View of Betty J. Reo
In the spring of 1945, I met a friend that had just completed training
as a weather observer. When I inquired about her training, she told
me that the Weather Bureau was hiring women to replace the men that
were going off to war. It was then I decided I would also like one
of the positions. I went to the Federal Building in Kansas City, filled
out an application, took the entrance exam and was accepted into the
war service training program. The training began with a three month
course in meteorology. A professor from the university of Kansas City
would lecture on certain days and on other days we were detailed to
the municipal airport for observer training.
end of the training period I was given two choices for a duty station.
One station was Norfolk, Nebraska and the other was Washington, D.C.
I chose Washington as I thought it would be an interesting place to
be during war time. My duty station was located at the analysis center
in the northwest portion of the city.
hoped to be placed at Washington National Airport, but there were
no observer positions available at the time. The duties were varied,
but I mainly worked as a chartist. Most of the employees were young
girls like myself and we worked rotating shifts of forty hours per
week. The salaries were very low in 1945, and the usual starting salary
was $1700 per annum. Trying to live in Washington on such a small
salary was a challenge. We all lived in a boarding house near the
office and two meals a day were provided with the rent. For the record,
my name at that time was Betty J. Madison.
two years, I decided I needed a change and transferred to the daily
map unit. During the night shift, we prepared the daily map for publication.
On the day shift I would pick up the printed map at the office and
travel to the U.S. Capitol Building. There I would draw the current
weather map for the senators and the House of Representatives. After
five years with the Weather Bureau and the war had ended, I married
an Air Force officer and decided to leave my position...I resigned
in June of 1950.
raising my family of three children, I decided to return to the Weather
Service in 1970 and was reinstated at the Los Angeles Forecast Office
as a meteorological technician. For a while I worked weekends as a
relief observer on the mountain station at Sandberg, California. Now
Sandberg is automated and my main station is Los Angeles.
enjoyed my time with the Weather Service and am now in my 25th year.
The technology has improved tremendously since the forties and promises
to be more interesting as the modernization plan develops. One last
observation, the salaries have greatly improved since those war years
but the cost of living also increased along with the impossible traffic
conditions here in beautiful Los Angeles.