Gunner’s Mates

Like Link Instructors, WAVES who served as Gunner’s Mates were often former teachers. The job involved teaching men to shoot at moving targets, often from a moving location, such as a ship or plane. In training the women learned not only how to give instructions, but also how to operate the sometimes-cumbersome guns safely, often loaded with live ammunition.


When I look back what intrigued me was the tests, the battery of tests that they gave us. I had a very nice gal who finally interviewed me. She made me feel good. Of course, she said with my bad eyesight I wasn’t eligible for control tower. The next billet that was was Link Trainer and they didn’t have any openings. So she put me in gunnery, aerial gunnery.

– Ann Holder (Andavall), World War II WAVE

We went through the same program that the men did. We shot machine guns, shot guns, pistols. We did the whole program as if we were going to be gunners. And then those who went on, sometimes to a more advance gunnery. We were the very, very beginning. How to aim was what it really was. That’s why we shot guns and machine guns. How to aim. And we were teaching how to aim at planes coming.

– Pat Connelly, World War II WAVE

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