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With war on the horizon in the early 1940s, the country needed B-29 Superfortress bombers to fight Nazi Germany, and it needed them fast. A group of boosters from Cobb County pitched the perfect site: a cotton farm and field of trees in Marietta. The investment turned Cobb, until then a sleepy suburb, into an economic powerhouse.
The first woman to oversee the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, vice president and general manager Shan Cooper is occasionally seen on the factory floor, chatting with the plant’s 6,300 employees who build C-130J cargo planes and the center wing assembly for the brand-new F-35 fighter jet.
They build airplanes here, and the noise is terrific: a general whirring and whining, a clatter of rivet guns. Seated before the upper wing panel of a C-130J Super Hercules, Valerie Branch plays her own part in the cacophony.