Viewing page 17 of 87



Kellett Plants Fittingly Observe Army Day

Massed before Kellett Plant No. 1, filling Grays Avenue and overflowing into Kellett's new parking lot extending between 57th and 58th Sts., was the entire office and factory personnel to listen to an illuminating and inspiring address given by Captain H. R. Battley, Assistant to Col. Roy M. Jones, Supervisor of the Eastern Procurement District of the United States Army Air Force. 

Kellett's was dressed up for the occasion, with flags flying, including new service flag showing twenty-seven stars, and with stirring music pouring from the amplifying system. Altogether it was a big day for Kellett's

The four divisions of the Kellett Industrial Defense Unit were drawn into formation, -- Auxiliary Police, under Ed Lang, Sr., Auxiliary Fire under Don Masser, Air Raid Wardens under Bob Mattox and First Aid under Ray Shopshire, with the girls in their colorful uniforms, furnishing the background., then the big crowd with office and factory workers intermingled. It was a glorious sight. 

Following the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, during which it seemed that not a muscle moved, Mr. Kellett addressed the crowd with a brief history of Army Day and its meaning in this day of world turmoil. Mt. Kellett also referred feelingly to those who have left Kelletts-- twenty-seven in all-- to join the ranks of fighters, and invited Captain Battley to unfurl the new service flag, at which stage Captain Battley was introduced. At the close of Captain Battley's address, the crowd dispersed and after lunch went back to work with a fresh start at "Beating the Dates."

Captain Battley and his two Aides-- Lt. Harry Keeler and Lt. Jack Lepre, were then transported to Kellett No. 2 Plant where they were again enthusiastically greeted by a crowd of Kellett officers and workers. Mr. R.H. Prewitt, Vice-President, cordially received his guests, and as assembly was complete, he immediately started proceedings. Mr. Prewitt, in his introductory talk, brought out forcefully General MacArthur's early participation in Army Day observances and his call to all American workers, and the response to that call by the men and women of Kelletts. He then presented Captain Battley, who again made his appeal for still greater efforts from every man and woman in the land, while he gave unstinted praise for the showing made in the two Kellett plants. Prolonged applause followed Captain Battley's address, and there's every evidence that the visit of Captain Battley and Lieutenants Keely and Lepre will be long remembered. 

The texts of Mr. Kellett and Captain Battley addresses follow:

Fellow Employees:
We are met here today in celebration of Army Day. Like many of the National Days which are not celebrated by a holiday its origin and the reasons therefore have received comparatively little attention and we are quite ignorant concerning it. I feel that a knowledge of these matters is necessary for an appreciation of the meaning of such a National Day and am therefore going to dwell for a moment on how and why Army Day came into being.

Patriotic fervor and interest in affairs military reached a high level during the course of the last World War. From the day of the Armstice and on through the twenties this interest on the part of the general public was constantly on the wane.

This is not beyond understanding. We are imbued with the feeling that we had fought our last was and that appropriations by Congress for the Army and Naval establishments, beyond a starvation minimum, were an unnecessary drain on the Treasury and a burden on the taxpayer, who, after all puts the money in the Treasury to foot the bills. 

While this state of apathy was developing in this country, and, to a greater or less extent in all the democratic nations, a contrary state of mind was being germinated in the Dictator and have-not countries. This war was, in those years, in the making. 

Little of this was known to the average citizen nor did its dangers make an impression on him. 

There were only a few outside the armed forces who saw what was happening and realized the peril to our country. 

This group was made up largely of veterans of the last war.

It was at their behest and through their influence that the President proclaimed April 6, 1932, as the first Army Day. A day on which the minds of the people would be turned to the Armed Forces, what they stand for and our real need for them. 

It is interesting to note that Captain John Barker Hill of Philadelphia was chairman of that first Army Day Committee which presented the idea to President Hoover and that the first Army Day Parade in the National Capital was led by General Douglas MacArthur who was then Chief of Staff of the Army. 

It is fitting that we of the Kellett Autogiro Corporation should do something to honor our fellow employees who have resigned to join the Armed Forces of our country in this war for the preservation of those rights which our constitution sets forth as a birthright but still must be fought for when outsiders seek to deprive us of them. 

