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FSAAF ARTICLES 25-30




ARTICLE 25

Housing at FSAAF expanded for more glider pilots and their families in 1943

 

By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 25th article in a series about Fort Sumner Army Air Field (FSAAF) during WWII.

The January 8, 1943, edition of the Fort Sumner Leader newspaper had an article about the recent increase in living quarters at the Fort Sumner Army Air Field.

The National Housing Administration (NHA) announced the previous day that a large number of housing units had been approved for the Fort Sumner Glider Training School.  A telegram from U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez to the Leader delivered the news, said the article.

The living additions included 100 dormitory units of which 75 were for females; 85 family dwelling units and 60 accommodations for couples, stated the Leader.

“Officials have been instructed to proceed with development of these plans at once”, quoted the Leader about the senator’s message.

In addition to housing, the men and women of FSAAF who were officers enjoyed the new officer’s club by New Year’s Eve of 1942.  The same January 8, 1943 edition of the Leader also described this new home for relaxation and entertainment at the glider training school.

“Officers, their wives and friends dedicated the new Officer’s Club at the Fort Sumner Glider School New Year’s Eve with a gala party.”

“The recently completed Officer’s Club has many unique features including the use of discarded automobile headlights which have been fitted into the ceiling at intervals.”

“A picturesque fireplace at one end of the club’s largest room is made of rocks collected about the field”, stated the Fort Sumner Leader.

A few months before, in September, 1942, the U.S. Engineers district office in Albuquerque announced that De Baca County was receiving a sewage disposal system for use by the Glider Advanced Training School at Fort Sumner.

The contract to build the sewage system was awarded to Mr. F. D. Shufflebarger of Albuquerque at a cost of less than $50,000, said an article in the Fort Sumner Leader on September 11, 1942.

“Apparently this is the beginning of a big lot of necessary improvements at the Glider School, made necessary by an increase in the number of men undergoing training here, but no definite program has been announced by the Public Relations officials at the School”, stated the Leader.

The American Red Cross arrived in Fort Sumner on December 10, 1942 to help provide aid and comfort to the many men and women and their families stationed at FSAAF according to an article in the Fort Sumner Leader on February 19, 1943.

Since its opening in Fort Sumner a little more than two months ago, the American Red Cross has handled more than 200 cases involving the glider school, according to figures released by Mr. W. M. Burkholder, director of the Red Cross in Fort Sumner, said the article in the Leader.

“The Red Cross, which keeps books on its activities like any efficient business organization, also revealed that it had obtained confirmation for 130 emergency furloughs for men here since the station was opened.”

“Most of these inquiries were made for men called from the post by death, serious illness or other distress in their families.”

“Varied were the entanglements the organization was called upon to straighten out.  Many of them involved difficulties, financial and otherwise, in soldiers’ families at home.”

“The procedure of the Red Cross field station in such problems is to contact the Home Service representative of the Red Cross Chapter nearest the soldier’s home, and the home Chapter is ready to carry on from there.”

“During the two and one-half months since the Red Cross station was opened on this post, a total of $1,824.94 was disbursed by the Field Director in financial assistance to soldiers.”

“Practically all of this was in the form of Red Cross loans, which are always available to soldiers in cases of emergencies which have been properly verified.  These loans bear no interest or other charges.”

“In addition to this financial aid, there were a number of cases in which the Home Chapters, on request of the Field Director, rendered assistance to soldier’s families at home, which amounted to several hundred dollars more.”

“Handling these 200 cases, a total of 101 telegrams were sent from the field officer and 113 were received from chapters.  This telegraphic service is without cost to soldiers or their families”, stated the February 19, 1943 article in the Leader.

The article went on to explain that the American Red Cross included 3,750 chapters and their 6,154 branches.  Through this network, it was possible for any Field Director in any army camp at home or overseas to contact a soldier’s family even in the most remote areas of the United States in a very short time, said the Leader.

During wartime, the major activity of the Red Cross is service to the armed forces, according the Leader which then provided a summary of Red Cross services to the armed forces during the 14 months from Jan. 1, 1942 to Feb. 28, 1943.  These services were largely funded by contributions from the American people.

