At the start of World War II, Charlotte Lang was a student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a foods and nutrition major, she had no intention of getting involved in the war effort. However, Charlotte soon became dissatisfied with a career in nutrition, and eventually she found a job as a metallurgical laboratory technician for the Inspector of Naval Material in Munhall, Pa.

During this time, Charlotte worked in a laboratory crafting different metal alloys and other materials to go into naval ships and other naval equipment.  The work was quite tedious, involving precise measurements and calculations with different metals and reactive chemicals. Work could be as long as eight hours a day for seven days a week. Obviously, hard work was necessary at home as well as on the battlefield.

Charlotte was one of many girls employed to fill empty positions vacated by men drafted into the war. Although Charlotte and her co-workers were thousands of miles away from the action, they still felt connected to the war. In the 1040s, radio delivered the latest news about the war.  That’s how she heard of VJ day and the death of Franklin Roosevelt.

At the end of the war, men returned to their old pre-war jobs and production in the lab shut down. Charlotte was out of a job.  However, she soon got a job at the Mellon Institute as well as the Children’s Hospital.

Overall, World War II gave Charlotte and many other women a sense of importance. They felt like they helped the war effort and for the time being they had an important place in society.

(~Sam Henry)