Dorothy Miller was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. She had four siblings and was the middle child in her family. Shortly after the war started, Dorothy moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where her aunt lived. In Cleveland, she attended six weeks of riveting school and began her work at Fisher Body. She worked with her partner, Evelyn, who was from Oklahoma, as a riveting and bucking team to build blocks for B-29 air coolers.
In this interview, Dorothy speaks about her move to Cleveland during World War II. She reflects on her work riveting and bucking, and getting to see the fruits of her labor. Dorothy also discusses her husband’s and brothers’ involvements in the war, and her life after World War II
Working at Fisher Body
Fisher Body was a big place, but they took us out in the parking lot one day. They had a B–29 come over, and he tilted his wing to us. And you’d have thought we were somebody. [laughs] Because we had never even seen a B-29, you know.
Riveting and Bucking on B-29s
Well, we had an aluminum block. We had to drill a screen to fit in there. I really don’t know what it was—they never told you much during the war—other than I knew it was for an air cooler on a B–29. We had to fit the screen inside, and then we had to drill the holes for the rivets to go through. And I would sit up on the table while my riveting partner, she would drive the rivets and I would buck ‘em. I had a bucking bar that you held in your hand, and you guided the rivets. And it had to be a certain height, and there couldn’t be no crack around it, because if there was you had to drill out and send another rivet in. So the bucking bar, but sometimes I had to rivet, too; sometimes, if she was in another department or something, I would rivet and somebody else would buck it.
She put the rivet in and then she would drive it, and I would knock on the block if it was enough; if it wasn’t, then I’d knock again, and she would drive a little bit more. She did the gun, and I had to tell her when she had to drive more. But the same thing [when] sometimes I did the riveting and somebody else would do the bucking.
The Roles of Her Husband and Brothers in the Service
Since I got married, my husband went overseas. So then I went to Cleveland, and that’s when I started to work. He was in the 3603 Quartermaster Truck Company. He drove overseas in Germany. He drove and took supplies to the fronts for Patton’s army. His outfit took supplies to the back, and they hauled bodies to the ships to be shipped home when the war was going on.
AM: Now, what about your other brothers? Were they in the military, all your brothers?
They were in, but they weren’t overseas. One was in the Seabees; Gabriel was in the Seabees. Ray was in the regular army. He was stationed in California.