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Elinor Otto with Patriotic Pinup Girls during a visit to Chula Vista, CA where she began her career as a riveter in 1942
 
"Feeling fine at 99!"  
 
 
Meet Elinor Otto
America's Longest Working Rosie the Riveter
 
 
R.Riveter joins the campaign! 
 
 
 
Elinor and signature R.Riveter handbag at March Air Field Museum 
 
Keeping up with Elinor
 
Elinor celebrates her 99th birthday
 
Elinor was flown to Washington, D.C. by American Airlines to celebrate her 99th birthday with several guest appearances.  
 
  • On Saturday, she helped honor Lt.Col. Dick Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, during the American Valor Awards Banquet and was given a standing ovation and a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.
  
 Presenting AVC scholarship.  Honoring Lt. Col. Dick Cole.  Enjoying "Happy 99th Birthday, Elinor!"
  • On Sunday, she joined Madeleine LeBeau and the Girl Scouts of Greater Washington DC to dedicate the first Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden to be planted at a Girl Scout camp to help kick off the next phase of the campaign 
 
 
Elinor Marie Otto began her career as one of the original "Rosie the Riveters" in 1942, at Rohr Aircraft Corporation in Chula Vista, CA. during World War II.  A single mom with an infant son, she earned 65 cents an hour.
 
 
 Elinor at 22 when she began work at Rohr Aircraft working as a riveter building parts for aircraft used in World War II.   (Left) Her first paycheck, dated January 15, 1942, less than a month after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, making her one of the very first Rosies.
 
After the war ended, Elinor briefly held other jobs, but quickly resumed her career as a riveter, working for the Boeing Corporation.
 
  
Elinor on the assembly line at Boeing plant in Long Beach, CA where she worked for nearly 50 years as a riveter. 
 
She put her rivet gun down for the last time in November 2014 at age 95 when the company closed its Long Beach, CA manufacturing plant where she worked on virtually all of the C17 transport planes that Boeing built for the United States Air Force.
 
She received three job offers within the next six months! 
 
"America's last Rosie" prides herself on still being fully independent at age 98, (she continues to drive and live in her own home), and is an inspiring example of the Spirit of her generation.
 
Elinor has been a Spirit of '45 Day national spokeswoman since 2011,
helping to promote awareness of the role women played during WWII and how the legacy of the "Rosie's" helped lay the foundations for expanding opportunities for women in America.  She especially enjoys speaking to young people and is frequently featured in the national media.
 
 
In 2017, Elinor launched a national campaign to create a living memorial to these women and is now the Honorary Chairwoman of Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Gardens Campaign.  
 
Elinor makes frequent guest appearances at events around the country to raise public awareness and participation in Rosie Rallies on Spirit of '45 Day, and speaking on behalf the women of her generation who made history on the Home Front during WWII.
(for more interviews, scroll down to "Elinor in the News")
 
 
 
Elinor with Air Force service personnel who joined her on December 18, 2017 at March Reserve Air Base for an historic flight in one of the C17's she worked on during her years at Boeing.
 
 
   
 Promoting "Rosie Rallies" during Spirit of '45 Day weekend.  Planting first community Rosie Rose Garden.  Dedicating Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden at March Air Base Museum.
 
Elinor & Friends 
        
 
Elinor's Vision - A National Living Memorial to the Rosies I want to personally thank everyone who participated in National Rosie the Riveter Day this year by planting the first generation of Rosie rose gardens in your communities to help inspire a new generation of 21st century Rosies who can succeed in the high technology workplace and be leaders of the future. We Rosies made history. Now its YOUR turn!
 
Awards & Recognition
  
 Elinor received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Air Force Association National Convention.  Elinor received the 2016 Lillian K. Kael Award from the American Veterans Center.  Receiving the Key to the City of Morris Plains, NJ, during a Memorial Day barnstorming tour in 2018.
 
Elinor's AFA Lifetime Achievmeent Award Acceptance Speech
 
 Elinor accepting 2016 America Veterans Center Lillian K. Kiel Award in Washington, DC
 
Elinor in the News         
 
 
 
Elinor in Action 
On August 11, 2018, Elinor toured Rohr Aircraft where she began her career as a Rosie in January 1942, less than a month after the December attack on Pearl Harbor.  She wore her employee badge.
 
 
 
With rivet gun, being interviewed by Jeff Hulewitz, UTCAS Communications Director, touring Rohr history exhibit and Elinor's original Rohr employee badge.
 
