Veteran Salute: Eureka WAVE answered Uncle Sam’s call in WWII

Veteran Salute

Throughout WWII women contributed to the war effort in many ways.

The Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES, were part of a unit of the Naval Reserves.

One of the WAVES calls Eureka home.

Mary Ellen Mock says she was growing very bored with her job as a teacher, so when the opportunity opened for women to enlist she did so.

Mock and her husband John met through a Disabled American Veterans’ event, and both have stayed very involved with veterans’ organizations, since their service in WWII.

“Uncle Sam, you know, kept pointing his finger every time I went to the post office,” WAVES member Mary Ellen Mock said.

Mock said she understood the need for support here at home.

“So one day I answered him ‘yes, I’m coming,’ so I enlisted,” Mock said.

She said following boot camp, she was sent to more boot camp.

“That’s where we went out to the football field and uh, hum, 2, 3, 4, hum 2, 3 4,” Mock said.

Mock said she put in for flight training.

“But I didn’t get it, because I suppose because I was a primary teacher, they didn’t think I could learn, to fly,” Mock said.

She learned the ins and outs of the post office and would soon land in the fleet post office in San Francisco.

Her desk was better known as the H-tub.

She said sorting and re-addressing all that mail was quite the task and so was her supervisory role.

She said they all knew better than to complain about the tasks at hand.

“They’d say you just don’t gripe, because next to family, mail is the next most important to those guys out there in the battlefield,” Mock said.

In support of those in battle, Mock was one of more than 80,000 WAVES, who answered Uncle Sam’s call.

“I was happy doing it. I felt like I was doing something good,” Mock said.

After serving her country for two years, Mock went back to school and got another degree.

She said she then started in high school special education, a job she loved for 20 years.

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