January 29, 2013

An ‘excellent’ place in history

Renovation uncovers flag presented by Department of War during WWII

by Mitchell Kirk

— A flag that has been tucked away for decades in a vault at LMC Workholding has been discovered and along with it, a reminder of the federal government’s recognition of the factory during World War II.

The factory, which was started in 1916, makes machining workholding products like rotating cylinders, power chucks and wheel chucks. Like many American factories during WWII, it put its status quo on hold to participate in the war effort. LMC President Jay Duerr said the factory contributed by producing hydraulics and other systems necessary for controlling tank turrets.

As the factory is in the midst of complete renovation, Duerr was recently cleaning out a walk-in vault when he discovered the flag.

“I was going through there, cleaning stuff up and I had seen this flag that had been sitting there forever,” Duerr said.

Spanning around eight feet by four feet, the cotton flag is half red, half blue and displays the words “Army” and “Navy” in opposite corners. A large ‘E’ is also stitched into the center, the significance of which was at first lost on Duerr.

He had some help in this area, however.

“When you have 97 years of corporate records, you can see the history of a company,” Duerr said.

An examining of these records led Duerr to find that the flag was presented to the company by the U.S. government in the early 1940s during World War II.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of War in 1945, the ‘E’ on the flag represents achieving excellence in war production. The award is based on a number of criteria, including overcoming production obstacles, avoidance of stoppages and training of additional labor forces.

“The Excellence Award is what the big ‘E’ stands for on the flag. If you were a contractor producing parts for the military and did a superb job,” Duerr said.

These flags were awarded to more than 4,000 of the country’s factories during WWII “for their part in the defeat of the Axis Powers,” reads the press release.

Duerr said the factory continues to work with the government by designing devices to aid in the machining of howitzer barrels and wheels for F-14 and F-22 fighter jets.

Encased in a frame, the more than 70-year-old flag now hangs in Duerr’s office.

“It just looks awesome,” Duerr said.

Duerr added he views it as a symbol for the ongoing vitality of the company.

“It shouldn’t be hidden. It’s part of our renovation and showing people that we’re still in great shape.”

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or