March is Women's History Month: A look back at some San Diego women working during here WWII
In 1935, the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation relocated from Buffalo, N.Y. to San Diego moving into a newly built factory located along present-day Pacific Coast Highway, between Barnett and Sassfras streets.
Consolidated, later known as Convair, was responsible for building some of the most significant aircraft in aerospace history and for fifty years was the largest civilian employer in San Diego.
Employment reached its peak in 1943 with 41,000 employees, of which forty percent were women. Rueben Fleets motto “Nothing short of right is right” became a popular slogan posted around the plant, meant to instill pride of workmanship in its thousands of employees. The factory ran 24-7 for most of the war.
Employees worked hard to produce the PBY Catalina and the B-24 Liberator, with women involved in every phase. Women of all ages flocked to the plant to do their part to win the war. Consolidated provided comprehensive training to its new employees, most of whom had no prior technical skills in aviation work.
Camaraderie developed among the people in the factory, many were roommates, largely due to chronic wartime housing shortages and most shared in social activities. Many were married with their husbands serving in the armed forces.
Although riveting became the most recognizable job occupation for women workers, they also operated drill presses, welding tools, and heavy casting machinery as well. Women also played a major role in other fields of aircraft development, including chemistry and engineering.
For more information visit sandiegoairandspace.org. Be sure to put San Diego Air & Space Museum on your must-see list of places to visit. They house collections from the dawn of flight to today’s latest innovations. They also offer an Air & Space Summer Camp with programs for K-12. The San Diego Air & Space Museum is located in Balboa Park at 2001 Pan American Plaza. Phone: (619) 234-8291. sandiegoairandspace.org
Military News | San Diego Women's History Month