Friday, May 31, 2024

Rally 'Round the Flag!

“Victory depends in large measure on the increased war production we are able to get from our factories and arsenals…This is total war. We are all under fire…soldiers and civilian alike-no one is a spectator. To win we must fight, and to fight, we must produce.”
~President Franklin Delano Roosevelt~

Wright Museum of WWII
More than 85,000.

That’s how many manufacturing facilities were involved in war production. From small plants with a couple of dozen employees to mammoth, multi-location corporations, companies across the nation either converted from consumer products to war matériel or expanded their already commercial organizations. The war industry paid well, and after the economic struggles of the Great Depression, employees were thrilled to be making high wages, but just as important to many was the feeling of patriotism from doing their part to support the war effort.

Patriotism was well and good, but in 1942, the U.S. government decided to recognize the good work done by businesses and their employees with the Army-Navy “E” Award. An earlier award, the Navy “E” award was created after President Theodore ordered an “E” to be painted in white on warship gun turrets for those crews that had performed well in the Spanish-American War. The “E” was also authorized for wear by the enlisted gun crews earning the award as a round patch with a white “E” worn on the sleeve above the cuff.

By the end of World War I, the Army “A” Award and the Army-Navy Munitions Board “Star” had
Wright Museum of WWII
been added, and the three separate awards continued until July 1942 when they were merged into a single service-wide award under the War Department.

Circular No. 228 was issued to announce the award which listed the many qualifications for eligibility including specific elements regarding quality and quantity of production:

  1. Overcoming production obstacles;
  2. Avoidance of stoppages;
  3. Maintenance of fair labor standards;
  4. Training additional labor forces;
  5. Effective Management;
  6. Record on accidents, health sanitation, and plant protection; and
  7. Utilization of subcontracting facilities.
For the Army, the nomination originated with the field procurement officer in regular contact with the plant, and the Navy followed a similar procedure. The boards for Production awards were comprised of high-level admirals for the Navy and colonels and generals for the Army.

Facilities that maintained an outstanding performance record for six months after receiving an “E” award were granted a Star award, indicated by a white star on the pennant. Additional stars could be earned by continued performance for subsequent six-month periods until the flag carried four stars, at which time the interval was increased to one year.

A total of 4,283 plants received the “E” award, approximately five percent of the companies involved in war production. Of that number, eight won six Star awards, four retained their original Navy “E” awards, and four retained their Army-Navy award. Seven hundred and sixty-three corporations received one star, 723 were granted two stars, 776 were awarded three stars, 820 received four stars, and only 206 were granted five stars. The final awards were distributed in December 1945.

One award not made until after the war because of its association to the Manhattan Project was to the RCA plant in Bloomington, Indiana that produced the top-secret VT proximity fuze, a fuze that detonates an explosive device automatically when it approaches within a certain distance of its (military) target. In fact, the project was so secret, employees making the fuzes were not told what the final products were or how they were used. Reportedly, the employees referred to the project “Madame X.”


The Mechanic & The MD

All’s fair in love and war. Or so they say.

High school and college were a nightmare for Doris Strealer and being an adult isn’t much better. Men won’t date a woman of her height, and they don’t understand her desire to repair car engines rather than work as a nurse or a teacher. When her father’s garage closes, and no one will hire a female mechanic, she joins the Red Cross Motor Corps, finally feeling at home. Until she comes face to face with her past in the form of Ronald McCann, the most popular boy in school.

On the brink of a successful career as a surgeon, Ron's plans crumble when he’s drafted and assigned to an evacuation hospital in England, the last place he expects to run into a former schoolmate. The gangly tomboy who was four years behind him in high school has transformed into a statuesque beauty, but a broken engagement in college leaves him with no desire to risk his heart ever again.

Will the hazards of war make or break a romance between this unlikely couple?

Linda Shenton Matchett writes happily-ever-after historical Christian fiction about second chances and women who overcome life’s challenges to be better versions of themselves. Whether you choose her books set in the Old West or across the globe during WWII, you will be immersed in the past through rich detail. Follow the journeys of relatable characters whose faith is sorely tested, yet in the end, emerge triumphant. Be encouraged in your own faith-walk through stories of history and hope.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today. It's nice to hear of a time when people and companies were proud to serve their country with excellence.