which existed for only two years (1942-1944). A recent donation of q uniform with the Specialist (M) Third Class rating led us to investigate this now-defunct rating.


A variety of Specialist ratings existed in the Navy from 1942-1948. These were made to accommodate special skills needed in wartime that didn’t fit into the ratings structure already in place. Specialist (M) was created for Navy mail clerks. This became the Mailman rating in 1944.  But just four years later, Mailman, along with Radioman, Telegrapher, Specialist (Q) (Registered Publication Clerks), and Yeoman, became a part of the job function of the newly-established Teleman rating.

Continue reading

Partnering for a Purpose

2-8 Homeless vetMembers of the Armed Forces, regardless of the branch they serve in, form a bond during their initial days of enlistment. They look out for one another during training, down-time, deployments, and everything-in-between. This fellowship is not only woven into the fabric of the uniforms they wear, but also into the principles and characters of these individuals as they perform dangerous duties day-in and day-out.

Continue reading

Worth a Thousand Words

1-11 LeavingForHike-WWIPostcards have always been one way to share an experience.  But a century ago, they were virtually the only way to share an experience.

Recently we took a look at how postcards were the text messages of their day, focusing on the depth of emotion that Naval Station Great Lakes recruits were able to convey in only a few short sentences.  But a look at the back of a postcard only tells half the story.
Continue reading

Old School Communications

12-28 -1912For most recruits, their time is Naval Station Great Lakes is their first time away from home. They take on new experiences and carry the memories of the loved ones they’ve left. For some, it’s a wonderful time of adventure. For others, it’s a difficult transition. This has been the case since recruits began arriving in 1911. Before the days of texting and social media, Sailors shared their thoughts and experiences on postcards and in letters.

Continue reading