The end of the biennium period brought an exciting project to OCE's Furniture Factory and Metal Shop. The customer, Eastern Oregon Airport, requested the production of two tables replicating the look of the wings from a WWII era B-25 Mitchell bomber airplane. Piloting this project was no easy task. Like the original plane, which required over 8,000 drawings and nearly 200,000 hours of engineering time, research was needed to get this project off the ground.
The Eastern Oregon Airport is a historical World War II airport. In late 1941, Pendleton Field, now part of the airport, saw the arrival of fourteen North American B-25 bombers. They would fly antisubmarine patrols along coastal areas as part of the 2nd Air Force air defense for the Northwest Pacific coastline. Being one of four bases with runways long enough to fulfill the training requirements, Pendleton Field was assigned the task of providing heavy bombardment unit training. In 1942, the B-25-equipped 17th Bombardment Group at Pendleton Field was reassigned to Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina. It was here Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle formed volunteer crews to train for what would later be called the Doolittle Raid against Japan. Of the eighty Raiders, all but Doolittle had trained at Pendleton Field, and seven were Oregonians or former Oregonians, either by birth or by civilian residence.
To honor these Doolittle Raiders, the Eastern Oregon Airport turned their conference room downstairs in the terminal lobby into an homage to the time period. They felt these tables would be an excellent addition to the room and a cornerstone of the homage, complimenting the several artifacts and photos in the room from the era.
In creating the wing designs, the OSP workers learned everything they could about the original. The North American B-25 Mitchell bomber was an olive drab green with a specific era star emblem on the fuselage and left wing. Introduced to the US Army Air Corps in 1941, it was named in honor of U.S. military aviation pioneer Major General William "Billy" Mitchell and would become the most heavily armed airplane in the world. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theater of World War II, and many remained in service for decades. Produced in numerous variations and adaptations, nearly 10,000 B-25s were produced from 1939 to 1945. Consistent across the designs, the mid-wing and twin-tail wing would become the focal points of the design for the tables.
AIC workers in the OSP Furniture Factory show the concept becoming a reality
AIC designers re-created the look of the original B-25 landing gear
Like the B-25s of the 1940s, this replica wing table is ready for the trip to Pendleton
The AICs in OCE's Furniture Factory and Metal Shop carefully crafted the wheel assemblies, created from multiple parts, to give it a realistic look. They scaled the dimensions so they would be functional as tables while remaining proportional to the original wings. Hours of collaboration between the designers and craftsmen combined with proven OCE construction techniques and real-world skills led to the creation of a finished product, greatly pleasing the customer.
OCE Production Coordinator Randy Addington had this to say about the project, “In twenty-one years of service to OCE, I have witnessed the manufacturing of the second-most highly unique piece of furniture assembled here. The amazing talent of the AICs that helped produce these "over the top" pieces never ceases to amaze me. These men bring high-end skill, craftsmanship, commitment, pride, and a sense of accomplishment that continues to make OCE/OSP Manufacturing a top place to prove your skills. Well done men, well done. Special thanks go to the AICs that participated in this unique project.”
OCE AIC Furniture Factory workers stand proudly by their creation
OCE AIC Metal Shop workers display their innovation
All systems were go for the pair of wings to head to the airport
Learn more about the products created in the Furniture Factory.
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