World War II era WAVES
Occupations - Parachute Riggers



The rate of Parachute Rigger was absolutely vital to the safety of the wartime Navy's tens of thousands of pilots and aircrewmen. WAVES were trained for this function at Lakehurst, New Jersey, and subsequently stationed at a great many Naval Air Stations. In the service's early innocence concerning women's aptitudes, there had apparently been an belief that WAVES would be "naturals" in this function, since the sewing machine was one of its inherent tools. Though it was found that ninety percent of women recruits did not know how to use a sewing machine, this discovery did not hinder the training of WAVES as parachute riggers and their subsequent success in the job.

One problem that was successfully addressed concerned the ability of shorter women to work at the standard height parachute packing table. The Naval Aircraft Factory speedily developed higher-leverage parachute pack closing jigs that proved useful to male Parachute Riggers as well as to the intended users.

In addition to the work of inspecting, mending, packing and airing their silken charges, parachute riggers also made and repaired a variety of other fabric goods for Naval use. One of the job's qualifications, a jump from a plane using a parachute packed by the user, was prohibited for WAVES. However, after further experience, these jumps were made optional for women parachute riggers.

This page features views of World War II WAVES working as Parachute Riggers.

Images of World War II WAVES Aviation-related.


Click photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: 80-G-K-13812 (Color)

WAVE Parachute Rigger 3rd Class

Holds up the pilot chute, as she demonstrates parachute packing tools and techniques, during World War II.
Parachute bag lettering indicates that the location is Naval Air Station, New York.
Note her Parachute Rigger rating badge, and framed prints of contemporary navy life on the wall behind her.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 81KB; 560 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-K-3753 (Color)

Navy War Exhibit, New York City, November 1943

WAVE Parachute Rigger 3rd Class Myra Jean Clark poses with a parachute, by a recruiting poster display.
She is attached to Naval Air Station, New York (Floyd Bennett Field).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 98KB; 585 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-42411

U.S. Navy WAVE Parachute Rigger


At work in a Naval Air Station's parachute loft, during World War II.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 147KB; 590 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-150561

U.S. Navy WAVE Parachute Riggers


Carefully folding silk fabric, while packing a parachute at a Naval Air Station, November 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 615

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-227817

Parachute Riggers 3rd Class Pearl L. Pittelkow
and
Virginia Sibbald

Repacking a parachute at Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 78KB; 600 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-227818

Parachute Riggers 3rd Class Pearl L. Pittelkow
and
Virginia Sibbald

Repacking a parachute at Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 90KB; 600 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-K-14309 (Color)

Parachute Rigger 3rd Class Lorna Peterson, USNR(W)

Climbs out of the after cockpit of a Stearman N2S training plane, following an orientation flight at Naval Air Station, Ottumwa, Iowa, circa 1944-45.
The pilot is Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Keith W. Sharer, USNR, a flight instructor at the Station.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 81KB; 740 x 610

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





About Us | Privacy Policy | Webmaster | FOIA request | Navy.mil | This is a US Navy website