By Sharon L. Cohen
During World War II, the US military bestowed the top five percent of United States war plants with the Army-Navy Excellence in Production (“E”) Award for outstanding production contributions to the army and navy. This award combined the Navy “E” Award, Army “E” Award, and Army-Navy Munitions Board “Star”—awards that existed since 1906. The honored winners included workers and management of 175 Connecticut industrial plants. These same companies also received 448 stars for additional outstanding performance beyond the original “E” Award.
Companies Excelled in Quality and Quantity
The army and navy chose recipients primarily on the “quality and quantity of production based on available facilities.” Other factors included: overcoming of production obstacles, avoidance of stoppages, maintenance of fair labor standards, training of additional labor forces, effective management, record on accidents, health sanitation, plant protection, and the utilization of subcontracting facilities. In addition, companies had the opportunity to receive additional stars for continuous excellence, awarded at set time intervals. Recipients proudly flew the “E” Award flag from their buildings.
Connecticut Industries Receive Highest Honors
Connecticut companies received 15 of the 5-star awards, 45 of the 4-star awards, and 34 of the 3-star awards as well as many 2- and 1-star honors. Since the average number of awards for each state across the country fell just under 90, Connecticut’s 175 awards stood well above the average and far higher than all other states with similar populations.
It is no wonder that throughout the war, Connecticut “E” recipients from companies of all sizes and all types of industries held memorable ceremonies when receiving the award. High-ranking military officers, the state’s governor, servicemen who were known for their valiant efforts during the war, as well as proud community residents often attended these events. Honorees included companies such as the American Brass Company, Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, Cheney Brothers, and more.
Sharon L. Cohen is a communication specialist and professional writer who has authored several books on business and Connecticut communities.