BY SABRINA LEE
Clearfield had its own small army of Rosie Riveters working at the Clearfield Naval Supply Depot
We are all familiar with the famous Rosie the Riveter poster of World War II. The poster was a national propaganda campaign to encourage women out of the home and into what was once all-male occupied employment positions. The call for women workers during WWII escalated as all able-bodied men were called to service after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The campaign worked and women flooded the workforce in the name of patriotism. In 1944 women made-up 37% of the Utah workforce. These women worked at places such as the Ogden Arsenal, Hill Field, and the Clearfield Naval Supply Depot.
The Clearfield Naval Supply Depot (NSD) was a storehouse for the Pacific Naval Fleet. By the early 1940’s, The United States Navy was the largest in the world. Supplying ships, planes, and sailors with operating supplies required a large amount of storage.
The NSD would acquire items such as medical supplies, food, and equipment parts and store them until these supplies were needed by the Navy, and then ship them out. During the peak years of its operation in 1944, two and a half million tons of supplies were taken into inventory. Materials and items were moved day and night. The workforce consisted of 6,500 civilian workers and 1,800 military personnel. The women workers of the NSD were mothers, war wives, and girls fresh from college.
Women workers were a necessity to the success of the war effort and our country continuing the production of goods. The newly acquired workforce of women were out of the home, and being encouraged to not let their domestic duties fall to the wayside. Naval officers noticed a pattern of absenteeism at the NSD, and upon investigation, they found that women workers were leaving early to do their shopping. The solution was to work with local businesses to stay open later so they could do that after their shift, and they opened the Naval Canteen to civilian workers.
After the war, women workers were encouraged to return to their homes to make way for the returning men. The NSD mission changed after the war, and the need for women workers in production/shipment positions drastically declined. Some women, for fear of a post war depression like that of WWI, left these war jobs before the end of WWII. Requests for women workers continued after 1945, but the job offerings were much different than the Rosie the Riveter Campaign. The campaign shifted to encourage women to seek traditionally female positions or “pink collar” jobs. But for a time, Clearfield had its own small army of Rosie Riveters working at the Clearfield Naval Supply Depot.
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