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Cold War Radar

Involvement Continues

1962 FCO 103 Graduating Class

FCO 103 graduating class, 1963

By the the 1950s and early 1960s half of the Fighter Cop personnel was women.

However, they saw their involvement reduced yet again in 1962 with the implementation of SAGE.  Less Fighter Control Operators were needed with the move to a semi-automatic system, and by 1964 no women were left in the trade.

Women again returned to the field in 1976 with the first three females (Danielle Poirier, Linda Dufour, and Murielle Leblanc, all privates) graduating Air Defence technology 171 Qualifications 3 (TQ3), course 7601. 

Other trades soon followed and in 1976 Private R.G. Wittaker became the first Canadian Forces female radar technician.

Women were also involved in the Canadian Forces' air traffic control beginning in 1972.  Their involvement grew and in March of 1977 at CFB Trenton, the first air traffic control shift containing only females occurred.

Women's Baseball at Clinton

Women's baseball at Clinton

The women who worked with radar came from a variety of backgrounds.  Some women had previous experience in other areas which aided them in their training.  For example clerks and typists who were good at handling information and plotting and telephone operators were familiar with radio/telephone procedure.  Others had no experience at all.

Some women joined because they wanted to work, others wanted to make friends, and others wanted to see the world.  No matter why they joined, these women were vital to radar in the Cold War.

Involvement Continues