April 1941 – Pacific Alaska Airways offers Keith a Job….

On April 5, 1941 Pacific Alaska Airways offered Keith a job as an a mechanic.  He would have to approach Boeing an ask for a transfer and plus pass a physical examination.

This would have made an interesting story.   Just think if my dad had gone to Juneau to live! I would have been born in Alaska!  It would have been a whole new experience of growing up.

This airline was part of the Pan American Airways System.

April 1941 Pacific Airways offers Keith a job...

April 1941 Pacific Airways offers Keith a job…

Here is a website with pictures called Everything Pan Am.  I didn’t start flying on airplanes till about the 1990’s so I missed the Pan Am experience.


Posted in Alaska, Keith B. MacDonald, Seattle, Washington State | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

January 1941: End of Military Life – using his skills here on the homefront…

At the beginning of 1941 Keith was working at Boeing.  He received a form letter in the mail dated 4 January, 1941 titled Headquarters of the Ninth Corps Area out of San Francisco.

Keith in Seattle

Keith in Seattle

It stated in Item #2


Section 3b. If you desire discharge on the grounds that you are a necessary individual in an industry or occupation essential to the National Defense, you should immediately request your employer to furnish you with a statement in writing showing the nature of the work performed by you, and its connection with National Defense, and you should then forward the state with the enclosed form requesting your discharge from the Regular Army Reserve to this headquarters. 

As a result he moved quickly and was able to get an Honorable Discharge on the basis that his employment was essential to the National Defense.

On the backside of his Honorable Discharge it reads: Reservist served in an inactive status during this enlistment. Under Prior service there is a mention of “Character Excellent” in several places. Capt. Gwyn P. Rees signed his form on 24 January 1941.

On January 24, 1941 Keith was Honorably Discharged from the Regular Army Reserve.

On January 24, 1941 Keith was Honorably Discharged from the Regular Army Reserve.

Keith was now a civilian. This Honorable Discharge was the end of his military career. Although he had been inactive since 1939.

Several Events would take place in the next months:

1) He would leave Boeing and go the U.S. Naval Air Station at Sandpoint on the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle.

2) He would get an offer of a job from Pan Am.

3) He would get married in on July 4, 1941.

4) The United States would declare war on Japan after Japan bombs Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and then war on Germany would follow.

Keith was 31 (if says he was 41?) when he was Honorably Discharged so he was of the right age to serve in military actions. His heart was with the airplanes so I think he made the right choice.

His military career was now over.  He was a civilian, but he would work with airplanes and other aircraft for the rest of his life.

Posted in Honorable Discharge from the Regular Army Reserve, Keith B. MacDonald, Keith B. MacDonald's Military Service, King County, Seattle, Washington State | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Seeking Work at the Puget Sound Navy Yard – Bremerton…1940

Keith must have been checking around for potential work in 1940 because he received a letter from the Labor Board of the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington on 29 August, 1940. They wrote back that they had no knowledge of jobs in various naval yards? He was learning to negotiate the military and Civil Service not an easy task.

Frankly I am glad he did not go to work in Bremerton, I would have ended up living in the middle of Puget Sound and having to arrange my life around ferry boats that went back and forth to Seattle.  Back then Bremerton was small but it is now much bigger and more sophisticated.  http://www.visitkitsap.com/bremerton

Puget Sound Navy Yard letter 1941.

Puget Sound Navy Yard letter 1940.

History Link has a great article about the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards and a little about Bremerton’s beginnings. There are photos as well.


Posted in Keith B. MacDonald, Puget Sound Navy Yard potential for a job, Washington State | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Working for Boeing 1938 to April of 1941

According to Keith’s employment records he states that he was working at Boeing from 1938 to April of 1941.  The address for Boeing at that time was 200 West Michigan in Seattle as written on the documents. We know that he was in Seattle in 1940 per the census and working but it was a time of transition for him and the world.


Articles from Newspaper

Articles from Newspaper

He writes about his duties at Boeing:

Wing assembly, panel Assembly, unit leader, supercharger, instruments, pre-flight, inspection, engine and motor mount assembly, sub-assembly, and engine test. He made $1669 a year which comes to about $139 per month.

On another employment application he writes about his Boeing experience a little differently:

Mfg of B-17B to D. Production Worker C1.B, Sheet metal assembly, wing shop, wing tank door, nacelles, leading edge, wing tips, bomb doors, supercharger, installation, pre-flight dept, power plant buildup, installation, prop installation, first engine run up and tuning, troubleshooting, engine part replacement, hot job artisson urgent items, such as ships due for delivery at preflight (E.G. Gen-starter, pump and mag. replacement on R-1820S.)

The reason for his leaving is to accept Civil Service appointment.  His supervisor was Boyd Call.

Keith outside in front of a building.

Keith outside in front of a building.

If you put B-17B into Google you will come up with Flying Fortress and a lot of hits. It was the big plane that was used in WWII.  Below is an article with photos from the January, 1940 local newspaper showing how this plane was made and it looks like my Dad was there.  This article was among his possessions.


Flying Fortress production article

Flying Fortress production article

Wings take form

Wings take form

Built in Four days

Built in Four days

Making a plane in four days

Making a plane in four days


Last Lap

Last Lap

The use of the term “Civil Service” is sort of old now but apparently it is still used. I would describe my service with the State of Washington as my state service.  While those working for the U.S. Government as Federal service.

You have to be a very persistent and detailed person to work in either State or Federal jobs. You also have to embrace the rules because it is all about rules if you go to work in these positions.

Posted in Boeing Flying Fortress 1940, Keith B. MacDonald, King County, Seattle, Washington State | Tagged , | Leave a comment