Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We Changed History for Women

Glenn L. Martin took an unprecedented step
by Katherine S.

Almost 70 years ago, in 1943, in the middle of the most devastating war in history, Glenn L. Martin took the unprecedented step of recruiting women to take the place of engineers who were leaving to serve in the armed forces. I was 18-years-old and one of those women chosen to work at the Martin Company's camouflaged plant in Middle River outside Baltimore. Hired, and sent to college to study aeronautical engineering in an accelerated program, then to Martin's training school in an overhauled warehouse on Redwood Street in Baltimore, we were then ready to take up our jobs in the Middle River drafting rooms, changing, updating and correcting original drawings of the Martin planes. I was assigned work on the A30 attack/reconnaissance plane, the B-26 Marauder and the JRM-1 Mars cargo flying boat, as well as later, the 210, a Navy carrier plane.

It was an exciting time and we were changing history, not only in countries around the world, but also in the lives of working women in the United States. It was here that I met my husband, who was an engineer working in Martin's flight test, designing instruments that would help to make the planes safer. I remember the long nine-hour days, the six-day work week, the round-the-year double-daylight savings time, as well as the dedication of all the men and women at "GLM," and the pride of being a part of winning the war.