“During this period, $40,000,000 of the $57,600,000 expended went to the armed forces in the United States, in foreign post and on the high seas.  Through representatives of the Red Cross in camps and hospitals, 1,500,000 servicemen or dependent families were aided, while chapters aided 525,000 more.  Aid to ex-servicemen or families was extended to 70,000 cases, while chapters aided 135,000.”

“Relief to American prisoners of war included food parcels and large quantities of tobacco, cigarettes, medical supplies and clothing.”

“Through the Red Cross, 1,800,000 pints of blood plasma were donated for the armed forces.  This has been of inestimable value in saving lives among battle casualties.”

“The Red Cross has continued the distribution of relief supplies on a large scale to war victims abroad, including food, clothing and medical supplies for civilian war victims and United Nations prisoners of war.”

“More than $65,000,000 has been budgeted by the American Red Cross for direct national services to the armed forces in 1943, according to the local director.  This represents more than 65% of the amount the national organization will require for the year to finance its national and international program.”

Readers are encouraged to visit Silent Wings Museum (www.silentwingsmuseum.com) in Lubbock for more information about the glider program of WWII.  More information is also available at www.researchwars.org and at www.ww2gp.org.

If you can help with this research project, please call John McCullough at 806-793-4448 or email him at johnmc@researchwars.org

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ARTICLE 26

Glider pilots at FSAAF started their day well before dawn


By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 26th article in a series about Fort Sumner Army Air Field (FSAAF) during WWII.

In the early days of the United States’ involvement in WWII, some different ideas about troop-carrying planes were being discussed.  These troop-carrying planes appeared to be early versions of the later troop-carrying gliders that would eventually transport thousands of combat men and equipment into battle.

The Fort Sumner Leader stated in its June 19, 1942 edition that such troop-planes would be made mostly of wood to help with the shortage of metal.

“In order to solve the metal shortage in plane production, piano and furniture      men have built a plane made 90 per cent of wood.  Fleets of these huge wooden troop-planes, capable of carrying men and munitions at 200 miles per hour, are nearing reality.”

An article in the Leader about two months later on August 7, described the creation of the United States’ first two airborne divisions, the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division.

The article, entitled, “Two Divisions of Infantry Prepared to Move by Air”, stated that Robert P. Patterson, the Under-Secretary of War, announced the “formation of the first two of an undisclosed number of entire divisions of infantry to move to a battle front by air.”

“The 82nd and 101st infantry divisions at Camp Claiborne, La., will be the first of the air-borne units, which will be streamlined down to a strength of about 8,000 men each.  All their weapons and equipment will be moved by planes and gliders.”

The article went on to say that once in combat action, the airborne divisions will fight as infantry like German army divisions.

The commander of the 82nd is Brig. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway while the commander of the 101st is Brig. Gen. William C. Lee.

The soldiers who composed these new airborne units were “specifically qualified men, skilled in all offensive operations, including Marine landings and mountain and desert warfare.”

In addition to these new airborne divisions, there would be a new “American-Canadian force of super-specialists in offensive warfare.”

This super-commando force would operate directly under the deputy chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, at a training camp established at Helena, Mont., stated the article.

“The Canadian contingent will be the first to serve as a part of a United States army unit, Patterson said.  Canadian officers are already helping form the outfit.  Canadians and Americans will wear the same uniforms.”

Glider pilots who trained at Fort Sumner Army Air Field helped to deliver many of these combat troops, known as “glider riders”, into action in many battles during the war.

An article entitled “Pioneers of ‘43” by F. Walker and supplied by Dale Burge of Alamogordo, New Mex., described the training of glider pilots at FSAAF.

Col. James H. Higgs was the commanding officer of FSAAF in 1943 and under his direction, “both military and civilian personnel are working to train glider pilots and to construct a modern flying field.”

“Nucleus of the entire program is the group of glider students, who have already received their primary training at another field, and instructors and tow pilots.”

