Monday, November 30, 2009

Liberty Ships

Not long after my folks were married my dad put in an application for a crane operator's job in the Panama Canal Zone. The Kaiser shipyard in Long Beach squashed his application, declaring him critical to the Liberty Ship program.

Dad got mad and enlisted in the SeaBees at age 39, coming out a chief sometime after VJ Day. His battalion followed MacArthur from Australia through New Guinea and the Philippines. I was about two and a half years old when he first met me in Omaha. The story goes that I was then seated on the bar and proceeded to eat all their Maraschino cherries.

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Liberty Ships




A listing of the original and completion names shows 2710 Liberty ships built between September 27, 1941 and September 2, 1945 [Gobal Security says 2751, the difference may be in the technical designation of hull type. ed.]. That averages just under 2-1/2 ships per day over the period for the entire program which included eighteen shipyards on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts.

Henry J. Kaiser ... became a master of mass-production. He had previously completed construction of Hoover, Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams ahead of schedule, but had never before built a ship.



Schematic

Kaiser's theories on mass-production created some mirth among conventional shipbuilders, but he continually reduced delivery times. His 75th ship, the JOSEPH N. TEAL, was completed in 10 days after the keel laying
.

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Dad's absence from Kaiser doesn't seem to have affected them much.

Reflecting on my own career, I've since decided that acorns don't fall far from the tree.

1 comment:

viktor silo said...

Interesting post, Linear. We need more of them like that.