The Triangle Seagals, a unit of the WAVES National organization, is a group of women who answered the call to serve their nation in military service. Any former or present member of the Navy, Naval Reserve, Navy Nurse Corps, Marine Corps or Coast Guard is eligible for membership in the Triangle Seagals.
The Triangle Seagals, which was chartered in the Triangle area in January 1997, has 22 members. Of those members, three served during World War II, while others served during the Korean War, the first Gulf War.
The WAVES became a division of the United States Navy during World War II and consisted entirely of women. WAVES stands for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service” and when World War II ended, the women were not expected to end their naval careers.
However, the members of the Triangle Seagals did not just serve in World War II combat.
“We are all ex-Navy, plus one ex-Marine and live all over the tri-county area as well as the State of North Carolina (even one member who lives in SC!),” Triangle Seagals President Norma Schrader said. “Most of us were enlisted personnel but we do have a few who were officers.”
Schrader said many people in today’s society do not understand what the WAVES organization stands for and how many women paved the way for others serving in the Navy.
“The acronym, WAVES-Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services, was discontinued in the early 1970s. Today, when those of us have an opportunity to chat with our young counter-parts mention that we were WAVES, we are rewarded with a “duh?” look on their faces,” Schrader said. “They never heard of us. Women in the Navy today are ‘sailors’, just like their male counterparts. But when they realize what paths we opened for them, they are astounded.”
Schrader said she would encourage all women to serve in the military.
“There are so many more opportunities today for women in all the services that are the result of what we did “way back when”! I certainly would urge young people today to enlist in any one of the services for at least one tour of duty before going on to college.” According to Schrader, the Triangle Seagals meet six times a year, usually at 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning, in various locations within the Triangle area.
“It gives us an opportunity to get together, exchange experiences, and keep up with events that could affect us. We try to have speakers at our meetings to help us do just that.”
To find out more about the Triangle Seagals go to http://sites.google.com/site/triangleseagals/Home or call Schrader at 919-303-8205.