West Babylon's 'Josie the Riveter' remembered for helping US win WWII

When America went to battle during World War II, so did Josephine Rachiele. In 1943, she joined the troops of thousands of young women at Republic Aviation, who kept the Farmingdale defense plant rolling, building war planes for U.S. servicemen overseas.

News 12 Staff

Apr 30, 2020, 12:16 AM

Updated 1,538 days ago

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An iconic West Babylon woman known as Josie the Riveter, whose actions put her in history books, has lost her battle with the coronavirus.
When America went to battle during World War II, so did Josephine Rachiele. In 1943, she joined the troops of thousands of young women at Republic Aviation, who kept the Farmingdale defense plant rolling, building war planes for U.S. servicemen overseas.
At age 20, Rachiele made history as one of 6 million "Rosie the Riveters" nationwide.
On April 18, Rachiele died at 96 due to complications from COVID-19.
Bernadette Missano, of Holbrook, says she was blessed to call Rachiele a friend for nearly three decades. She remembers her by her can-do spirit.
"She was very proud of what she did during World War II, says Missano. "She basically helped build the planes that helped win the war and saved the world. And she was there when our country needed her."
Working with sisters Theresa and Saram, Rachiele built P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes.
Defense work was considered a man's job prior to the war, but Rachiele and her fellow riveters believed there was a war to be won - so they took their place on assembly lines and churned out 9,000 fighter planes.
"I drilled holes. I put rivets in. Shot the rivets, that's what we call shooting the rivets. It kept me busy," said Rachiele to News 12 in 2014.
The riveters' work not only helped win a war, but also changed the country's perspective of what women can do.
Rachiele's niece Kathy Stingo says her aunt's trail-blazing service inspired generations.
"She made us understand and realize that as women we could do more than taking care of the house and children," says Stingo. "We could do all of that, be proud of that, and get a job accomplished like a man would get a job accomplished."
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