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World War II


The United States enters World War II in December of 1941. As in World War I, the U.S. military and the Coast Guard assume overall control of the port security, with the Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service and the State Department maintaining port operations.

Non-uniformed women had been employed at lighthouses and ports of entry since the 19th Century. After the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor large numbers of women began joining the federal inspection services at the ports of entry, as the men went into military service.

Sunday, November 30, 1941 - 19:00
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The card and badge issued at the Port of New York to Customs Examiner Herbert H. Geller on Feb. 13, 1942.
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Identification cards were issued to everyone who had a need to enter the port zone and the ships docked at ports. Even local barbers brought in to cut quarantined foreign crews' hair on board ship had to have official identification cards.