Ruby Barnett, machine-gun tester

Mrs. Ruby Barnett was one of 1000 women employed at the Aberdeen Proving ground during World War II. Her job there was to test guns, and she attracted quite a bit of media attention because she was a grandmother and didn't exactly look like the kind of person one would expect to see behind a .50 caliber machine gun.

Apparently she was only 40, but she already had three grandkids.

Source: Google Arts & Culture

Grandmother, 40, Tests All Kinds of Weapons, Except Large Cannon, at Aberdeen; is Used to the Noise Now
Mrs. Ruby Barnett, 40, said today as she went about her job of testing all kinds of guns—except 16-inch cannon—that she found nothing inconsistent in gun-firing by day and rocking the cradle of her third and newest grandchild by night.
"Hitler hasn't respected grandmothers or little children in this war and I guess American grandmothers will have to pitch in and fight him any way they can," she said, as she turned from the anti-tank gun, loaded a .50 caliber machine-gun and banged away with nonchalance and a terrific din.
The youthful grandmother, wife of a World War veteran, is employed by the Army, along with 1,000 other women, to test ordnance materiel at the government's oldest and largest proving ground here.
Wilmington Morning News - Oct 2, 1942


Life - Feb 1, 1943

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 14, 2020
     Category: 1940s | Weapons

I had a friend who had a daughter at 16 who also had a daughter at 16. My friend really hated being called grandmother.
Posted by Techs on 10/14/20 at 06:57 AM
Wow, she had a neat job.
Posted by KDP on 10/14/20 at 08:10 AM
Take that, Adolph!
Posted by Patrick on 10/14/20 at 08:21 AM
No offense, but she looks like she's late 50s, early 60s. Maybe the work took a greater toll than anyone cared to admit?

I have pics of my mom and grandmother (21 and 43) during WWII. They looked a little older than we'd expect today but not by much.

I was a grandfather at 35 (not by choice, but no one consulted me before it happened).
Posted by Phideaux on 10/14/20 at 02:11 PM
How cool. Rosie the Riveter and Ruby the Machine-Gunner.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 10/14/20 at 04:42 PM
With a couple teenagers in the house, she must have liked the loss of hearing when rock'n roll came along.
Posted by Yudith on 10/15/20 at 05:23 AM
Don't mess with Ma! After test firing those weapons all day, making sure bullets hit the target, she had dead aim if any "varmint" dare enter her house!
Posted by SED on 10/15/20 at 08:29 AM
@Phideaux: I daresay your wife and/or girlfriend did. Maybe not with words, but, you know, it didn't just happen.
Posted by Richard Bos on 10/17/20 at 01:38 PM
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