US Ecology recently contributed services and support to a very special Michigan project called the “Save the Bomber Plant” campaign. The campaign is dedicated to renovating the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant where the B-24 Liberator bombers were built from 1941-1945. The re-purposed plant will become the new permanent home of the Yankee Air Museum and its historic flyable World War II-era aircraft, including the majestic Yankee Lady B-17. The museum will have new exhibits and innovative programming that will celebrate Willow Run’s unique history, share the excitement of flight, spark an interest in manufacturing and technology, and benefit the local community.
The Willow Run Bomber Plant has a tremendous history that needs to be preserved and US Ecology is excited to help with this restoration effort. The company, along with our employees, supported the campaign by donating the resources to prepare the museum for new exterior paint. We provided power washing of the bomber plant hanger which involved removal, collection and safe disposal of paint chips and wash water at US Ecology’s Michigan landfill. We supplied equipment such as power washers, vacuum trucks and water supply trucks as well as operators, field technicians, field supervisors and safety personnel for the project.
Assisting on this project was also personally gratifying for US Ecology employees; many of them grew up in the area and are familiar with the history of the bomber plant and how important it was to Michigan and the country during WWII. We pride ourselves in being active in the community and we are thrilled to contribute to programs such as this to preserve local history for future generations.
The Save The Bomber Plant Campaign was created to preserve a critical portion of the plant and then use it to tell the amazing story of Willow Run to future generations. The Willow Run Bomber Plant was considered one of the finest and most ambitious “American Production Miracles.” Willow Run’s ability to produce aircraft quickly was critical to winning WWII. It was the first aircraft manufacturing plant to build bombers on an assembly line. Henry Ford, his engineers and builders, and the dedicated workers that flowed into Michigan from every state and territory, proved that not only could bombers be built on an assembly line, they could be produced at the astonishing rate of one per hour. Previously, it took about one month to build one bomber.
Willow Run was at the front and center of social change in an extraordinary era of expanded opportunities for men and women. Willow Run employed 42,000 workers including an unprecedented percentage of women factory workers called Rosies. It was the largest factory under one roof in the world, offered equal pay for equal work and firmly laid the groundwork for sweeping social change.
Willow Run, with its unique history, offers unsurpassed learning opportunities for children and adults to learn about local and national history, the changing American workforce, the story of creating “just-in-time” manufacturing, and the economic and social development of this region.