HomeNewsArticle Display

World War II laborer champions ‘Rosie the Riveter’ legacy at Pentagon, Capitol Hill

Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Headquarters Air Force director of staff, gives Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter a tour of the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., March 20, 2019. Krier was accompanied by Dawn Goldfein, the spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Headquarters Air Force director of staff, gives Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter a tour of the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., March 20, 2019. Krier was accompanied by Dawn Goldfein, the spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter, arrives at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., for her first-ever visit March 20, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter, arrives at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., for her first-ever visit March 20, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Gwendolyn DeFilippi (left) the Headquarters U.S. Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for manpower, personal and services, and a Rosebud, takes a moment to speak with Ms. Dawn Goldfein, spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Mae Krier an original Rosie the Riveter during Krier’s first-ever visit to the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., March 20, 2019.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Gwendolyn DeFilippi (left) the Headquarters U.S. Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for manpower, personal and services, and a Rosebud, takes a moment to speak with Ms. Dawn Goldfein, spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Mae Krier an original Rosie the Riveter during Krier’s first-ever visit to the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., March 20, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Headquarters Air Force Director of Staff Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Headquarters Air Force director of Staff, gives Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter, a tour of the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., during her first-ever visit March 20, 2019. Krier was accompanied by Dawn Goldfein, the spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Headquarters Air Force director of Staff, gives Mae Krier, an original Rosie the Riveter, a tour of the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., during her first-ever visit March 20, 2019. Krier was accompanied by Dawn Goldfein, the spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Adrian Cadiz)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --

When it comes to symbolizing the influx of women in the workforce and the wave of patriotism and feminism that surge sparked during World War II, few American icons are more recognizable than “Rosie the Riveter.”


Artist J. Howard Miller’s 1942 poster, featuring a bandanna-donning, blue-collared woman with the famed flex beneath the rally cry, “We Can Do It!” grew over time to represent millions of women who stepped up to fill various stateside labor-intensive jobs once held by men, now tapped to fight German and Japanese forces.


The notable efforts of the woman workforce that led to the eventual U.S. victory in 1945 inspired one of the last remaining original “Rosies,” Mae Krier, to carry their story to the Pentagon March 20 to advocate for long overdue recognition on Capitol Hill March 21, with a “Rosie the Riveter Day of Remembrance,” incidentally aligning with her 93rd birthday. She said she hopes lawmakers will not only recognize the day, but award them the Congressional Gold Medal for their service.


After all, the story of her journey is, fittingly, a riveting one, decades in the making.


The world changed on a shocking Sunday Dec. 7, 1941, as 183 Japanese warplanes attacked Hickam Field, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In its wake, the disaster left 2,433 dead, destroyed 18 U.S. warships and 188 airplanes. President Franklin D. Roosevelt immediately responded with a call to war.


Krier recalled coming home to find her parents shaken and huddled next to the radio as news of Pearl Harbor spread, and just days later Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States.


“We were fighting wars across two oceans and I remember thinking ‘I’m not even sure I know where Pearl Harbor is; I don’t think many of us did,” she said. “In small towns the boys enlisted right way … and America was full of holes, because so many never came back.”


On a lark, Krier, a Dawson, North Dakota, native, traveled by a no-frills “troop train” to Seattle to produce the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Superfortress bombers during the war. She said traversing miles was not unlike the endeavors of her grandparents, themselves hearty pioneers who didn’t fear a change of scenery.


“Now that the boys had left, we girls thought we would get into the act also,” she said of the adventure she, her sister and a friend took. “I remember the train windows were open and the steam and soot would come in the windows.”


The notion of steady work appealed to men and women alike, as many American families still teetered financially following the Great Depression and the Great Dust Bowl. Mothers, daughters, secretaries, wives and even schoolgirls picked up the factory duties the men had left behind.


“Before the jobs came, we struggled, we suffered, everyone did,” she said. “But that was life – and I don’t think it hurt me.”


