Regina Tollfeldt

She Gave Them Wings

I was small and that’s what they needed, someone small. It was monotonous, but we all knew it was important work. We were all in it together. We were gonna win this war!

Regina Tollfeldt, Boeing factory worker

The “Rosies” couldn’t have riveted without Regina Sawina Tollfeldt, a tiny teenager who helped win the war.

Regina is one of the last of the 15,000 women who worked in Boeing’s Seattle factories during World War II. Her job was to wriggle through the wing jigs for the B-17 “Flying Fortress” bombers and drill holes for the rivets. Many guys resented working with women. But by war’s end no one could deny their key role in the Allied victory. Six million women had a foot in the door of the American workforce.

After the war, Regina attended business school and spent 32 years as a state vocational rehabilitation specialist.

Regina Tollfeldt

Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Rosie the Riveter” on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Smithsonian Institution

Regina Tollfeldt

Top: A Rosie works inside the wing of a B-17. Boeing Images

Bottom: Workers pose with Five Grand the 5,000th Boeing-built Flying Fortress, on May 13, 1944. Regina signed her name on the fuselage, and she’s in there somewhere. Nat’l World War II Museum

Regina Tollfeldt