CAF Webinar: The History of the North American Aviation Plant in Dallas

Liberators were built at NAA Dallas from March 1943 to November 1944. During this time 966 fly away units were produced.

 

Liberators were built at NAA Dallas from March 1943 to November 1944. During this time 966 fly away units were produced.
Liberators were built at NAA Dallas from March 1943 to November 1944. During this time 966 fly away units were produced. (Image from the CAF Collection)

This Thursday evening at 7pm CST Keegan Chetwynd, the Commemorative Air Force museum curator, will present, via webinar, research he’s conducted concerning the history of the North American Aviation plant in Dallas, Texas. This plant was the most productive aircraft factory in the entire United States during WWII; making three of America’s most important aircraft – the T-6, P-51 and B-24. More than 18,000 aircraft rolled of its production lines between 1942 and 1945; in excess of the entire aircraft output from the whole of Italy. At peak production, airplanes emerged from the factory at the rate of more than one per hour. This story is one of the most compelling aspects to having the CAF National Airbase in Dallas, and the CAF headquarters staff want their extended team to understand its importance.  In this webinar, Keegan Chetwynd will tell the forgotten story of North American Aviation in Dallas, and its pivotal role in winning the war on the home front.

The presentation will last about 45 minutes and will be recorded for future viewing, but please attend the live presentation if possible (you will be able to ask questions).

Click HERE to listen the recorded version of the presentation

 

The Assembly lines at North American ran 24 hours a day, with workers divided into three 8-hour shifts, Liberators are seen here exiting the Western end of the facility at night.
The Assembly lines at North American ran 24 hours a day, with workers divided into three 8-hour shifts, Liberators are seen here exiting the Western end of the facility at night. (Image from the CAF Collection)
Adjacent to the main Plant building was a storage Hangar for AT-6s awaiting delivery. Texans were amazed to read about the 300 foot wide door which allowed the aircraft to access the ramp. (Image from the CAF Collection)
Adjacent to the main Plant building was a storage Hangar for AT-6s awaiting delivery. Texans were amazed to read about the 300 foot wide door which allowed the aircraft to access the ramp. (Image from the CAF Collection)
AT-6 Texans fresh off the assembly line, are seen here lined up for delivery in front of the North American Plant in Dallas. The aircraft closest to the camera is going to the Navy as an SNJ-3. (Image from the CAF Collection)
AT-6 Texans fresh off the assembly line, are seen here lined up for delivery in front of the North American Plant in Dallas. The aircraft closest to the camera is going to the Navy as an SNJ-3. (Image from the CAF Collection)
Life Magazine advertising. ( Luigino Caliaro Collection)
Life Magazine advertising. ( Luigino Caliaro Collection)

Click HERE to listen the recorded version of the presentation

6 Comments

  1. My father, Richard Thomas Whittle, tried to enlist during WWII, but was rejected because of his age and because he had a family to support. Instead, he closed his profitable psychological testing practice in Dallas and went to work for North American Aviation as a non-union machinist. As a boy, I heard stories about the union foremen threatening discipline “because you are making too many parts on your shift. Each machinist is required to make only so many parts. You are making the others look bad”. Dad reminded him that the country was at war and we needed as many aircraft as we could possibly produce. He said he would continue to make as many parts on his shift as he possibly could. For years, I proudly wore on my finger a simple little stainless steel ring he had made for me at the North American plant in Dallas. Today, at age 77, when I see a P-51, B-24 or AT-6 I wonder if it could contain a part my Dad made so long ago. He has long since passed away, but I hope that at least some of those parts are still flying today.

  2. My father worked at the Dallas plant during WWII. He already had three kids and one on the way when the war started so he left his job in Lubbock and came to Dallas to help with the war effort. He had fond memories of the work they did there. He started as a riveter, went to night school and learned enough math to get him self promoted to the lofting department.
    He lost his job at North American the day the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

  3. My father N.L. (Norman Leslie) Pete Clark and mother Grace Clark both worked at NAA Dallas during the war years. I don’t know much about that time except Dad always said that he worked on the “Big Birds”. They were both from Oklahoma, just north of the Red River in Bryan County and returned there to live after their work efforts. I don’t have any employee info on either of them. Wish I did! I enjoyed your presentation very much.

  4. My father Rudolph F Sauseda was a riveter and he had pictures standing in front of the Mustangs.The pictures have been lost and I want to know if any can be found. Where can I go to view a museum of these aircraft, also historical info.
    Will appreciate any help on this.

  5. I knew that both my maternal grandmother, Grace T. Bowen, and paternal grandfather, C.R. “Charlie” Mondy, Sr., worked at North American during WWII. Granny always said she was a “Rosie the Riveter”. Are there records anywhere which would state on which aircrafts they worked on?

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