“The glider students stand reveille at 4:30 a.m. and have breakfast at 5 o’clock.  At 5:30 they meet formation for the flight line and go to one of the auxiliary fields by Army trucks.”

“Looking like Arctic explorers in their fleece-lined leather trousers, overshoes, flight jackets and gloves, the glider students arrive at the auxiliary field for the day’s glider training.”

The article continued by saying that after warming up his airship, the tow pilot would then taxi into position in front of two gliders.  Enlisted men would then attach the tow ropes to the two or three-place gliders which are to be towed up to altitude.

The student pilots take their place at the front of the glider with the instructor behind.  They all fasten their seat belts and close the cowling of the glider.

“At a signal from each member of the ground crew, (one standing at the wing-tip of each of the gliders), the tow pilot takes off towing the two gliders.

“In addition to the hours spent in flight training, each glider student attends ground school where he concentrates on meteorology and aerodynamics.  Time also is spent studying parachute maintenance, chemical warfare, glider navigation, military maps and charts, aircraft identification, communications and other subjects of value to a future officer and pilot.  Athletics and calisthenics also are a necessary part of each student’s training.”

More about the training of glider pilots at FSAAF will be discussed in the next article.

Readers are encouraged to visit Silent Wings Museum (www.silentwingsmuseum.com) in Lubbock for more information about the glider program of WWII.  More information is also available at www.researchwars.org and at www.ww2gp.org.

If you can help with this research project, please call John McCullough at 806-793-4448 or email him at johnmc@researchwars.org





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ARTICLE 27

George Boyle trained in the CPT before coming to FSAAF in WWII


By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 27th article in the series about Fort Sumner Army Air Field (FSAAF) during WWII.

On October 1, 2011, at the National WWII Glider Pilot Association’s annual reunion in Oklahoma City, Okla., George Boyle gave an interview about his time spent training to become a glider pilot in the Second World War.

George E. Boyle was born in Mills, Wyoming in March, 1921.  Boyle had no childhood pilot heroes like Charles Lindbergh or Admiral Byrd.  He just wanted to be a pilot.

He began college at Billings Polytechnic Institute, now Rocky Mountain College, in Billings, Montana in September, 1939.

That fall semester, Boyle enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training program (CPT).  It was a class that he enrolled in like math or English and there was no cost.

“Well, I think I always wanted to be a pilot.  They were starting to need pilots and I just decided that it was a good thing to do.  They told me that I should be an engineer so I was taking electrical engineering.  I thought I’d invent TV”, he chuckled.

“It started with a pilot teaching me how to fly and how to solo and that was probably in the fall.”

“I had a private pilot’s license before the war and I got most of my training through the college system in Billings, Montana.  I flew off an east-west runway that had about a fifteen mile-an-hour crosswind.  I was getting college credit for it, too.”

“Part of the courses we did, we did basic flying, did my solo stuff; and then we flew cross-country.  Then we flew aerobatics.  So I was well-trained as a pilot; and then I got my private license and I was just flying for the fun of it.”

“Well, they had these small planes like Piper Cubs and Aeroncas; so it was just a matter of availability.”

He would go to the local airport at Billings for the in-plane portion of the training.

“I would have to be there at one o’clock.”

When asked the name of his instructor, Boyle replied, “I think his name was White.  He was a small man, kind of had a crippled hand.”

“He was a pretty good teacher but he liked to ride the controls.  He had his feet on the rudders, too.”

“On things like stalls, where you are falling and you ride the rudders, I never knew really if I was doing it or if he was doing it.”

“So the first time that I got to solo, I made a pretty bum landing; but I did it all by myself so then I knew what I was doing so then I went around, half dozen landings and each time it was better; so I think I soloed in six and a half hours.”

He had more advanced training in the spring semester and summer of 1940.

Neither Boyle nor his instructor White wore military uniforms.  They just wore their usual civilian clothing.

In the spring of 1940, his training also included meteorology and they were taught what pressure is which helped him to learn what causes a plane to fly.

