World War II
The name 'Rosies' were given to women who took on the thousands of jobs left, after men had departed for the war. Otto began working at the Rohr Aircraft Corporation in Chula Vista, California during World War II. She joined the war effort with her two sisters, one of whom worked with her at Rohr. When Otto first joined Rohr, she was recently single and was taking care of her young son. She earned 65 cents an hour in 1942.
Post World War II
Otto mainly worked for economic reasons, because she had to take care of her mother and son. She has also said that, "I'm a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work. I like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished during the day.
After the war ended, all the working women were let go. Otto tried out other jobs, like office work, but she hated being still. She also worked as a carhop until roller skates were added to the uniform. In 1951, she went back to factory work.
In November 2014, Otto was honored for her contributions to the military with the Lillian K. Keil award from the American Veterans Center. She received the special award with eight other honorees.
Otto received the Air Force Association’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September 2017. 
In December 2017, Otto flew in one of the C-17s she'd worked on, in a ceremonial flight flown by Air Mobility Command head Gen. Carlton Everhart at March ARB, California. 
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- "Meet Elinor Otto, a real life 'Rosie the Riveter' still working at 93". Huffington Post. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
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- "Elinor Otto, one of the last working Rosie the Riveters, named 70th Assembly District Woman of the Year". Everything Long Beach. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
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- BRIAN EVERSTINE (18 December 2017). "Longest-Serving "Rosie" Gets Her First Flight in a C-17 She Helped Make". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 4 January 2018.