Careful Timing

Radio coding class is in session, in this photograph from the National Archives. The University of Wisconsin Madison was one of the first training centers for WAVES to open, beginning in October of 1942.

In this photo, the instructor (in the foreground) carefully times his rate of sending coded messages with his timer, which is in his left hand.

Classroom Coding

A sea of young women in headsets – that was typical of how WAVES learned the skill of radio coding at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, one of the first training schools that opened for WAVES in fall of 1942.

The photograph comes from the National Archives.

Top Secret Assignment

WAVE Patricia Farrington Siegner worked in an underground bunker when she was stationed in Hawaii, coding and decoding military messages:

I couldn’t tell my mother where I was.  I have, I have in these letters, I’ve got cut outs, paper dolls where the censor took stuff out.  And of course it went over once it looked like we were going to sign armistice they didn’t have so much censorship.  But I couldn’t tell her where I was. So I said, she wanted to know. And of course it would have been cut out. So I told her, “Think about your favorite fruit.” She loved pineapple (laughs). And she got it right away.  You see, it was a territory then. It was not a state, so it was different, entirely different.  Entirely different.  We were in the center of the Pacific Theater War.

This photograph of WAVES in Hawaii comes from the National Archives.