US Navy, 1970-77
Our next Woman Warrior of Ohio hails originally from North Baltimore. Peggy Trout was the first-born child to Fred and Dorothy Trout in 1951. She was followed by siblings Teresa, Fred, Angela, Michael and Dani who they adopted. (Fred and Dorothy were foster parents for many years.) Fred made his living by farming and Dorothy ran the house and nurtured their children.
Peg graduated in a class of 58 from North Baltimore High School in 1969. She loved high school, participating in choir, playing the clarinet and trumpet in band, and was active in the Girl Scouts. Her one regret was there were no women sports at her high school back in 1969.
(Growing up Peg had spent many hours sitting with her great Aunt Flora who had joined the WAC’s in 1942. Flora had operated a beauty shop in North Baltimore when at the age of 37 decided “my country needs me”. She would serve as a communications specialist in the 8thArmy Air Force HQ in England. She shared her stories and scrap books with the young Peg. This would affect Peg’s choices after high school graduation.)
Not ready for college and knowing a college education would be more expensive than her family could afford, Peg joined the US Navy “WAVES” on January 23, 1970 to “see the world” and also qualify for the GI Bill. (WAVES: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) She was sent first to the US Naval Training Center at Bainbridge, Maryland for boot camp. (She remembers initially being housed in old WWII barracks before being moved into brand new barracks.)
Next stop for Peg was Millington NAS in Memphis, Tennessee where she trained in Aviation Maintenance Administration. After completing training Peg was assigned to the VR1 Transport Squadron, based at Norfolk NAS, Virginia. Her squadron was responsible for the maintenance and repair of C130, C131 and A3 aircraft. Peg handled paperwork, records, repair orders and correspondence for the command maintenance officer. Now an E-4, Peg loved Norfolk for its beaches, her many good friends and it was only a ten-hour trip home. “It was great duty!” She was stationed there for 14 months before being transferred to the Naval Air Facility located on Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Her new duty station consisted of a single hanger which housed A-3’s that had been modified to carry “brass and big wig” passengers. Peg’s new duties included managing junior personal in maintenance control, briefing pilots of the condition/status of their aircraft, write up repair/work orders and submit them to the maintenance repair crews. Peg also served at this station for 14 months during which time she advanced to E-5 and was also recognized as Sailor of the Month in February 1972.
From 1973 to 1975 Peg was assigned as the Women’s Navy Recruiter in the Cleveland, Ohio office serving the northern half of the state. She was part of a team of recruiters that kept busy visiting high schools and colleges, usually on “Career Days”, answering questions and being a “face” of the Navy trying to encourage young women to look at military service as an option. Peg handled many facets of enlisting women recruits into the Navy including explaining jobs and training options, preparing all necessary paperwork and was the last face they would see before they headed off to Orlando for boot camp.
Even though there was still a very strong “anti-war” sentiment on campuses, there were very few issues between students and the recruiters. Peg remembers one high school cafeteria where the recruiters were answering students’ questions, while under “fire from spitballs!” One more serious incident occurred when the recruiter’s food was found to be “sabotaged.” Peg really enjoyed this duty interacting with the students and she was much closer to home and family.
When her recruiting assignment ended Peg headed to Miramar NAS, near San Diego. Now a Second-Class Petty Officer she again had a supervisory role in maintenance control duties in Fighter Squadron VF-121. It was a RAG (Replacement Air Group) that trained Navy F-4 Phantom flight and maintenance crews. Many pilots were then assigned to the VF-124 ‘Top Gun’ F-4 squadron there at Miramar. Peg loved the duty and the location, with all the sunshine and available beaches.
In 1977 Peg ended her contract with the Navy. Taking advantage of the GI Bill she stayed in Southern California, attended Mesa Junior College earning a two-year degree in Physical Education/Education.
“I knew I always wanted to teach so I enrolled at San Diego State University completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1982.”
Peg returned to Ohio spending a year at Bowling Green State University to qualify for a teaching certificate. She delayed becoming a teacher for a year taking instead a professional position with the Girl Scouts office in Cincinnati. Her role was to recruit, train and support girl scout leaders and camp leaders/counselors.
In 1984 Peg accepted her first teaching job at Mason High School located in a small farming community north of Cincinnati. For the next six years she taught classes in Physical Education, Health and coached the softball and volleyball teams to very successful seasons. She also earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Xavier University in Cincinnati during this period.
San Diego still beckoned her. She returned to accept a high school assistant volleyball coaching position and was also a full-time traveling substitute teacher for the district for two years. When the brand-new magnet school, Vista Academy of Visual and Preforming Arts, opened its doors, Peg joined the middle school staff teaching PE, Health and Photography. She would stay at the school until 2010, retiring from teaching after a total of 26 years.
In 2002 Peg had undergone fusion back surgery which sidelined her for six months. She took advantage of the time enrolling in Professional Photography Certification classes at the UCSD extension campus. A Family Portrait class assignment in which Peg focused on her Aunt Flo’s WWII service picture had a life altering effect on Peg. She began collecting stories and taking pictures of WWII women veterans at a local veterans retirement home. One story led to another and Peg was soon traveling the country collecting the amazing stories and experiences of these pioneer women in military history who had served as nurses, aircraft mechanics, pilots and many other crucial roles.
In 2008 Peg was able to publish her collection of stories in a book titled, “Sisters in War: Remembering the Women Veterans of World War II”. It includes 53 stories of women willing and anxious to share their personal experiences during their military service. Each story is powerful and unique. (Peg’s book can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other book seller websites.)
After Peg retired from education she did not slow down. Staying in the San Diego area Peg was drawn to the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier commissioned one week after WWII ended and served for 47 years. It was docked in the San Diego Bay and made into a museum. She completed volunteer docent training and would spend over 2500 hours guiding tourists around the mammoth ship from 2012-2017.
Life has taken Peg east to Tennessee to be closer to family. Here she continues to serve her community through volunteering. She works with a riding academy that provides therapy for persons with disabilities of all ages, in addition to Wounded Warrior groups.
Thank you, Petty Officer Peg Trout, for selflessly serving our country, our students and our veterans! Smooth Sailing!!