Gwen Settle was born August 16, 1944 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was born into a military family; her father had served aboard a corvette during World War Two, and her mother had been a nurse, and her aunt was a WD. The family relocated several times in early years, but upon completion of high school Gwen knew that she too wanted a life in the military, and she opted to become a WREN against the backdrop of the 1960s and the ongoing Cold War. She remembers that life in the navy had its pros and cons, and that as a young woman she was sensitive to the obvious gender-based discrimination that was taking place in terms of uniforms and duties and so on. Gwen did special training on the SOSUS system in Key West, Florida, and for much of the rest of her service, she worked on the top secret radar equipment searching for Soviet submarines, something that had taken on great significance in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Gwen served honourably before leaving the military to pursue her studies and to rejoin civilian life, but she – like so many other Cold War era veterans – has not received a military medal for her efforts. Crestwood students were able to meet Gwen Settle over zoom in April 2022, and we thank the Memory Project for facilitating this discussion.
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