Association Seeks Local Rosie the Riveters’ Stories

Kathryn Shudak was interviewed in 2014 in the 55th Civil Engineer’s conference room, which is located in the same Glenn L. Martin Bomber building where she worked during World War II as one of many Rosie the Riveters. A Council Bluffs native, Shudak spent the three years following the Pearl Harbor attacks riveting B-29 Bombers at the Martin Bomber Plant at Offutt Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger)
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

The American Rosie the Riveter Association is seeking to identify women who worked on the home front during World War II.

The organization wants to record their stories, especially those narratives of historic value that have never been told, and place the accounts in a national archive.

“Thousands of women worked to support the war effort as riveters, welders, electricians, inspectors in plants, sewing clothing and parachutes for the military, ordnance workers, rolling bandages, clerical, farming, and many other jobs such as volunteer workers collecting scrap metals and other critical materials,” according to a news release from the group.

The Omaha area in particular has a history of Rosie the Riveters stepping up to assist the war effort, with more than 400 women at one point working at the Glenn L. Martin-Nebraska Bomber Plant at what’s now Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue.

Of those them was Kathryn Shudak of Council Bluffs, according to a 2014 news release from Offutt’s 55th Wing. Shudak said she was inspired to help any way she could, and she was hired for 60 cents an hour for a 12 to 8 a.m. shift at the Martin Bomber Plant.

“We were coming out of the depression, there is still high unemployment and there weren’t many jobs and 60 cents an hour was almost unheard of,” Shudak said. “My father was an engineer for the railroad and he was only making 25 cents per hour.

“When I went to work there, I was absolutely scared to death. We were all very conscientious about our job. Anything we did was inspected to make sure it was OK.”

The plant built a total of 1,585 B-26 “Marauders” and 531 B-29 “Superfortresses” before the end of World War II. It ran three shifts, 22.5 hours a day, six days a week, and the Rosies and other workers recorded 33 consecutive months of meeting or exceeding production goals.

“The American women did a tremendous effort for the war,” Shudak said. “Everybody just wanted to do their part.”

Women, along with descendants of women, who worked during World War II can call 1-888-557-6743, email or visit for information on sharing their stories.

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