Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) and the Assembly Minority Conference hosted a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ event today to honor women from across Long Island who, during World War II, supported the war effort by joining the American workforce in manufacturing plants that produced munitions, tanks, planes, ships and materials needed to support our troops serving overseas.
“With so many men going off to fight on the front lines at the height of World War II, our country needed to fill critical industrial jobs here at home,” said Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick. “These brave women overcame traditional stereotypes, took on jobs at steel mills and lumberyards, and helped keep morale high overseas.”
When American men began enlisting for military service shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a shortage in the workforce was created at many factories across the country including Grumman Aircraft and Republic Aviation on Long Island.
Rosie the Riveter, a fictional character immortalized by posters supporting the war effort and a song of the same name, helped to recruit more than six million women to join the American war effort on the home front between December 1941 and early 1944. Rosie became a cultural and feminist icon and was the result of the most successful advertising recruitment in American history.
The fictional Rosie was inspired by a real life Rosie, whose name was Ms. Rose Will Monroe, born in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1922. During the war, Rose moved to Michigan where she worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory building B-29 and B-24 bombers. She was eventually asked to star in a promotional film and was featured in a poster campaign about the war effort at home.
During the war years on Long Island, the leading employers of Rosies were Grumman Aircraft and Republic Aviation. Grumman has been a part of the Long Island community since it was founded in Baldwin during 1930. As the company grew and expanded, they moved to Valley Stream in 1932, then to Farmingdale a year later and eventually ending up in Bethpage in 1936.
Grumman’s main aircraft production during the war was the F4F Wildcat and its replacement, the F6F Hellcat, both fighters, and the TBF Avenger, a torpedo bomber. The plant in Bethpage concentrated on producing the F6F Hellcat.
Republic Aviation, based in Farmingdale, was responsible for building the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter. There were more Thunderbolts produced than any other plane during World War II.