Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Story Begins as a “Rosie the Riveter”

I remain eternally grateful for the journey
by Verna W.

In early spring 1942, at 20 years old, I became Lockheed Clock Number 028784, working as a “Rosie the Riveter” on swing shift in Department 10, Plant B1, Burbank, California. I was one of the first females on the Hudson Bomber final line, bucking rivets at 65 cents hourly. My next job was installing no. 10 fillets on P-38 center sections and oxygen plumbing into their booms. I then had a brief stint in P-2 mock-up at $1.35 per hour before layoffs began in 1946.

In 1951, I returned as a married woman with a husband in the VA hospital and a little girl to raise. I came back to the same job, same pay, same supervisor. The P-2 mock-up morphed into a P-3. I was upgraded to plumbing and hydraulic installer in 1951 at $1.85 hourly, until upgrading later to parts catalog analyst and, subsequently, to junior engineering writer in June 1966, leading to a funny story.

My new supervisor was skittish about having a “girl from the shop” in his more intellectually inclined department. He made me take the management test, although the men in my same job classification were not required to do so. When my score of 135 turned out to be better than his own, there were no more problems!

My final job upgrade was to a salaried aircraft specifications engineer in October 1968, a nice gift for my 47th birthday. It paid $182.32 per month. I held that position until having to take early retirement disability retirement in 1978.

Working for Lockheed was educational, demanding and an experience for which I remain eternally grateful. Thank you.
The Hudson Bomber Takes to the Air

Hudson Bomber Assembly: I Was There in 1942