Elinor Otto

Elinor Otto (born October 28, 1919 in Los Angeles)[1] is one of the original Rosie the Riveters, and built airplanes for 50 years. She was laid off at the age of 95, and is known as the "Last Rosie the Riveter".[2]

World War IIEdit

The name 'Rosies' were given to women who took on the thousands of jobs left, after men had departed for the war.[3] Otto began working at the Rohr Aircraft Corporation in Chula Vista, California during World War II. She joined the war effort with her two sisters, one of whom worked with her at Rohr. When Otto first joined Rohr, she was recently single and was taking care of her young son.[4] She earned 65 cents an hour in 1942.[5]

Post World War IIEdit

Otto mainly worked for economic reasons, because she had to take care of her mother and son.[4] She has also said that, "I'm a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work. I like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished during the day.[6]

After the war ended, all the working women were let go.[5] Otto tried out other jobs, like office work, but she hated being still.[4] She also worked as a carhop until roller skates were added to the uniform.[7] In 1951, she went back to factory work.[8]

For 14 years, she worked at Ryan Aeronautical Co. in San Diego. Later she was employed at Douglas Aircraft Company, which merged with McDonnell Aircraft, and then became Boeing.[4]

By 2014, Otto had worked on every single C-17 plane at the Boeing plant.[9] She was laid off in November 2014.[9]

She has appeared at the Veterans Day Parade in New York City and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Today Show.[8]

In 2019, a bar named after Elinor opened in Long Beach, CA.


In November 2014, Otto was honored for her contributions to the military with the Lillian K. Keil award from the American Veterans Center.[9] She received the special award with eight other honorees.[2]

Otto was honored by the California State Assembly member Bonnie Lowenthal as the 70th Assembly District Woman of the Year in 2014.[7]

Otto received the Air Force Association’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September 2017.[10]

In December 2017, Otto flew in one of the C-17s she'd worked on, in a ceremonial flight flown by Air Mobility Command head Gen. Carlton Everhart at March ARB, California.[10]


  1. ^ Archbold, Rich (4 December 2018). "Elinor Otto, an original Rosie the Riveter, still going strong at 99". Press-Telegram. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Nittle, Nadra (25 October 2014). "'Last Rosie the Riveter,' Elinor Otto of Long Beach, to be honored". presstelegram.com. Press-Telegram: Veteran Affairs. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  3. ^ Langley, Lacy (27 September 2013). "Rosie the Riveter still riveting at 93". webpronews.com. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Schaefer, Samantha (18 September 2013). "At 93, this Rosie is still riveting". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Meet Elinor Otto, a real life 'Rosie the Riveter' still working at 93". Huffington Post. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  6. ^ Fastenberg, Dan (27 September 2013). "This woman began working on Boeing assembly lines in 1942". jobs.aol.com. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Elinor Otto, one of the last working Rosie the Riveters, named 70th Assembly District Woman of the Year". Everything Long Beach. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b Seasly, John (10 November 2014). "Real-life 'Rosie the Riveter comes to Wood-Ridge". northjersey.com. North Jersey. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Chang, Hetty; Goff, Kelly (6 November 2014). "Real-life "Rosie the Riveter" looks back on service". nbclosangles.com. Southern California NBC. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b BRIAN EVERSTINE (18 December 2017). "Longest-Serving "Rosie" Gets Her First Flight in a C-17 She Helped Make". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 4 January 2018.