Diary of a Rosie is written by Jeannette Gutierrez, a founder of Save The Bomber Plant’s “Willow Run Rosies.” I’ve had many adventures and heard many wonderful stories in the course of my work to help to save, preserve and renovate Rosie’s famed Willow Run Bomber Plant to be the future new home of the Yankee Air Museum. IF YOU LOVE ROSIE AND ALL THAT SHE STANDS FOR, please learn more and DONATE to save Rosie’s WWII factory and preserve it as a Museum at www.savethebomberplant.org.
Why Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant?
My name is Jeannette and I live in Michigan. I’ve been working very hard for the last 3 years to help save a small portion of the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant, east of Ypsilanti, as a future NEW home for the Yankee Air Museum. Willow Run is where 42,000 workers from all over the nation came together during WWII to build B-24 Liberator bombers for Ford Motor Company at the staggering rate of a-bomber-an-hour… and help win a war.
At the dawn of WWII, it was deemed impossible to build aircraft on an assembly line. It took Consolidated Aircraft one month to build a single B-24 by hand at their California headquarters. Henry Ford thought they could build the B-24 on an automobile-style assembly line, but the government and Consolidated were skeptical. Ford’s production genius George Sorenson sketched an aircraft production line overnight on hotel stationery. Ford got the contract, and that sketch became Willow Run.
Willow Run was utterly majestic, and a colossal industrial achievement. It was one mile long, five square miles in area, and was the largest factory ever built. It survived intact until 2013, when it was slated for demolition. Fortunately, the “Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant” Campaign succeeded in saving a 144,000 sq. ft. portion of this important piece of history from the wrecking ball in 2014. But now, we are actively raising funds to turn it into Museum!
Willow Run is the home of Rose Will Monroe, from Pulaski, KY, credited as being the original “Rosie the Riveter.” She was featured in WWII-era newsreels as the real-life character behind the propaganda icon.
Willow Run’s Southeastern Michigan location became known the world over as the “Arsenal of Democracy,” as automakers and suppliers retooled for war production. Willow Run, the crown jewel of the Arsenal of Democracy, produced more aircraft in a month than Japan could in a year. The American production miracle embodied by Willow Run was largely responsible for the swift and just resolution of the deadliest conflict in history.
Because Willow Run means so much to me, and because my father fought valiantly in WWII in the Battle of Okinawa, the most deadly conflict in the history of war, I dress up as Rosie the Riveter and attend local events to help raise awareness, and funds, for the campaign to Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant.
In the course of doing so, I meet many wonderful people, and hear the most amazing first-hand stories about the plant, the workers, and the war. I have met real, live wartime Rosie the Riveters, met World War II veterans, spoken with a man who had dinner with George Sorensen, met a woman whose mom was in charge of the “little people” at the plant… the list of fascinating people and stories grows every day. I am recording the stories here because they are too precious to be lost forever… just like Willow Run.