Country Girl to Factory Worker

Assembling C-47s

War's End and Reflections


Nita Fay Overby was born near Manitou, Oklahoma in 1925. During the Great Depression [Annotator's Note: the Great Depression was a global economic depression that lasted from 1929 through 1939 in the United States]. The local bank was about to close so her father went to the bank to get out as much as he could. He hid his money in a cigarette can in the basement. Her parents were farmers so although they had a hard time during the Depression, they always had something to eat. Her mother canned and she often shared with the local community. Many neighbors bartered with each other. Overby grew up with a brother and sister. Her brother eventually bought a farm in Indy, Homa [Annotator's Note: Indianapolis, Oklahoma], where Overby attended high school. She thoroughly enjoyed her high school and the other students. Everyone treated each other well and there was no division in economic classes. She was very active at her school. After the news of Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941], the boys at her school were eager to graduate so they could enlist into the service. Overby had the same feelings as the boys and wanted to go into nursing. Her brother-in-law talked her out of joining the nursing program. She later heard about an aircraft plant [Annotator's Note: The Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company Plant] in Oklahoma City [Annotator's Note: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma] and her brother-in-law brought her to town to get her set up. She found Mrs. Morrison's Boarding House in the downtown area and rented out the last room in the house. Her brother-in-law took her to the employment office to fill out her application. She was immediately hired. She worked in the Production Control Department where she assembled parts such as dome lights. She was relieved to find that her supervisors were very kind, which settled her nerves on the first day.


Nita Fay Overby began working for an aircraft plant [Annotator's Note: The Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company Plant in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma] in 1943. She only trained for one day. She worked in the Production Control Department where she assembled parts for the C-47 [Annotator's Note: Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft]. The plant was very large. Overby worked the swing shift six days a week. On her Sundays she attended church and often went to the park. She sometimes went to the USO [Annotator's Note: United Service Organizations, Incorporated] dances in Oklahoma City. She often talked and danced with the Navy sailors, then they would walk her home. When she got off work, she would catch a midnight show. She felt like she was paid a lot for her work. A price of a war bond [Annotator's Note: debt securities issued by a government to finance military operations and other expenditure in times of war] was taken out of her check once a month. The conditions at the plant were very good. She felt safe and the place was clean. She does not recall any problems with workers and management or any accidents while working at that plant. Overby would sometimes hear of problems by other women at the plant, but nothing like sexual harassment. Overby began working at the plant after she finished high school in 1943 and remained there until after the war ended in 1945. Overby stayed about three months at the plant after the war ended to record inventory. She had a job waiting for her at the phone company after she was done with the inventory. Overby really wanted to go into nursing and when her application was accepted, she planned to get her physical and begin training, but her older brother did not approve of it. He picked her up and brought her to Washington D.C. Overby did not stay there for long. She got on a bus and returned to Oklahoma City to work for The Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company Plant. When she returned to the plant, she was moved to the hangar and enjoyed doing work there. She eventually was given her old job back in the Production Control Department.


Nita Fay Overby worked for an aircraft plant [Annotator's Note: The Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company Plant in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma] during World War 2. Her plant often gave them tickets to shows and concerts. After the war concluded, Overby left the aircraft plant and began working for a telephone company where she later met her husband. Overby enjoyed her work at the plant and gave her an opportunity to do something else besides working on a farm which had done all her life. Overby did not ever feel like a hero doing a man's job. Her experiences working at the plant changed her by making her grow up. She was away from home and doing something new. It was a blessing to have a group of girlfriends she confided in when she felt homesick. The war allowed America citizens to bond and cope with what was going on and felt like they were fighting for the country. She had a desire to go into nursing, but her family did not approve of it. She befriended a lot of women from the plant and from the boarding house she stayed at. She was the only girl from her high school that came out to the plant to work. Her parents were worried but knew that Overby was doing a good thing. She believes there should be institutions like the National WWII Museum [Annotator's Note: The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana], and they should continue to teach World War 2 to future generations because so many Americans sacrificed their lives for the country. She knew her job at the plant had a purpose and she knew her efforts counted to those men in combat.

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