Yeoman 2nd Class - WAVES Mary Alice Wilkinson Name : Mary Alice Wilkinson
Rate : Yeoman 2nd Class
Branche : WAVES
Service : United States Navy
Entered Service from : Illinois
Date of Birth : Unknown
Awards : Unknown

Mary Alice Wilkinson's Story ...

As a civilian I had been volunteering in the war effort, working for the Red Cross and doing what I could to help. I decided I could do more by enlisting in the Navy. I was inducted in Illinois and went to boot camp at Hunter College in New York City. During my six weeks there, getting basic training and living in a sixth floor walk up, I was a member of the Singing Platoon. We sang at many publicity events for the Navy. At the end of the training period, we were given a battery of tests to match our skills and abilities with a future service assignment.

WAVES trainees parade behind their Color Guard

I qualified for Yeoman School, which I attended at Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater from July through September of 1944. Upon completion, I received orders to the U. S. Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut. I served there from September of 1944 until my discharge in September of 1945. I was assigned to the public relations office where I did secretarial work for the public relations officer. I interviewed returning submariners and wrote articles for the New London newspaper. Also, I worked part time for the captain of the submarine base.


at the Naval Submarine Base New London

The day I reported to the submarine base I met a young sailor named Bob Wilkinson. It was love at first sight! We were married in the chapel on the submarine base on 12 May 1945. The public relations officer "gave me away" as my father was unable to get to the ceremony. However, several of our family members did attend the wedding along with many of our Navy friends. My boss loaned us his car for our honeymoon, which consisted of a glorious three days in New York City.


Mary Alice & Bob Wilkinson "swept" through life together ...

A few weeks after we were married Bob had to report to Norfolk, Virginia, for Underwater Demolition Training. He had signed up for it several weeks before we met. I made the trip to Norfolk a few times- whenever I could get liberty. Bob was still in training in Norfolk when the war ended. We were so thankful that it was over. Bob had enough points to be discharged, which he was on 30 August 1945. Then he came up to the submarine base to be with me until I got my discharge a couple of weeks later, on 8 September 1945.

the telegram Mary Alice sent to her parents about Bob's discharge

Besides my story you can read the story of my late husband Bob Wilkinson in this same "veteran"-section.

Special thanks to Mary Alice Wilkinson and Jean Woolley
published June 4, 2006