Scheurer Magazine // 2022

Shirley Ryan // Rosie the Riveter, Military Intelligence, Country Shirley Ryan // Rosie the Riveter, Military Intelligence, Coun

and her tenacious spirit replied “yes!” and she made the courageous trek alone from Michigan to Washington D.C.. Her new role was in the military intelligence field working with International Business Machines (IBM) which were used to help sort and stack different cards, all relating to critical military information. When asked if she knew what she was working on or what the IBM punch cards represented, she replied in her nonchalant demeanor, “no” as a true patriot. She held this position in military intelligence for two years before something more special than a job brought her back home to Michigan, her now-late husband Jim. He had just gotten back from working on the ice breakers overseas and Shirley joked, “I had to get home before somebody else got him.” After moving back to Michigan, Shirley joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and worked near the Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Although she did not fly the planes, she stated that she did get to ride in them quite frequently and mainly attended meetings there. Once Jim returned home after being enlisted for the third time, they finally settled down in Harrison Township where they lived most of their lives and raised two children. Years later when Jim had passed, Shirley chose to live in their house for five more years before ultimately ending up at Country Bay Village, where she has been currently residing for the last eight years.

A young Shirley Ryan poses for the camera while on a trip to Niagra Falls. Date unknown.

The DeSoto Chrysler plant was one of the many Detroit automobile plants converted to help build “the Arsenal of Democracy,” here with airplane wings. (National Automotive Heritage Collection)


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