Willow Run Bomber Plant Needs Your Help


There is an effort at the Yankee Air Museum to save part of the Willow Run Bomber Plant.  Their currently trying to raise funds to save a portion of the old Ford plant that produced B-24 bombers during World War II at the rate of one per hour.  This plant employed 40,000 workers during World War II. Willow run produced more aircraft each month than the entire country of Japan did in a year. It showed the enemy that America’s industrial base was capable of switching from a peace time economy to wartime production. This plant built 8700 B-24 aircraft during the war.  This structure is as rare as any of the airplanes that were produced inside of it. It would be an exceptional place to house the Yankee Air Museum.

During the Thunder Over Michigan Airshow there was a great deal of activity promoting this project.  There was a group of ladies wearing Rosie the Riveter costumes moving through the crowds and posing for pictures.  While they put on an exceptional effort, there has been some independent work done also.  I had the opportunity to meet a pair of WASP pilots who were raising funds for this project.  Rhiann and Maggie were kind enough to take time off from flying their Mustang to pose for the picture at the top of this story.

We now have an opportunity to preserve this historic building and use it as a memorial for the more than 40,000 workers who labored there building B–24s.  It also is one of the few surviving World War II production plants.  The deadline has been extended until October 1st to allow raising a total of $8 million to preserve a portion of the eastern end of this historic plant. This part of the plant was where the completed bombers exited the building and headed to the ramp for flight testing, delivery to the US Government and eventual deployment overseas.  It would be an exceptional home for the Yankee Air Museum and their beautiful B-17 the “Yankee Lady” as well as their B-25, C-47 and other aircraft.

Fund raising has been going well and it appears as though the goal may well have be reached. However all contributions, no matter the size, are important. You can contribute is little as $50 to preserve one square foot of the plant.

More details and donation information are available at www.savethebomberplant.org.

The B-24 “Lousiana Belle II” is from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.  The B-24 “Joe” is owned by Kermit Weeks and is at the Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk City Florida.

You can contact the author Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@GMail.Com.

Mark Hrutkay

Mark has been a member of the International Association of Aviation Photographers (ISAP) for several years and attends all their events and seminars. He has won several awards for his work and has been published in several aviation magazines, domestic and foreign. You can contact Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@Me.Com.

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