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Former Tinker AFB ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Marcketa Godbehere tours base


A World War II “Rosie the Riveter” who repaired aircraft at Tinker Field (now Tinker Air Force Base) during the early 1940s, Marcketa “Mickey” Godbehere, 94, recently received the red-carpet treatment by Team Tinker during her visit to the base.

Flanked by her niece, Winona Simmons, a THDR/CE inspector that works at Tinker AFB, and her daughter and son-in-law, Twila and Michael Scott Thibeault, Godbehere was given a grand tour of the base by retired 72nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Stephanie Wilson.

“It was a nice visit,” Godbehere said. “(I was) surprised how big it is.”

Twila Thibeault describes her mother as “living history” and said she has been blessed with an exceptional memory and good health.

“Mom’s in great shape and she has a memory that’s unbelievable,” Twila Thibeault said. “Mom never really talked about her years at Tinker AFB, but I found out recently that she actually lived off base by herself and took a trolley to work.

“She also managed a crew of GIs at Sheppard Field. I said, ‘Mom, you were a real trendsetter.’ We really had to kind of push her to even go to Tinker because she really doesn’t like a lot of attention, but we all had such a good time. I said, ‘Mom, they don’t have a lot of people your age they can talk to; (at Tinker AFB).”

Godbehere said she has happy memories from her time at Tinker Field and described it was a “really good place to work.”

“We did modification and riveting work on the B-17s there,” Godbehere said. “I believe I worked there for a couple of years and was with the Women’s Army Air Corps.”

She then joined the Army Air Force and worked on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, including AT6 trainer planes at Spense Army Airfield in Moultrie, Georgia.

“Mickey” said she was on leave spending time in her hometown, Chickasha, Oklahoma, and was visiting a local soda fountain when she ran into June W. Godbehere, a young sailor who she said she’d known “my whole life,” who was on leave from the U.S. Navy.

“We went together (dated) about four or five times for about four months before we got married,” she said. “We got married on Jan. 5, 1945.”

They were married nearly 72 years until her husband, a Baptist minister, passed away in 2016.

An obituary for Rev. June W. Godbehere stated, “In 1943 she (Mickey) was working at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was working on the B-17s, B-24s and B-25s repairing the planes that had returned from their missions overseas in Europe. This was the repair of the sheet metal that was damaged in the European war.

“Many of the planes were highly famous in their squadrons. In order to learn this trade Marcketa had learned to work with metals in the National Youth Administration and it was logical to follow that trade.”

The obit also stated that when she (Mickey) enlisted in the Women’s Air Corps, “she worked on the flight line doing mechanic repair and upkeep at the Air Base in Moultrie, Georgia, as a Private 1st Class.”

When the war ended in 1945, she was able to get out by using her husband’s discharge from the Navy. After World War II, “Mickey” later worked in MRO at Sheppard Field in Texas.

Thibeault asked if her mother had mentioned she managed several male employees while at Sheppard Field. Although Godbehere did not mention managing men while working there, she remembered the aircraft she worked on.

“We did riveting and all that kind of stuff, too,” Godbehere said. “We worked on B-36s, P-38s and other planes at that time.”

June Godbehere became a pastor in 1952. Twila was born several years later and the family moved to California when she was 9.

Godbehere praised her escorts during her tour and said she wanted to thank them for their kindness.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said.