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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Detroit Free Press: Rosie the Riveters return to World War II Michigan bomber plant

August 1, 2016
In The News

Her hands covered in oil, 18-year-old Phyllis Roullier assembled motor parts from morning to night at the Willow Run Bomber Plant to help win World War II.

On Monday, the now 97-year-old "Rosie the Riveter" of Belleville returned to the B-24 bomber plant's enormous remaining building.

"I used to like walking down to the end and see the planes taking off, because it made me feel really good to see they made it off the ground," she said. "We used to think how proud we were to see the work that we had accomplished."

She and Mary Jezowski-Serge, 93, of Allen Park were honored in a ceremony with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, who said their service made a profound impact.

"All of us stand on the shoulders of the Rosies that were there," Dingell said. "The men and the women stand on the shoulders of the Rosies who were instrumental to changing the future of all women, but they were also instrumental to the win of World War II."

She said she has Rosie posters in her offices in Washington, D.C., and locally, "because it's so important to me as to who I am and how I am here."

Last March, Dingell and U.S. Rep. Candice Miller , R-Harrison Township, welcomed an honor flight of Rosie the Riveters to Washington, D.C. But Roullier and Jezowski-Serge weren't able to go, so they had a special ceremony Monday at the Yankee Air Museum attended by about 40 people.

Roullier  assembled motor parts and hydraulics. She also described how she worked to get rivets into airplane skins. Jezowski-Serge worked in a Cadillac plant in Detroit building tanks, climbing on top of them to do welding, Dingell said, adding that she also worked at a Lincoln plant building airplane engines.

The two were among more than 310,000 U.S. Women — known as Rosie the Riveters — who joined the aircraft industry in 1943, comprising 65% of its workforce, she said.

The ceremony was held at the Yankee Air Museum on the east side of Willow Run. It was followed by a tour of the bomber plant, where work is under way to move the museum.

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