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Alice Scheske –Then and Now

Alice Scheske of Antioch, Il, toured the Great Lakes Museum at 610 Farragut Avenue in Great Lakes, Il with the Alpha Nu and Beta Upsilon chapters of Delta Kappa Gamma. This was a very special treat for Alice because during part of WWII, Alice called Great Lakes Naval Base home.
Her road to becoming a WAVE began in 1944 . Women had to be 20 years old to enlist. Alice turned 20 on October 13, 1944, and enlisted on Oct. 16, just 3 days later. Alice was in boot camp in New York at Hunter College and went on to Hospital Corps School in Bethesda, Maryland. Then from 1944 until 1946, Alice served as a WAVE ( Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) at the main hospital where she was a pharmacist’s mate. She ended her Navy career at the Navy’s Camp McIntire Building at Great Lakes. Alice said she remembers the beautiful barracks built for the WAVES near Camp McIntire.
The WAVES (also known as the Women’s Reserve) was formed in 1942. This allowed women to serve outside the secretarial realm in an official uniform capacity. Over 100,000 women enlisted. Led by Mildred McAfee, the WAVES expanded women’s roles in the Navy They served as air traffic controllers, artists, bakers, couriers, cryptologists, draftsmen, hospital corpsmen, lawyers, meteorologists, and translators at naval shore commands across the nation and overseas. The Navy commissioned women officers and others served as gunnery instructors. When WWII ended in 1945, women continued to serve, paving their way to become a permanent part of the Navy. Today, more than 54,000 active duty women and 10,000 female Reservists are serving the Navy, making up almost 18% of the force.
Alice was privileged to be a part of such an impressive group of women whose careers helped our country in so many ways. Members of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society were proud to have Alice accompany them on their tour of the Great Lakes Naval Museum. Alice sums up her time in the military by saying, “I wanted to see the world, but instead, saw I Great Lakes.”




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