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WAVES Air Navigators


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#1 cutiger83

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 07:48 PM

I found some interesting information regarding WAVES who wore Navigator Wings in WWII:

 

 

http://www.military....nt?file=PRwaves

 

U.S. Navy WAVES were the first American female military personnel whose duties were truly those of regular aircrew members.

 

Of the many thousands of individuals who wore wings and flew in support of America's massive war effort between 1941 and 1945, one small category has been virtually overlooked by the history books. America's unknown women fliers of World War II were a small handful of aerial navigation instructors in the U.S. Navy. The WAVES earned a place in aviation history as the very first American female military personnel whose duties were truly those of regular aircrew members.

 

The saga of how a small group of WAVES came to wear aerial navigator wings begins with a message distributed throughout Stateside naval bases in the early summer of 1943. A new class was formed at the NANS every two months, and by the end of the war at least 100 WAVES trainees had become qualified aerial navigators.

 

On March 30, 1945, the Navy authorized a distinctive gold wings insignia for rated air navigators (they had previously worn a 1920s-design "observer" wing), with a compass rose in the center over crossed anchors.

 

Since the criteria for wearing the insignia depended on current flight status, Burks believes that only about 80 of the WAVES navigators who graduated from NANS actually were able to wear the much-prized wings. "We found we had to carry a copy of the orders authorizing our wings on us at all times," she remembers. "Because senior officers might stop us and point out that we weren't allowed to wear our boyfriend's wings on our uniform. Well, seeing our orders would sort them out pretty fast!"

 

WAVEs Navigator.jpg

Wartime WAVES member Betty Turbiville, proudly wearing her navigator wings in the 1950s. Turbiville remained in the Naval Air Reserve until 1960, retiring with the rank of commander.

 

WAVES Navigators.jpg

 

Three WAVES navigators pose in a U.S. Navy flying boat at Naval Air Station (NAS) San Diego in August 1945. From left: Lieutenant junior grade Cecilia Heimlich, Ensign Helen Mayer and Lieutenant Elizabeth Allan.


Edited by cutiger83, 12 June 2015 - 07:55 PM.


#2 RustyCanteen

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 07:57 PM

Very interesting. I have to say I learned something new; and that is always a good thing.

 

Thanks for the link.

 

RC



#3 cutiger83

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 08:07 PM

Thanks for looking. I loved the story about the WAVE who was training someone who kept insisting he was correct. It speaks highly of the WAVES abilities that the pilot listened to her and changed the plane's heading.

 

...Kat



#4 Milkshake

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 08:15 PM

Never knew about WAVES, you learn new things every day...

 

Thanks OP.



#5 cutiger83

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 08:23 PM

Never knew about WAVES, you learn new things every day...

 

Thanks OP.

 

WAVES - "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" was established on 30 July 1942 as a WWII division of the US Naval Reserve.

 

These navigators were a very small part of the thousands of women who served in the WAVES during WWII.

 

...Kat



#6 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 03:37 PM

I had no idea there were WAVES wearing navigator wings at the end of the war. What a small margin. That is great information. 



#7 ChiefSosa

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 03:59 PM

Very cool to see an example in photo....if someone had a uniform with one on it they may call BS on it :lol:



#8 cutiger83

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 07:20 PM

I had no idea there were WAVES wearing navigator wings at the end of the war. What a small margin. That is great information. 

 

The WAVE navigators actually started in 1943. They didn't get their wings until the Navy authorized them in March of 1945.

 

...Kat



#9 cutiger83

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 07:22 PM

Very cool to see an example in photo....if someone had a uniform with one on it they may call BS on it :lol:

 

Even when they wore their uniforms during the war, they were called BS on them. :lol:   I found it interesting that they had to carry their orders with them at all times to prove they were authorized to wear the wings.



#10 cutiger83

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 07:22 AM

I found another picture of a WAVE Navigator. If you zoom in on her name tag, you can see where it even says "Navigator".

 

 

Lt. J.G. Jane Falls served as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Reserve Air Auxiliary Station at Camp Kearney, California.

 

WAVEs Navigator2.jpg



#11 bobgee

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 07:44 AM

Great info. Had never heard that WAVEs were rated and wore wings in WWII. Thanks for the ne knowledge. Bobgee




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