Spotlight on Veterans: Navy Women in Parachute Rigger Training

There aren’t many schools that include jumping out of an airplane as part of your final exam, but that’s just what these women parachute riggers had to do in 1951. Women sailors in the Navy went through the same training as men at the Parachute Materials School at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey.

Women sailors prepare for a parachute jump at the end of their parachute rigger training.

Women sailors prepare for a parachute jump at the end of their Navy parachute rigger training.

These graduates of the program were responsible for preparing parachutes to be used during the Korean War. Though the newsreel below refers to the women as “WAVES,” they were not members of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, but permanent regular members of the United States Navy, thanks to the 1948 Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.

120,000 women served in the United States Military during the course of the Korean War, with 1,000 in theater. You can learn more about our women veterans from the website of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and this 2011 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

About Heidi Holmstrom

Heidi works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives.
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