Code Class

Code class is in session at the radio school for WAVES, located on the University of Wisconsin, Madison, campus. The instructor (in the background) carefully times his messages for the WAVES, each in her own headsets and equipment.

The photograph comes from the National Archives.

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.

Madison, WI Part 3

The dramatic modernistic building in the background of this shot of WAVES marching is the “new” Union Theater located on the University of Wisconsin campus along the shores of Lake Mendota. The theater opened in 1939, and a decade after it’s opening the Madison Capital Times wrote:

The whole panorama of a nation at war and peace had been reviewed there.

The photograph comes from the National Archives.

Enlisted Training

In October, 1942, enlisted women also began training to become WAVES. Initially, three schools were set up on college campuses: Madison, Wisconsin, Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Bloomington, Indiana. Each would eventually become a specialty training center after the Hunter College boot camp was established in February 1943. University of Wisconsin, Madison trained radio operators. Oklahoma A&M University (now Oklahoma State University) was a training facility for yeomen. Indiana University at Bloomington trained storekeepers (interestingly, the school’s records indicate that the WAVES didn’t arrive until mid-1943 but the Navy and individual correspondence with women who trained there tell a different story).

This photo shows women arriving at the Madison, Wisconsin radio training school It comes from the National Archives.

Dance, Dance, Dance

Physical education took many different forms. These WAVES are square dancing their way to fitness.

The photograph dates from April of 1943. It was taken at the U.S. Naval Training School for Radio Operators at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It’s held in the collection of the National Archives.

WAVES also participated in sports teams which traveled to other bases and competed with women in various sports, like volleyball or basketball. Janette Shaffer Alpaugh helped organize those teams in the south. Read more about her work in physical activities for WAVES here.