This story really started back on 7 December 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and the US entered WWll. It also involved women who came to the fore to serve as well. And most readers of these blogs know of my deep interest in women who have served in Canadian and American uniforms in times of need... and more.
Rossie's grandparents (not her real name,) like so many Americans, came from far away lands, arriving from Austria.
This is not unusual throughout North America. Back in US Civil War days, thousands if not millions also served and had lineage going back to countries from all over the world. Making the point, not widely know is the fact that one in 4 of the CW Medal of Honor recipients were in fact born outside of the US. One in four! The numbers would be one in five in the medal's total history.
But Rosie was born in North Dakota. And as a teen she quickly came to realize that all the eligible boys, were now MEN and off at war. She was only 17 and wanted to meet boys, have some fun and adventure for the summer of 1943. So she took off with a sister and another friend and headed to the big city of Seattle. Surely there would be some boys there!
Picking were slim as most had quickly became men and were themselves also off to war. So taking on a summer job that would soon become much more, she got a few weeks training and then started a job at the Seattle Boeing Plant that was producing major supplies for the war effort.
Having been trained as a Buffer Riveteer She and so many other women started to work on building B17 airplanes. She and the others would be given various tasks and the very few men on site were there to keep an eye on their work and give ongoing trained as the days went on and on and on.
In later life she would remark that one of her jobs was working inside the wings of the plane in a very noisy environment. She would have a partner outside at the same location driving a rivet in and she had developed a code with one loud bang to move on to the next rivet, or with 2 knocks to pull out the last one out and redo it.
She did not mind the work though not excited about the whopping 93 cents she got for each hour worked. Half that that any males got. But having heard that Hitler had made a derogatory comment about the women of American, she got even more strength to carry on.
Apparently at some point he had stated that he was not too worried about battling the American men, as their women back home were spending too much time on..."cosmetics and silk stockings and frivolous things."
Here are some pictures of their frivolous adventures...
It has been said that these efforts produced 297,000 airplanes, 88,000 war ships, 372,000 artillery guns, 102,000 tanks, 44 BILLION rounds of artillery ammunition and small arms. Of the airplanes, some 6,000 B 17 bombers and even more B 29's were manufactured by these women.
The source of above gave no numbers for runs in their nylons, no doubt to Hitler's chagrin.
The reference also said that each of the women actually got to sign their names somewhere on the body of the craft, and even more impressive many got to participate in actually pushing it out of the factory onto the tarmac.
A very careful look at the plane shows many of the worker's signatures.
More of this story on Sunday.
Hope you will join me then Rosa, oops I mean Rosie.