Monday, December 20, 2010

Willow Run to Stop Running December 23rd reports that the giant GM manufacturing complex in Willow Run, Michigan will be shutting down completely, and probably for good on December 23rd. This plant was a hallowed example of the high point of U.S. manufacturing might. Five million square feet under roof (1 story). The plant was built by Henry Ford to turn out B-24 bombers in World War II. Turn out bombers it did, 8,685 to be exact, with a bomber heading out the door every 55 minutes during peak production. In 1953, Willow Run was bought by General Motors because a nearby transmission plant was burnt in a fire. GM kept part of the plant in operation since then, and just a few years ago retooled part of it to build 6-speed transmissions.

In the GM bankruptcy, Willow Run was included in the "Old GM" inventory, and its closing became inevitable.

I can't help thinking as we lose each piece of the arsenal of democracy, with the pieces not being replaced, that the United States is that much weaker as a country. That's why the closing of this plant is especially sad to me. We won't ever need B-24 bombers again, but whatever we do need we might not be able to build.

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