Within a few years of incorporating, the Boeing Co. landed its first major order from the U.S. Navy for 50 Model C seaplanes to be used during World War I. After the war, Bill Boeing kept the company afloat building military aircraft for other companies and modernizing military biplanes.
By the time World War II rolled around, Boeing had planted its feet firmly in the commercial aircraft market. But orders dried up as the world focused on the war. With the help of Puget Sound-area workers, Boeing produced 6,981 B-17 bombers at its Plant 2 facility, building as many as 16 aircraft in 24 hours.
Through the years, Boeing continued to supply the military with aircraft, primarily aerial refueling tankers, that were built in the region, including KC-97s and KC-135s. Today, Boeing is vying for a new tanker contract with U.S. Air Force. If Boeing wins, Puget Sound area workers once again will build aircraft for the military.
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