‘America’s Longest Working Rosie The Riveter’ Elinor Otto (Age 98) To Fly In AF Plane She Built To Promote Diversity In the Workforce

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Elinor Otto began building airplanes during World War II as was one of the first women to step forward during WWII to do the jobs vacated by men who were called into service during World War II symbolized by the iconic image of “Rosie the Riveter.” “Even though we had to learn mostly on the job, we showed that women could quickly master anything we were asked to do,” said Otto, who began her drilling rivets as a single mother at age 22 until she was 95, earning the sobriquet of “America’s Longest Working Rosie.” “The plant closed down, or I’d still be working,” Otto said.Elinor Otto and Tuskegee Airmen Visit_MCF15-0017 SeriesToday at age 98, Ms Otto is helping to lead a campaign to create a living memorial to the Rosie’s in form of a national network of rose gardens that she hopes will inspire girls and young women to aspire to compete successfully in high technology economy of the 21st century. “I tell them ‘We Can Do It … Again!,” says Ms Otto, paraphrasing the tag line of the famous WWII Rosie the Riveter poster.

On Monday, December 18, the United States Air Force will be taking Ms Otto on a 2-hour flight aboard a C-17 Globemaster transport plane she helped build during the 50 years she worked at the Boeing plant in Long Beach, CA. Otto will fly with Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing and will include an all-female aircrew and an all-female aeromedical evacuation crew and the first female commander of Air Force Reserve Command, Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller Piloting the plane will be Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander, Air Mobility Command, .

WHAT: Ms. Elinor Otto, 98, known as “America’s Longest Working Rosie the Riveter” will fly with Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing and will include an all-female aircrew and an all-female aeromedical evacuation crew. Also flying will be Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander, Air Mobility Command, and the first female commander of Air Force Reserve Command, Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller. The plane is the last of the 279 C-17’s Ms Otto helped build during her career as a riveter.
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The Air Force Reserve will host Ms. Otto, Gen. Everhart, and Lt. Gen. Miller along with local Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets. Local elected officials have been invited to attend. The ceremony will be at March Air Reserve Base, California; entrance at the intersection of Cactus Ave. and Elsworth St. in Moreno Valley, today  December 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

WHY: Ms Otto is celebrating diversity with the Air Force Reserves first female commander and all-female crew for the Reserves 70th anniversary in April 2018. She will also mentor and teach the future military members, encouraging them to get involved in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics programs. The flight is a local air refueling and aeromedical evacuation proficiency training mission between the Air Force Reserves 452nd Air Mobility Wing C-17 and KC-135 Stratotanker.

The flight will begin the countdown to the official kick off of the campaign to create a national network of Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden to honor women who worked on the Home Front during WWII that will be announced on National Rosie the Riveter Day on March 21, 2018.

Elinor portrait photo
For more information about Ms Otto, please visit www.spiritof45.org/elinor_otto_.aspx;  For more information about the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Gardens campaign, please visit
http://www.spiritof45.org/rosie_the_riveter_memorial_rose_gardens.aspx

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: HBPR
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