Air Force Plant 3, also known as the Tulsa Bomber plant, was dedicated on August 15, 1942. Located on 750 acres east of the municipal airport, the 4004-foot-long and 200-foot-wide assembly structure provided over 800,000 square feet of floor space.
A Burlington Northern RR spur line brought the raw materials and partially assembled aircraft into one end of the building, and completed aircraft emerged from the other end. The plant operated under blackout conditions.
These are some of the workers on a lunch break:During WW II, the plant was run by the Douglas Aircraft Company, producing A-24 Dauntless dive bombers, B-24 Liberator strategic bombers, and A-26 Invader medium bombers.
My grandmother, Elva Robertson, came to Tulsa in 1942 from the Beechcraft Plant in Wichita where she had trained, worked and eventually taught. She took classes at Irvin Aircraft Schools here in Tulsa, 1115 S. Harvard Street. This was probably in preparation for her new job at the Tulsa Plant as an inspector.
When she first came to Tulsa, she lived in various hotels downtown as did many.
From the Beryl Ford Collection: B & B Transportation offered a service that transported 60-70 workers from 10th & Boston to the various shifts at the Douglas Air Plant. This is a semi truck pulling a trailer which served as a train coach. This service began in 1942 and ran until the end of the war.
An article ran in the Tulsa World on November 26, 1942 about the women who worked at the plant here.
That is my grandmother standing on the ladder:
In one of the many letters she kept, written to my father who was training to be a Naval pilot and my uncle who was in the Army:
June 17, 1942 Wichita
“We are working 10 hours a day. I also go to school 2 hours every night then I go to an instruction class 2 hours every morning on company time. 15 women out of about 2,000 were selected to train new employees…..
“I’m still the only lady inspector on final assembly, but I expect we will get some before long. I’m just mentally fatigued as well as physically- it’s such a strain all the time for fear- you’ll pass something up and endanger someone’s life.
“I’m so tired I can hardly write but I just think what you are doing and it gives me strength and courage to go on. I know you feel that we are backing you 100%. I’m trying to put a tenth of my salary into War Bonds. So honey, you “forge the thunder bolts” and mother will build the planes to follow up. Just know I’m trying to do my bit- in the way I see fit- and may God speed the day we’ll all be together again.”