MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) – Although you’ll find women in the military now, that wasn’t always the case. 

During World War II the military needed them to fill non-combat positions. So, for the first time, all branches enlisted women. 

Louise Adams was one of them. 
 
If I had a chance, I’d probably go back! I questioned myself why did I come home.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

After graduating high school in Moundsville, Adams tried to enter the workforce, but it turns out life had other plans, pointing her in the direction of the U.S. Navy.

My mother wanted us, all she kept saying ‘get a job, get a job’. I tried two or three places and I just didn’t fit in.

So, I was going up Route 2, going towards Wheeling and there was a big sign up there ‘I want you’ or ‘I need you’, something to that effect. I’m gonna research that and see if they’d like me.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

Adams joined the Navy WAVES or Women’s Auxiliary Voluntary Emergency Service. 

After that it was boot camp in New York, which she remembers included marching and tests to find their specialties. Hers was numbers. That meant Adams was assigned to Pensacola, Florida working in payroll. 

The captain of the ship, he sent all of the information to us on the shore. When we got it done, we either took a small plane or a small boat and went out and had payroll.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

When the men were about to go on R&R, Adams explained that the ship’s captain would have them receive their pay on board so they wouldn’t have to wait when finally returning to the states. 

We would have to ask, tell me your name, and if their name was the same as the check, if it corresponded, they would have to make a little check mark.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

When Adams remembers working in the office she talks about her friends and her boss saying they “were all just like family”. Her boss treated everyone like family, taking the men and women on trips like deep sea fishing. 

At that time, the men didn’t accept the women in the service and he, the boys in our office, they had to walk the line.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

Just like the men, the women also had to follow strict Navy rules. Adams remembers keeping their uniforms and living quarters looking ship-shape. 

We had to live by the rules. We had an inspection. Here comes a lady Captain, white gloves. We had to stand at attention.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

When her service was finished, Adams came home. She then met her husband, Blane Adams, who also served in World War II. Together they started a family and had two children.

After attending the Elliott School of Business, Adams worked for Alfred Paul & Sons and then for the County Clerk’s office for 15-years. She became one of the first to learn to use the county’s automated voting machines.

Adams went on to do many things in her life, but she will always be part of a groundbreaking group of women.

I was determined to try to do what I think and if it hadn’t been for us they may not have got their pay.

Louise Adams, World War II Navy WAVES

 Adams also has some musical talents. She once played for country star Doc Williams. She remembers Williams thought Adams and her group were talented, but didn’t have a sport for them at the time. Adams still plays the ukulele and sings.