Boeing retiree Mae Krier: real-life Rosie the Riveter inspires students to reach ‘to the moon and the stars’

Retired Boeing employee and original WWII era Rosie discusses her storied past and the importance of pursuing STEM careers.

February 23, 2021 in Our People

Mae Krier sews a Rosie the Riveter-themed COVID-19 mask. The masks were packed by Boeing volunteers and shipped by Boeing, free of charge, to communities impacted by the pandemic.

Boeing photo

During a recent virtual fireside chat with students, Mae Krier, a retired Boeing employee and original WWII-era Rosie the Riveter, discussed her incredible career, her recent advocacy work on behalf of other Rosies across the country, and the importance of pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education — especially for young women and girls.

“It was my privilege to speak with and hear from the students. Their enthusiasm for STEM education is exactly what this country needs, said Krier. “These young students embody the “We Can Do It” spirit that the Rosie the Riveter movement stands for. I want each one of them to remember the importance of the word perseverance.”

Krier, a self-described STEM pioneer, credits her passion for the subject to her time spent working at Boeing on the B-17 and B-29 lines in Seattle from 1943-1945. Through her recent advocacy work with Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, she helped drive the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act through Congress.

“When I started the important work of getting our Rosies recognized thirty years ago, I never gave up,” Krier said. “If these young students think something is important, I tell them, ‘Go after it. Follow your dream.’”

This Rosie the Riveter scarf, autographed by Mae Krier, will fly aboard Starliner’s upcoming Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2). The scarf, which says, “To the Moon and the Stars,” will be worn by the Starliner anthropometric test device, Rosie the Rocketeer.

Boeing photo

The bill, which passed both chambers and was signed into law last December, collectively awards a Congressional Gold Medal to the millions of women who helped build aircraft, motor vehicles, weapons and ammunition during WWII.

“Mae Krier continues to inspire Pennsylvania and the world,” said event co-host and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “I was honored to work alongside her to pass the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act into law last year. Mae and her fellow ‘Rosie the Riveters’ played an invaluable role in our Nation’s efforts during World War II. They rose to the challenge and set a powerful example – not only for working women, but for all Americans.”

Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun joined the event and thanked Krier for her contributions to multiple war efforts — World War II and the war against COVID-19.

“My father jumped out of one of your airplanes at Normandy and ultimately survived it, and if he knew now that I was talking to you, he’d be just about the most excited person in the world, and he would want me to pass on his thanks for all the work that you did,” Calhoun said. “Today’s war, if you will, is with a virus, COVID. All of us at Boeing are proud of the work we do in this war as well… And Mae’s masks, I mean, they speak for themselves. It just sort of weaves history right into the current moment, and I don’t think any of us could be more proud about that.”

This was Boeing’s second engagement with Krier in recent months. Last December, 20 Boeing employees helped pack over 1,800 envelopes with Rosie the Riveter COVID-19 face masks that were designed and hand-sewn by Krier. Boeing sent the masks to communities in need, free of charge.

In order to honor Krier and her fellow Rosie the Riveters, Calhoun announced that the Boeing team has arranged for one of her hand-sewn Rosie Riveter face masks, as well as an autographed Rosie the Riveter scarf, will be flown on the Rosie the Rocketeer during the CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2. The company also unveiled a newly minted Rosie the Riveter commemorative coin – 100 of which will fly in the cargo bay of the Starliner on OFT-2.

By Jason Capeheart

100 limited edition Rosie the Riveter commemorative coins will fly aboard OFT-2.

Artist Rendering: Boeing