Willow Run is what Albert Kahn, its world renowned architect,
described as "the most enormous room in the history of man."
The story of Willow Run describes how Charles E. Sorensen, Ford's Director of Production during WW2, conceived the idea of manufacturing the giant B-24 Liberator bomber at the unbelievable rate of one an hour; and how the men and women from Willow Run, challenged by the opportunity, made his vision come true.
E. Sorensen is the genius who created
the Willow Run B-24 Liberator Manufacturing Plant
B-24 Liberator Bombers
Fortune Magazine, April 1942
"If this is the role of the four-engine B-24 bomber, then
He will almost certainly pause before the man himself
Charles E. Sorensen,Ford's Director of Production said, "Willow Run was the biggest challenge of my production career; bigger than the Model T assembly line at Highland Park, and more momentous than the layout and construction of the great River Rouge plant." Without Sorensen's vision to mass produce the B-24 Liberator at the unbelievable rate of one every hour, the Allied Air Forces would not have had the massive number of bombers needed for their missions, and World War II might have had a significantly different outcome.
The story of Willow Run reaches far beyond the quiet stream where the
Indians camped and hunted and where people gathered in a peaceful chapel
by its side; the story reaches to the thunderous rain of bombs that helped
liberate Europe from the Gestapo claws of Hitler and return the South Pacific
to the peaceful tranquility of its name. Willow Run stands in honor of all the people who ever lived or worked there; from
the early pioneers who settled the land to the visionaries who struggled
to develop creative ideas for mass producing the bomber; and from those
who build the planes that helped bring freedom back into the world, to
those who came to help but could not, for lack of housing.
Many of those people lived in squalid conditions to build the bombers that
kept the American dream alive. To all of them, this nation and the
Allied Powers during WW2 owe a debt of gratitude.
Mr. Kidder described Charles Sorensen, to me, the webmaster, as the Rambo
of WW2. He was not the Rambo that you saw in the movies fighting
against the world, rather, Mr. Sorensen was the Rambo fighting to build
B-24 Liberator bomber factory that would save our country. This
is one statement that makes me think. You do not have to be the Audie
Murphy type in the front lines to be a significant hero, all you need to
do is keep doing something good day after day and work at it hard until
your goal is accomplished and you will become that great hero. Mr.
Sorensen was one of those great people and because of his efforts,
it may be the reason that we are a free people today.
Eventually, Mr. Sorensen becomes Ford's Executive Vice President, and was Knighted by the King of Denmark.
A letter from the 8th Air Force to Warren Benjamin Kidder
F.C. "Hap" Chandler
Mr. Warren B. Kidder
Thank you for taking the time to visit our matchless Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. It was a pleasure to work with you regarding the history and "Time Line" of the Mighty Eighth during World War II. Your book, "Willow Run" Colossus of American Industry is a classic and much needed addition to the history of the Mighty Eighth's activities during World War II. It has been very helpful to our year long study of the accomplishments of the wartime 8th as, without the production of large numbers of B-24 bombers, the air war against the Third Reich would have been impossible.
I have also reviewed in detail your proposal for production of a motion picture concerning the B-24. It is exceptional, and should be made into a first class movie! Be assured that I, and my colleagues, will do whatever we can to assist you in bringing this timely and excellent motion picture to fruition. Your inspiring story of Charles Sorensen, the production genius who planned and built Willow Run is particularly timely. I am sure you detected the enthusiasm and interest of the museum staff as you outlined your idea. We will assist you in any way possible to make your plan a reality.
I'm am not an expert in movie production, however John Travolta, during his recent visit to the Museum became very enthusiastic about a picture portraying the Mighty Eighth. Your script encompasses all aspects of the Mighty Eighth story - an Air Force Private Ryan in concept.
As you saw we have considerable resources to help in this endeavor. You need only call for help as required. We wish you well in your important and timely project to preserve the saga of a matchless aircraft and magnificent men who flew them.
Your devoted friend,
F. C. Chandler
Click Here to see
the Script Release for
"Willow Run The Eighth Air Force WW2 Movie"
Your Personal Autographed Copy, Send Check or Money Order to:
For Information Contact
Here's another Book Review about a B-24 Pilot in WW2, Jessie Pettey.
Click Here's Warren Benjamin Kidders New Book, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Click Here's the Movie Script for Willow Run
A Journey from Childhood to War
Exhibit at the Yellow Airplane Online Museum
A tremendous story about Jesse Pettey a B-24 Liberator Pilot in World War 2 which takes you from his childhood to becoming an Army Air Force Captain in World War 2.
By Jesse Pettey.
More Mission: A Journey from Childhood to War
by Jesse Pettey
Jesse Pettey grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas where he observed life in an East Texas rural small town during the depression. He attended High School and Stephen E. Austin State University before volunteering for the Army Air Corps flight training in World War II. During the war, he flew 35 missions as a pilot in a B-24 bomber over Europe and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and four Air Medals. Upon completing his combat flying, he returned to Texas where he completed his education by earning a masters degree in Music Education. He taught music in high school for several years before joining Prudential Insurance Company where he served as a Prudential executive from 1957 to 1980. He then retired and lived in Italy for the next seven years traveling and writing. He now lives in Houston, Texas.
the Liberators : A Father's Last Mission, a Son's Lifelong Journey
by William C,, II McGuire
Letter from the Author:
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