January 3, 2012
My daddy went to work at the aircraft firm of Chance Vought in 1935, I think, when he was nineteen or so. Jobs were hard to come by, but he was smart and mechanically inclined and he had a high school degree.
When the US entered WWII, my daddy was exempted from the draft on account of his working in a ‘critical industry’. Vought’s biggest customer was the US Navy.
After the war, Vought’s military contracts must have dwindled. Or maybe moving operations inland seemed like a good idea. Anyway, the company transferred 1300 key personnel from Connecticut to the right-to-work state of Texas. It was the biggest-ever US corporate move at that time. A Hollywood film inspired by the move even went into pre-production, and Spencer Tracy was said to have been cast. I imagine my mother in a Katharine Hepburn role.
The F4U Corsair (1940-1952) was Vought’s triumph.
The Japanese are said to have called the plane Whistling Death.