Aviation Specialists

Aviation was considered one of the “glamour” specialities for enlisted WAVES and SPARs. Women worked alongside men at Naval Air Stations, and were often involved in training pilots and gunners or maintenance of planes.

Aviation Specialists

Gunner’s Mates

Gunner’s mates (GM) are responsible for the operation and maintenance of launching systems, gun mounts, and other ordnance equipment, as well as small arms and magazines. WAVES and SPARs trained men in the operation of the systems, including launching from ships or planes at moving targets.

(name withheld)

This WAVE asked that her name not be used publicly. She worked as a gunnery instructor in Pensacola, Florida.

Her oral history interview was conducted at her home in Oregon in 2007.

 

Pat Connelly

Pat Connelly was from Appleton, Wisconsin and became a Specialist G (gunnery) in World War II. She served in Pensacola, Florida.

Her oral history interview was conducted March 20, 2007 at her home in Portland, Oregon.

Betty Mae Barnard Daly

Betty Mae Barnard Daly was from the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) and followed her sister into the Navy. She served in San Diego.

Her oral history interview was conducted July 13, 2007 at her home in Corvallis, Oregon.

Josette Dermody Wingo

Josette Dermody Wingo was originally from Detroit, Michigan, and was stationed in San Francisco as a gunner’s mate. She’s the author of the book Mother Was a Gunner’s Mate.

Her oral history interview was done August 2, 2007 in her home in Oxnard, California.

Pat's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Pat talks about growing up, enlisting in the WAVES, and how she became a gunnery instructor. Click here for more.

Part Two

In this section of her oral history, Pat talks about her job with the WAVES, the end of the war, and the WAVES legacy. Click here for more.

Part Three

In the final section of her oral history, Pat discusses her military training and her family. Click here for more.

Betty's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Betty talks about growing up and working as a gunnery instructor in the WAVES. Click here for more.

Part Two

In this section of her oral history, Betty discusses her experiences in the WAVES as well as after the war. Click here for more.

Aviation Specialists

Link Trainer Instructors

The Link Trainer was a flight simulation unit produced from the 1930s through the 1950s. WAVES and SPARs used it to train pilots in the skills of instrument flight. A similar simulator was used to train pilots in cellestial flight navigation.

Edna Jean Clark

Edna Jean Clark was from a small town in Oregon and trained as a schoolteacher before becoming a Link Instructor in the WAVES.

Her oral history interview was conducted on July 16 and July 31, 2007, at her home in Eugene, Oregon.

Dorothy “Dot” Forbes Enes

Dot Forbes Enes grew up in Connecticut and wanted to enlist in the military as soon as she graduated from high school in 1942. She trained pilots in Lake City, Florida.

Her oral history inteview was conducted in two parts. The first was aboard the Carnival Cruise ship Conquest on September 23, 2006 during the WAVES National Convention. The second was at her home in Ellington, Connecticut, August 18, 2007.

Patricia Jones Miesner

Patricia Jones Miesner was a child during World War II and learned about the WAVES. She ended up enlisting in 1953, just after the end of the Korean War, and stayed in the Navy until 1957.

Her oral history was conducted April 17, 2007 at her home in Vancouver, Washington.

Jean's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Jean discusses growing up, enlisting in the WAVES, and being selected as a LINK instructor. The interview was conducted on July 16, 2007. Click here for more.

Part Two

In Part Two, Jean talks about her experiences training military men in instrument flight. The interview was conducted July 16, 2007. Click here for more.

Part Three

In this section of her oral history, Jean talks about her experience on the Naval Air Station base and her post-WAVES life. The interview was conducted July 31, 2007. Click here for more.

Dot's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Dot discusses growing up and enlisting in the WAVES. The interview was conducted on September 23, 2006. Click here for more.

Part Two

In Part Two, Dot talks about her training and work as a Link Instructor, leaving the miliatry, and her post-war life. The interview was conducted September 23, 2006. Click here for more.

Part Three

In this section of her oral history, Dot talks about the legacy of the WAVES. The interview was conducted August 18, 2007. Click here for more.

Patricia's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Patricia discusses growing up and getting assigned to air traffic control. Click here for more.

Part Two

In Part Two, Patricia describes what life was like on the job. Click here for more.

Part Three

In this section of her oral history, Patricia talks about the Korean War and leaving the military. Click here for more.

Part Four

In final section of her oral history, Patricia talks about the legacy of the WAVES. Click here for more.

Aviation Specialists

Machinist’s Mates

Machinist’s Mates were responsible for planes, both upkeep and matenanace as well as working on the runway with active aircraft.

Agnes Ruther “Scotti” Phillips Feeley

Coming Soon

Scotti Phillips Feeley picked up her jaunty nickname while serving in the WAVES. She spent her World War II career in Naval aviation, working as a machinist’s mate and also as a parachute rigger.

Patricia Pierpont Graves

Pat Pierpont Graves first learned about the WAVES when her father brought a recruitment borchure to her Connecticut home. She knew from the start that she wanted to work on planes, and served as a Machinist’s Mate.

Her interview was conducted July 10, 2007 at her home in Florence, Oregon.

Lois Jean Linder

Lois Jean Linder had experience flying planes before enlisting in the Navy, so it was no surprise to her that she was assigned to be a Machinist’s Mate. Her interview was done with her friend and fellow WAVE Betty Bruns Lord.

The oral history interview was conducted at Jean’s home in Avon, Massachusetts on August 19, 2007.

Jean and Betty's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Jean and Betty talk about their lives before and during the WAVES. Click here for more.

Part Two

In this section they talk about the post-war years and the WAVES legacy. Click here for more.

Aviation Specialists

Other Aviation Jobs

Other aviation jobs held by WAVES and SPARs included air traffic control, weather forecasting, and parachute rigging.

Phyllis Jensen Ankeney

Phyllis Jensen Ankeney used her sewing skills as a Parachute Rigger during World War II. And she says, contrary to a rumor going through the WAVES at the time, she never had to use her ‘chutes to jump out of a plane.

Her interview was conducted at her home in Beaverton, Oregon, in 2007.

Liane Rose Galvin

Liane Rose Galvin grew up in Southern California, and as a child was a part of a special school that helped underpriviledged girls attend college. When she enlisted in the WAVES, she was assigned to be an Aerographer’s Mate, or a weather forecaster.

Her oral history was conducted July 26, 2007 in her home in North Bend, Oregon.

 

Violet Strom Kloth

Violet Strom Kloth remembers seeing a recruitment poster of a WAVE in a control tower, and decided that would be the perfect job for her. The Navy agreed.

Her oral history was conducted September 22, 2006 aboard the Carnival Cruise ship Conquest during the WAVES National Convention.

Phyllis's Oral History

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Part One

In Part One, Phyllis talks about growing up, enlisting in the WAVES, and going to boot camp. Click here for more.

Part Two

In this section, she talks about training as a Parachute Rigger, her on-the-job experiences, and the WAVES legacy. Click here for more.

MORE WAVE AND SPAR STORIES

Other Elite Specialties

Storekeepers

Yeomen

Officers

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