Once at Boeing, Krier said she had no idea how much larger-than-life the Rosie icon would become. “We worked because we had a job to do … it wasn’t my job, your job, it was our job -- we had to save our country.”


And, she noted, it was only after the war was over that the posters skyrocketed in popularity.


Dawn Goldfein, spouse to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, hosted the Pentagon tour with Krier, noting her story can inspire a “We Can Do It!” attitude among new generations of young women around the world.


“Mae is an American treasure, a true iconic legacy who knows what it means to be a part of something bigger than herself and give back,” Mrs. Goldfein said. “Girls and women of all ages can benefit from her extraordinary story and be inspired to change the world as she and all the Rosies did.”


Today, military and civilian women hold positions of power across the globe, signaling a new and irreversible era of positive change in the women’s rights and equality movement.


“It’s so amazing for our generation to see this because my mother only got the right to vote when I was about 4 years old,” Krier said. “I’ve lived through 16 presidents but never thought I’d get to see and experience the things I have today.”


Now, Krier who was married to her husband, Norm for nearly 70 years, before his death, is a mother, grandmother and great-great grandmother. They met during a jitterbug dance in Seattle in 1944 before they wed in 1945.


When the Air Force chief of staff and dozens of Pentagon workers surprised her with a visit and a birthday cake, Krier wasted no time reminding him of her contribution to the U.S. war effort many moons ago.


“They never lost a B-17 because of a bad rivet,” Krier said over applause and laughter.

Engage

Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall, @GenCQBrownJr & @CMSAF_official visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (@jointbasemdl) today to thank s…
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: Medical professionals assigned to @RamsteinAirBase and Rhine Ordnance Barracks, #Germany, began mass administering vaccin…
Twitter
#ICYMI, DAF senior leaders and their spouses participated in a Leadership & the Family panel during #ASC21 held at… https://t.co/FZOnzruyw4
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: U.S. #Airmen from various organizations within USAFE-AFAFRICA participated in Falcon Leap 21, a multinational parachute tr…
Twitter
Hear why this #Airman chose to get vaccinated. @SecAFOfficial directed the COVID-19 vaccine implementation guideli… https://t.co/154QECoeXk
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Doing frequent mental health check-ins could make a big difference in building resiliency. Promote wellness within yourself…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Every time I look at "Wings Through Time” by Robert Emerson Bell it’s a constant reminder that the ability to accelerate…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: If you need help or know someone who needs help - text 838255 or call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the Military Crisis Line. Let…
Twitter
RT @US_TRANSCOM: A @usairforce KC-135 refuels a B-2 Spirit in @US_EUCOM during a bomber task force mission.Tankers fuel the required reach…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A senior leader message during #SuicidePreventionMonth: "You are our greatest strength and the beating heart of our Air…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Congratulations to the @USAirForce’s 12 Outstanding #Airmen of the Year on earning recognition as exemplary performers i…
Twitter
RT @RealAFOSI: 1/ #DidYouKnow Sept. is Insider Threat Awareness Month? No environment is immune from the threat posed by trusted insiders.…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Sharene and I take the caring and well-being of our Airmen and their families very seriously. Thank you @AirForceAssoc fo…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Everyone wants to make their mark on the world. But why make just one? https://t.co/g1iX4pzU9b
Twitter
10 years have passed since #DontAskDontTell was repealed. @UnderSecAF Gina Ortiz Jones celebrated the milestone by… https://t.co/i1kTNvykzM
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: It’s going to take all of our Airmen, Active-duty, Reserve and Guard to secure this nation’s future. https://t.co/4P3CUiQ…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: A few years ago, only two small businesses joined us at AFA--this year we have 40+. @AFWERX works with these companies ever…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF is meeting with defense industry leaders today during the @AirForceAssoc’s #ASC21 events. In his #OneTeamOneFigh
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,377,904
Follow Us