HISTORIAN'S CORNER - July, 2004
BY: Matt Grogan
To commemorate Memorial Day 2004, 1 thought an appropriate piece of LockheedMartin history might be the first edition of the MARTIN STAR (Vol 1, No.1, dated February 1942). My thanks to Frank Gessaman, who worked at GLM/Baltimoreand Martin Marietta/Denver from 1940 to 1982, for providing this edition.It gave me insight into what must have been an uncertain time at best, andprobably a frightening experience for many Americans. We had just declaredwar against the Axis powers and things looked bleak in the light of the enemy'searly successes in both the European and Pacific theaters.
The tone of this first MARTIN STAR publication was sober. The cover showeda soldier with a rifle and a Navy Petty Officer, in uniform, on either sideof a man dressed in Martin coveralls, standing beside the tail of a B-26.This sober tone was further emphasized on page 2 in the first sentence of"A Message from the Chief", Glenn L. Martin: "It is unfortunate that thisprideful magazine, conceived in days of peace, has to be born under the darkclouds of war." He went on to say: "America must have air power-second tonone. Nothing is more important, not only to our own country, but to worldcivilization. To us and a few companies like us, America and the world'sfree people look for that might." He finished with: "Ours is a responsibilityequal to that of the soldier at the front, the sailor on the seas, and thecombat pilot above the clouds." These words seem as true today as 62 yearsago.
Under the masthead on the third page, the editor (Avery McBee) wrote: Itis essential that we preserve our personal ties. It is necessary that weknow what is going on. It is important that we understand the common aimsso that our individual contributions, large or small may be given full effect.It is to this end THE MARTIN STAR is dedicated, and so it will be directedin future months and years." He concluded with: "We are asked, through thePayroll Allotment Plan, to pledge every cent we can spare through purchaseof Defense Savings Bonds. We are not giving anything, we are lending to thebest creditor in the world at good interest. We can only lose it we loseour freedom first."
A following article entitled "Now We Have Reached Our Full Growth", tellsof the steps taken by GLM to increase the production of the B-26 Maraudermedium bomber, the Maryland 167F bombers for the French and British, thePBM- 1 flying boats for the Navy, and the Martin power operated gun turrets,even before the national emergency was declared by President Roosevelt. Itpoints out that all of this effort required trained people and craftsmen,who were in short supply, how tooling had to be simplified, an in-plant trainingsystem developed, an adequate system of roads serving the plants prepared,low cost housing built (see my previous article), and all the loose endstied together. The article ends with: "Each day sees new bombers emerge fromthe big final assembly doors of both Middle River Plants. The rate will increaserapidly from now on. Martin is rolling."
On the lighter side, a short paragraph reported that "three girls in Engineeringhave launched a new vogue" by giving up silk stockings and now come to work... wearing fancy cotton lisle hosiery". Another paragraph entitled "CherchezLa Femme!" stated that masculine personal appearance in the factory had suddenlybrightened. "'Must be the women', says one (of the foremen). Ever since girlsstarted working in the factories the men dress better, shave oftener, andresort to sulfurous language less frequently."
The final article in this first MARTIN STAR, titled "Guardians of Our Safety",written by E. A. Schurman, Chief of Plant Protection, contains a sentencethat also captured the seriousness of the moment: '...we at Martin are vitalto the nation's welfare, now as never before, We must maintain constant vigilfor hazards to personnel or equipment which might be caused by a traitoramong us; for the loss of any man-power or production facilities during ourNational Emergency would reflect against us all".
Anyone who would like to read the original Vol. 1, No. 1, please give mea call.