 
 
With Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, speaking at Veterans Home, enjoying Spirit of '45 Day event at the San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial
 
Elinor concluded her whistlestop tour with a visit to the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, CA, to dedicate its Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden that has been planted in the museum's outdoor Heritage Courtyard.
Spirit of '45 transported accalimed artist Seward Johnson's sculpture of the icon "Rosie Pose" to the Museum for the June 9th ceremony, where it will remain through the summer.
 
The event was organized by the museum director Paul Hammond, and featured remarks by Elinor, Spirit of '45 National Supervisor Warren Hegg and Tyler Worley, representing the Air Force Association and its the Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings collegiate service organization. Paul led a Q&A session with Elinor after the ceremony.
 
 
 
Museum Director Paul Hammond with Rosie re-enactor, Elinor, and Tyler Worley, representing the Air Force Association and the Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings
 
Two weeks of nonstop public appearances, speeches and photo ops.
 
"I guess that's why they call them our "Greatest Generation!"
 
 
Elinor finally takes a rest!
  
 
On her return to California form her 2018 Memorial Day barnstorming tour, Elinor paid a visit to legendary TV and film writer and producer Norman Lear at his Beverly Hills office.
 
Norman flew 53 missions in a B17 that was built by Rosies. He received a poster photo of himself that is carried in the New York City Veterans Day Parade each year by young women dressed as Rosies.
Norman has been a strong supporter of Spirit of '45 and was invited to help Elinor achive her vision of a national network of rose gardens that will stand as a living memorial to the women who made history on the Home Front during WWII.
 
 
 
On Friday, June 1, 2018, Elinor capped her East Coast week of "whistle stops" by joining Girl Scouts who dedicated New York's first Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden at the WWII Memorial in Battery Park.
 
The program was organized by Battery Park City Girl Scout Troop #3302 Leader Linda Lecomte and attended by dozens of New York Girl Scouts, and included special guests, including Warrie Price, President and Founder of The Battery Conservancy, Terri Ruyter and Alexis Querques, Principal of The Battery Park City School PS/IS 276,
and a local Rosie who worked as a welder during WWII.
 
Elinor spoke briefly to the group before helping lay a wreath in honor of the men who died in the defense of America during WWII whose names are engraved on the large oblisks of the Memorial, which looks out on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
 
The event highlighted the theme of "Rosies Roses = STEMS" with a presentastion and information table encouraging Girl Scouts to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Service to their community.
 
 
 
 
Despite inclement weather, in the late afternoon of May 31, 2018, Girl Scout troops came out to meet Elinor at the Rosie the Riveter Memorial that stands in front of the former Curtiss-Wright airplane factory in Wood-Ridge, NJ where thousands of Rosies worked during WWII.  They were joined by Councilwoman Catherine Cassidy and AFA representative Howard Leach.
 
The Rosie the Riveter Memorial was created by artist John Giannotti for the Somerset Development Corporation which has rennovated the factory, and is one of only three memorials to the women who made history on the Home Front during WWII.
 
 
The Scouts will be planting Gardens in their area during the coming months and pledged to make their community a model for the rest of New Jersey.
 
 
 
 
Elinor spent the afternoon of May 31, 2018, with staff and volunteers of the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey.
She was met by students from Lexington, NJ who made the finals in National History Day with their project about the challenges and success of women in the workplace during WWII that based in part on Elinor's career as a Rosie.
Also in attendance were members of the Ninety Nines, an international association of licensed women pilots from 44 nations.
 
A highlight of her visit was the presentation of a Home Front Victory Medal by President Ralph Villecca.
 
 
 
On May 31, 2018, Elinor received a warm welcome when she visited Borough School in Morris Plains, NJ, where she received a key to the City from the major and city council.
 
Third grade teacher Ginny Hussey and her students met with her to thank her for her inspring work, as Elinor expressed her appreciation for their having planted the first Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden in New Jersey earlier in the month.
 
The students also paid tribute to 6 Morris Plains servicemen who were KIA during WWII and whose photos were carried in their local and the national Memorial Day parades.
 
 
 
On May 30, Elinor visited with fellow Rosies at the Museum that honors the legacy of the aviation legend who was the first to hire women to build aircraft (Martin's first company employee was his mother!), that is helping to lead the "Find Our Rosies" campaign.
 
Following her remarks, Elinor met with young Riley, a local Girl Scout who pledged to help create a statewide network of Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Gardens in Maryland during the coming months.
 
 
 
On May 30, 2018, Elinor was hosted by women executives of the Boeing Company, and shared her experience working as a for the company for nearly 50 of her 68-year career as a riveter.
 
