A Unique Type of Labor During WWII

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SHENANDOAH, Pa. -- On this Labor Day, we spoke with a woman who contributed to the United States' efforts overseas during World War II.

We met 92-year-old Jean Pretko of Shenandoah wearing her trademark blue and pearl necklace on this comfortable Labor Day. She has quite the story to tell, starting in 1942, right in the middle of World War II, when she was just 17 years old.

"Saw an ad in the Evening Herald: 'Come down to Lancaster. We are hiring,'" she recalled. "The next morning, we got up early, went down, got our physical and everything. I got on a machine that makes shells for the Navy."

Earning just a few cents an hour, Pretko labored out of a warehouse in Lancaster, making shell casings for U.S. submarines that were used during World War II.

"You put it in the barrel and the Navy ship rolls it off to try to sink the Japanese submarines," Jean explained.

This unique line of work is something Pretko's family enjoyed hearing about growing up.

"Well, I'm very proud of her, of course," said her daughter Carol Armon. "My father was in the Army. My daughter served in the Coast Guard. We are proud of our military history in our family, very proud."

When Pretko thinks back to the United States' victory over Japan in 1945, she repeated: "Hip, hip, hooray for America!"

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