Monday, August 20, 2012

Roots Run Deep

The commitment to our nation spans generations
by Mary D.

Both my parents worked at Lockheed Martin heritage companies during the 1940s. My 90-year-old father, John E. Danze, worked full time at the Strategic Air Command under General Curtis LeMay. He made $50 a week, and says that was “great pay in those days.” Similar to today’s Indianapolis 500 car races, LeMay had races at Bellevue. There was a shortage of men—most had joined the service. They were building B-26 Martin Marauders and B-25 Mitchells for the war effort. There were always B-36 Pushers (biggest warplanes to wear American Stars) on the field with atomic bombs loaded on and ready to go! They flew daily from Omaha to Minneapolis for flight checks. It was a great job for a young man. They wanted to send him to New Finland Airbase. Instead, Dad served in the Coast Guard from 1942 to 1945.

In 1943, my mother, Bonnie (Johnson) Danze (who recently passed July 8, 2012) worked the night shift in the office at the Glenn L. Martin Bomber Plant, located south of Omaha, Nebraska, in Bellevue. She said she “was earning $50 a week. That was good money back then. They had lots of work to do. Lots of men were in or joining the service. Those with '4F' status (those who weren't eligible for service duty due to physical handicaps) were hired first. After work, I carpooled home to Omaha and would stop off for breakfast and dancing.” At age 19, she joined the Navy as a WAVE.

My parents, John and Bonnie, circa 1940.