She was welcomed on her arrival by Leanne Caret, Executive Vice President and President, Defense, Space & Security.  Leanne was named by Fortune in 2017 as one of America's most powerful women and an outstanding role model to inspire young girls and women to become "21st Century Rosies" by pursuing careers in today's high technology driven workforce and becoming leaders of major corporations.
 
 
Elinor and fellow Rosies led off the 2018 Spirit of '45 Memorial Day March of Heroes in the nation's largest Memorial Day Parade which included three vintage automobiles carrying Rosies, a float with WWII veterans and our fabled "Times Square Kiss" re-enactors (Theresa Werner and James Martin), and hundreds of youth volunteers who marched with photo posters of Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII.
 

 
 
 
Before the Parade, Elinor and fellow Rosie Ada Wynn Parker from Oregon attended a special Memorial Day program at the Air Force Memorial. The ceremony was organized by Ms. Madeleine LeBeau, a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient from Chantilly, VA, who has taken the leadership for Spirit of '45 events and activities in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.  

 
On December 18, 2017, Elinor was treated to a flight by the United States Air Force in one of the C17s she worked on during her nearly 50 years with Boeing.
 
 
Elinor was welcomed to Washington, D.C. on her arrival at Reagan International Airport on September 17, by more than 100 Girl Scouts who wanted to show their support for her efforts to inspire young women to the leaders of the future. 
 
The group was led by Ms. Madeleine LeBeau, a high school student from Chantilly, VA, who earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award for her innovative project - iWitnessed - iRemember - that mobilizes youth to interview members of the Greatest Generation and document their personal memories and reflections of World War II.
 
 Elinor with Girl Scout superstar Madeleine LeBeau
 
Elinor receives the prestigious Air Force Association Lifetime Achievement Award during the US Air Force 70th Anniversary Banquet on September 18, 2017. Right, Elinor calls on young women to "Make history again" by becoming 21st century Rosie the Riveters. Left, Elinor receiving lifetime achievement award from AFA Chairman Whit Peters.
 
 
 
  
  Elinor meets with Maine Senator Susan Collins and District of Columbia Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton to discuss national network of Rosie the Riveter rose gardens. Senator Collins and Representative Norton introduced Spirit of '45 Day in U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, where it was passed unanimously in August 2010.
 
Elinor special guest at Spirit of '45 Day swing dance in New York
 
Elinor flew to New York in August 2017, to promote her national Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Gardens project and attend the big Spirit of '45 Day swing dance event held at the historic New Yorker Hotel. Our thanks to Spirit of '45 partner Frontiers of Flight Museum for donating Southwest Airlines travel vouchers to help make her trip to the Big Apple possible.
 
 
While in New York, Elinor visited the headquarters of the Girl Scouts of New York to invite them to participate in the Rosie Rose Garden initiative, and Thomson Reuters, a nationally recognized leader in providing opportunities to women in the workplace.  
 
Elinor interviewed byABC News Radio during her visit to New York City. 
 
 
Above, Elinor visits New York City Girl Scouts. Below, Thomson Reuters, voted one of the best workplaces for women in 2017, hosted Elinor during her visit to New York. Katherine Manuel, VP for Innovation, created a short video featuring Elinor.
 
 
She wound up her New York visit with a special evening on Broadway where she was honored by the producers and cast of the musical "Bandstand."
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
In May 2017, Elinor flew to Washington, D.C., courtesy of the American Veterans Center and American Airlines, to join Pearl Harbor Survivor Stu Hedley and appear with fellow Rosie's Mae Krier and Phyllis Gould on the Spirit of '45 Day float in the 2017 National Memorial Day Parade.
 
Elinor and Pearl Harbor Day Survivor Stu Hedley guests of the FBI and honored at Washington Nationals game. In conversation with wounded warrior.
 
Earlier in the year she and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal planted the first official "Rosie the Riveter Rose Bush" in Long Beach, CA - the first of what will become a national network of Rosie the Riveter rose gardens that will be America's first living memorial to the women who served on the Home Front during WWII.
 
 
(L) Elinor Otto receives National Rosie the Riveter Day proclamation from Congressman Lowenthal.
(C) Newly created Spirit of '45 Rosie the Riveter Rose.
(R)Elinor breaks ground the first public Rosie the Riveter Rose Garden in Long Beach, CA.
 
Elinor had a full schedule of public appearances in 2017. She was a special guest of the Fort Walton Beach, Florida Chamber of Commerce in April to help commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. 
 
 
 
 
Elinor meets with U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service senior staff.
 
Elinor and Tuskegee Airmen visited Boeing headquarters in Chicago in 2015