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women in the weather bureau during world war 2


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Personal View of Anna (Ann) Easterly Halterman

From 1942 until November, 1946, I worked for the Weather Bureau-- first at St. Louis, Missouri (Lambert Field), and then Wichita, Kansas. I had two years of college and was studying to be an airline radio operator at the time. The Weather Bureau contacted the school and asked if any of the students were interested. I began working for the Bureau because personnel were needed and I felt it would be an interesting career. At the time I worked for the Weather Bureau, my name was Ann Easterly. I left the Bureau in November, 1946, to be married.

I had on-the-job training to be a weather observer. My duties were to draw weather maps, take hourly readings, answer phones, answer questions for the pilots, and do anything that needed to be done. I worked all three shifts. There were approximately twelve other people at my duty station. We worked eight-hour shifts - forty hours a week and sometimes more if needed - depending on the weather.

There were no problems with the other Weather Bureau employees. The best I can remember, morale on station was good--we knew we had a job to do and did it. I thought that working for the Weather Bureau during World War II was a very interesting and rewarding job at the time I left, radar was beginning to be used. I would choose to do it again because it's never dull. It was interesting work. One reason I liked it was it was always different, there were no two days the same. The weather was always different. I feel that one of my major contributions was standing shifts alone, when no one else could get to the station.

Twice the Flying Tigers needed ballast for their planes. After shifts I went with them a couple of times. Surviving as ballast for the Flying Tigers was one of the high points of my career. The low point was when there was snow and ice on the steps to the temperature shack; I missed the top step and slid all the way down and injured my back--I still have trouble with it after all these years.

When we were on duty at Wichita, Kansas, the wind would blow constantly and we had trouble sometimes getting the weather balloons to stay aloft and sometimes candle lites would go out and we would be unable to track them.

 

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