Honoring Hometown Heroes - Bedford's "Rosies"
by Hayley Smith, Crane Army Ammunition Activity
June 13, 2018
The chance to connect with the heritage of Southern Indiana drew
a crowd to Bedford, Indiana, to memorialize the women who ensured
America had the ammunition it needed during World War II and the
post-war era. At a pavilion located in the middle of town, people
gathered for the groundbreaking of a Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose
Garden on March 21, 2018 to celebrate the women from this region and
across the country who left their homes and entered the workforce
during a critical time for the United States.
honored Smokey Cummings and Anna Mae Hudson, both Bedford natives,
for their work at Naval Ammunition Depot Crane during the post-World
War II era.
Betty Wagner (center) and Brenda
Corey (right) meet Angie Timan (left), event coordinator for
the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden Dedication
ceremony in Bedford, Ind., March 21. Wagner and Corey are
current Crane Army Ammunition Activity employees and carry
on the legacy of the “Rosies” who worked at the base during
World War II and the post-war era. (Photo by Hayley Smith,
Crane Army Ammunition Activity)
The base originally was established as a naval ammunition depot
in December 1941 on the eve of WWII with the mission of producing
and shipping munitions to the fleet. During that time the workforce
grew to meet the wartime demands of the Navy, with men and women
from surrounding communities like Bedford finding employment. Today
the base is known as Naval Support Activity Crane and hosts Crane
Army Ammunition Activity, which carries on that important ammunition
Two current employees of Crane Army, Brenda Corey
and Betty Wagner, attended the groundbreaking to meet Cummings and
Hudson and show them that their hard work has not been forgotten.
“Rosies, from the term Rosie the Riveter, were women who stepped
in and stepped up during the war. They entered the workforce in
unprecedented numbers when male enlistment left gaping holes in the
industrial labor force. I feel honored to have been able to attend
this event,” Corey, an explosives operator supervisor for CAAA,
Anna Mae Hudson worked for the Radio Corporation of
America (RCA) in high school during WWII to support the war effort.
She used her wages to buy war bonds, which later paid for her to
attend the University of Texas. She returned to Indiana and worked
at Crane in the 1950’s in the transportation and shipping
Smokey Cummings started working at Crane in the
1950’s, working in the personnel office during her more than 20
years of service.
“I really enjoyed my time at Crane,”
Cummings said. “There were always such friendly people.”
“From its origins as a WWII Naval Ammunition Depot to today’s Crane
Army Ammunition Activity, women have provided vital support to U.S.
troops,” Capt. Amy Crane, a Soldier served with Crane Army, said.
She was invited at the ceremony to break ground alongside the former
“It is an amazing privilege to meet Smokey
Cummings and Anna Mae Hudson today,” Capt. Crane said. “I hope they
realize what an inspiration they are to me and to all women. I am
grateful to continue their legacy of serving this nation and be a
part of the effort women started during WWII.”
would not have been possible without the efforts of Angie Timan,
event coordinator from Bedford. A longtime admirer of the working
women of WWII and beyond, Timan is determined to enshrine the “Rosies’”
place in history.
Angie Timan (right) speaks to
Capt. Amy Crane (left), a Soldier stationed at Crane Army
Ammunition Activity, during a Rosie the Riveter Memorial
Rose Garden Dedication Ceremony in Bedford, Ind., March 21.
Tilman coordinated the event to honor the local “Rosies”
with a Living Memorial. (Photo by Hayley Smith, Crane Army
“This has been a passion of mine for the past 10 years,” Timan
said. “I wanted to have something continually growing in remembrance
of the young women in World War II and as an inspiration for young
Timan explained that the purpose of the Rosie the
Riveter Memorial Rose Garden is to ensure that the Rosies’ legacy
will live on in the young women of today and tomorrow. As a
nation-wide initiative, Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Gardens are
meant to serve as a beautiful reminder of the contributions of women
to our country’s success.
The Mayor of Bedford, Shawna Girgis
also spoke to the importance of the “Rosies” during the dedication
part of the ceremony.
“You are an inspiration to young women
and changed the way women view their roles,” Girgis said to Cummings
Sponsors purchased rosebushes as a dedication to
loved ones and various Rosies, both past and present. In total, 20
rose bushes will be planted inside the pavilion, with five more in
the community garden. Women broke the ground for the roses, but they
will be planted later this spring.
Over time, the Crane base
evolved to meet the needs of the U.S. Armed Forces but maintained
its close ties with surrounding communities. Naval Ammunition Depot
Crane developed into two major mission commands, Crane Army
Ammunition Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane
Division, which are co-located on Naval Support Activity Crane, the
third largest naval base in the world. NSWC Crane is a naval
laboratory and field activity of NAVSEA with focus areas in
Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare.
Crane Army’s mission is to provide conventional munitions
support for U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14
installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic
industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include
arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.
America's Best | America's Greatest
Heroes | Veterans |
Answering The Call |
Our Valiant Troops
Honoring The Fallen |
Don't Weep For Me |
Remember The Fallen |
Tears For Your Fallen |