Second World War: B-17 Flying Fortress

Boeing employee recalls the changes effected by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and our entry into the Second World War.

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The cultural aspects of the people of every part of the world were unalterably changed by the Second World War. Especially after the Japanese attack on the United States Naval Station at Pearl Harbor and adjoining Army Air Corps bases near Honolulu. These specific events propelled the world's major nations into the greatest armed conflict in recorded history. I shall always remember the events immediately following that attack on December 7, 1941. 

At the time, I was living in Seattle, an employee of the Boeing Airplane Company involved in the final assembly of the B-17 Flying Fortress.

All radio programs the day of December 7 were given to news that was related to what had taken place and directions that would be affecting us in the days to follow. A total blackout would be in effect from 10 p.m. until half an hour after sunrise. Also, all employees of the local defense industries were to report for work at their usual time.

These directives left an indelible impression upon me. One can hardly perceive how dark a big city can be or the difficulty in driving through the city in complete darkness. In the very early ghostly dawn, we could make out and were transfixed by the military encampment encompassing the plant.

Shortly before arrival at the factory, we were greeted by military personnel challenging us to produce proper identification. Approaching the factory entrance, we were challenged by machine-gun emplacements and instructed to come to authorized

gates tomorrow or be subject to military action. After gaining access to the premises, we were kept out of the buildings until half an hour after sunrise to comply with blackout orders. This was the norm for several weeks.

From that time on, many major changes greeted us. The technological breakthroughs brought about during the War projected the world into civilization's most rapid advances ever experienced.

It is ironic that the world's greatest military struggle improved the overall welfare of the world's citizens.

Homer Nevermann      
Seattle, Washington

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.