Honoring Paulie Griffin, a real-life “Rosie”
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Robert Griffin, Paulie Griffin’s first husband, came home from work at Lockheed Aircraft and said, “Well, I enlisted in the Air Corps because they need help and they need pilots and that is what I am going to do to help the war effort.”
At this time, Paulie was a stay-at-home mother with two children. However, the money paid by the service was not enough to sustain a family. So, Paulie went to live with her parents and work with aircraft manufacturing. Paulie, with the invaluable assistance of her mother, was able to move jobs while following Robert across the country.
Eventually, Paulie would settle again with her parents in Sacramento, California and work at McClelland Air Depot. “I was one of the smaller gals in the group and I was able to get up into the tight places, even into a P-38. I would go up there and do the riveting and do the parts that had to be attached to the actual airplane.” Paulie said in her 2002 oral history interview with the museum.
When asked further about her experience working on the planes Paulie reminisced about working, not only on P-38s but also B-24s and B-17s. “The B-17s were quite new at that time and as soon as they were manufactured they were out the door and sent to the base. Some women, at that time; their job was to fly the airplane to the field or wherever it was going to be used. I thought that was so exciting.”