So that their names may be constantly before us steps are being taken to erect an Honor Roll, in a conspicuous location on which will be inscribed their names together with those who may leave at a later date. As a further inspiration we are going to unfurl our service flag with a star for each of our comrades now in uniform. This banner will be displayed daily from this balcony immediately under our National Flag in order that all who enter may see and realize that we are not only doing our part in supplying equipment but have contributed of our man power in order that this war may be brought to a successful conclusion. 

In order to further assist us in our observation of Army Day the War Department has contributed the services of one of its able officers, Captain Battley, Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Procurement District, Army Air Force Material Center. 

To Captain Battley we have turned over the honor of unfurling this flag and at my request he has kindly consented to address a few words to you. 

Captain Battley.

I express the regret of Colonel Roy M. Jones-- Supervisor of the Eastern Procurement District of the Army Air Forces-- because he is unable to be with us today. The demands upon his time and energy are almost beyond limit -- making it impossible for him to reach all of the places -- and to take care of personally -- all of the thousands of details which are thrust upon him. 

Colonel Jones, however, sends his greetings and appreciation for the excellent work you are doing. 

His absence however, has afforded me the pleasure of attending your ceremony and I thank you for the privilege of saying a few words which I hope will be timely and to the point. 

Total war today is a hellish thing -- not only to soldiers, sailors, and marines engaged in combat, but to civilians also. 

This is your war, ladies a n d gentlemen -- as much as your war as the armed services. In this modern war, everyone is in the fighting zone -- everyone is in the army -- whether in uniform or civilian dress. Long range bombers have brought the front line trenches to every fireside. 

The program of conquest a n d destruction compiled by our enemies is not a new one. They have for years planned, worked, produced and accumulated materials required to fight this war to destroy civilization and all freedom loving peoples.

During the years they were planning for war, our peace loving nation planned, worked, and produced materials for peaceful pursuits.

Our efforts were to raise and maintain a higher American standard of life -- a way of life which has been high above that of all other nations -- a way of life which your enemies have determined to destroy -- 

But, they will not succeed as long as we have MacArthurs, Colin Kelleys and the American solider, sailors and marines -- who will fight until the very last drop of blood is drained from their bodies. 

The Axis will not succeed as long as our American soldiers on the production line produce the materials needed to bring these blackguard to their knees -- even though war has forced us to change our normal pursuits and forced us to convert our production facilities into sources of war materials. 

Every American -- every peace loving alien in this country -- must do his share and more to make up for those non-productive years insofar as the production of war material goes -- so that there will be an ever increasing output of all items required to bring this war to a successful conclusion.

It is estimated that the efforts of from 17 to 21 workers behind the fighting lines of battle are required to maintain one man in combat. You, men and women, are those workers behind the lines -- those producers -- those soldiers in overalls and smocks behind the upon. lines that the armed forces depend

Before this war has ended, there will be bitter disappointments -- reverses in the fields -- destruction of peaceful farms, homes and cities. You can expect things to be worse before they are better.

The inevitable result of war is injury to every living thing -- man, beast, and birds of the air.

The earth itself is scorched and seared with the fire of war.

There is no escape from the inevitable injury to civilization - but, your government is not only endeavoring to minimize the suffering and inconveniences, it is also endeavoring to distribute them as evenly as can be accomplished. Every effort is made to assure the least disruption of civilian pursuits.

Nevertheless, there is always a small percentage of those involved who are perfectly willing that injury and inconvenience be dispensed with -- provided that it does not touch them or their pocket books.

There are small groups -- as well as individuals -- who are seizing the present emergency to further their own selfish ends under the guise of patriotism.  

These un-American groups and individuals realize that sooner or later their selfish ends will be brought to light and they will not then enjoy their forced drink of hemlock and gall.

When thousands of men are

The following telegram was received during the ceremonies at Plant 1.

R.G. Kellett
Kellett Autogiro Corp.
Philadelphia, Pa.


Col. R. M. Jones
Air Corps
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact