Most of us in the industry know about the great work boat builders did during World War II to supply the military with vessels.
It’s worth remembering, though, during this Memorial Day week. I was reminded of it once again as we finished up our anniversary issue, which went to print this week. The folks at Correct Craft/Nautique Boat Company shared some of their photos and information from that era, including the “Miracle Production.” That was when the company, then known as Pine Castle Boat and Construction Company, built 400 boats in 15 days in 1945 to aid the war effort – all without working Sundays.
I’m sure the story is familiar to many of you, but worth sharing again. You can read the full story in the words of Ralph C. Meloon Sr. here, but these are some of the highlights:
On February 9, 1945, the government contacted the company and asked them how many boats they could make by February 28.
Simply put, the military needed boats and they needed them fast. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was requesting 569 boats to help move troops and supplies across the Rhine as the allies made their final push into Germany.
Although only scheduled to make 48 boats that month, the company agreed to produce 300. Despite pressure from the government to work seven days a week, the company kept to its long-held belief not to work on Sunday.
“God’s plan for this boat company was not to work seven days a week,” Meloon wrote. “We made it known to the government representatives that we knew the job was impossible for man alone. We were setting out with faith that God would see us through, therefore we were attempting to do it God’s way.”
It was a slow start (only 62 boats built in the first six days), but after securing a new machine and making other changes at the suggestion of Walt Meloon, the company hit its quota ahead of time. By February 19, the pace was up to 42 boats a day being built by the 320 employees.
“We had trucks and airplanes traveling all over the United States to get material to keep us going, and many times the material arrived just as our supply was giving out,” Meloon wrote.
The company was asked to up its production to 400 boats as other builders were falling behind. The entire order was delivered ahead of time.
The company was awarded the Army and Navy “E” Award for the “Miracle Production.”