On Hatteberg’s People, Connie Palacioz of Newton is part of history. In World War II she was a riveter on the B-29’s. Today, she is still proud of the work she did and now spends much of her time volunteering at Wichita’s Aviation Museum.
“I was 18 when I riveted the nose section of the B-29 and now I’m 84.”
Connie Palacioz is the real-life ‘Rosie the Riveter’. That term came about in 1940’s during World War II as women headed to the aircraft plants to take the jobs once held by men.
“We were all hoping to get that war over with!”
Men who were now fighting overseas---.
“At that time we had all women, we had a lot of the Rosie the Riveters then. We could get into those little small places then where nobody else could get. Sometimes they would call us to go help somebody else and we would have to crawl into those small places in the plane. It was hard work. I’m not saying it was easy, but we did it.”
Now, she has come full circle. As a riveter at Boeing, she worked on the nose section of ‘Doc’. The B-29 that was rescued by a Wichita group from the Arizona Dessert. It was brought here in 2000, and is now in the process of being restored.
This week, another thrill. Those involved in the restoration of ‘Doc’ had engine #4 up and running at the museum…and for Connie…another step closer to getting ‘Doc’ flying again.
“It’s just wonderful; I can’t imagine that we would ever see it run again.”
Now Connie is working with it again, as a volunteer at Wichita’s Aviation Museum where the B-29 restoration headquarters are located.
“I’ll never forget when we had the 1000th one (B-29) we put dollar bills all over the plane that was a big thrill for all of us. It was the 1000th plane that we built.”
Wichita’s Aviation museum near McConnell is the perfect place for Connie Placacio.
“I don’t like to just be idle. I don’t want to be at home sitting in a rocking chair. I just enjoy going out and doing as much volunteer work as I can.”
“As long as I’m able I’ll be doing it.”
And it’s just wonderful. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy doing my volunteer work.”