“Then we went into biplanes which was like WACO UPF-7 where you have an open cockpit; so that was a big change because you had more power and two wings.  You had to learn all over again.”

While attending college, Boyle said that he was busy outside of the classroom, too.  Boyle worked at Ward’s Supermarket Food and Drug in Billings.

“I had a job at a supermarket and I had a dance band and I was chasing girls and I was a busy boy!”

“I finished out my fall classes and I was approaching my twenty-first birthday in March of 1942.  My father lived in Casper, Wyoming.  I spent my twenty-first birthday with my father.”

“They had a Table Supply supermarket (in Casper) and I went in and looked around and I said that I would like to see the manager because I had been working in a big supermarket (in Billings) and it was a good one.  They didn’t really know what they were doing at this one.”

“So the next morning, I had a telegram at my father’s house.  They had made me manager of the supermarket (in Casper).  So, anyhow, I worked there a few weeks and straightened them out and then I went to Los Angeles.”

Boyle went to Los Angeles with his buddy, Donald Stinerson, who was the butcher at the Ward’s supermarket in Billings.  Stinerson later became Boyle’s brother-in-law.  They drove to California in Stinerson’s car.

Boyle never graduated from Billings Polytechnic Institute.

Boyle and Stinerson ended up in a suburb of LA called Huntington Beach.

“I got a job in a supermarket in Huntington.”

After arriving in California, Boyle described how he first heard about the glider program.

“We heard on the radio that they wanted glider pilots.”

According to Boyle’s manuscript about his time in the service, he said that the requirements for becoming a glider pilot were two years of college and a private pilot’s license.  The enlistees were also promised a rating of Staff Sergeant in six weeks and immediate shipment overseas.

“So I said, ‘hell’, my draft board is breathing down my throat.  I’m twenty-one.  These guys want to fly.  I just want to fly.  So I just went in to enlist as a glider pilot.  I had my private license.”

Boyle decided that it was better to volunteer as a glider pilot than to be summoned by his draft board in Billings, Montana and then be arbitrarily placed into the infantry or into some other area that he did not want.

“So he (Stinerson) drove me out to March Field and they said ‘come on in’ and they never let me go.”

According to Boyle’s service record, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces at March Field, Calif., on July 20, 1942.

More about the George Boyle’s glider pilot training in WWII will be discussed in the next article.

Readers are encouraged to visit Silent Wings Museum (www.silentwingsmuseum.com) in Lubbock for more information about the glider program of WWII.  More information is also available at www.researchwars.org and at www.ww2gp.org.

If you can help with this research project, please call John McCullough at 806-793-4448 or email him at johnmc@researchwars.org

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ARTICLE 28


Boyle trained in pre-glider school at a Boy Scout camp in Big Spring, Texas



By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 28th article in the series about Fort Sumner Army Air Field (FSAAF) during WWII.

On October 1, 2011, at the National WWII Glider Pilot Association’s annual reunion in Oklahoma City, Okla., George Boyle gave an interview about his time spent training to become a glider pilot in the Second World War.

Boyle wrote a book about his glider pilot experiences in WWII so some of this series of articles about him comes from his book and some from his interview in 2011.  Boyle donated a copy of the book to Silent Wings Museum while in Oklahoma City for the 2011 Glider Pilot Association reunion.

Don Abbe, the curator of the museum, accepted the donation. Don Abbe holds a PhD in history from Texas Tech University and used to teach history at Texas Tech.

Boyle travelled to Oklahoma City from his home in Sunnyvale, Calif.  This was Boyle’s fourth time to attend a glider pilot reunion.  The previous year he attended the reunion that was held in Lubbock.  He also attended the reunions in New Orleans and Dayton, Ohio.

George E. Boyle was born in Mills, Wyoming in March, 1921.  Boyle had no childhood pilot heroes like Charles Lindbergh or Admiral Byrd.  He just wanted to be a pilot.

He began college at Billings Polytechnic Institute, now Rocky Mountain College, in Billings, Montana in September, 1939.  While there, he first trained as a pilot in a college course offered by the Civilian Pilot Training Program.

According to Boyle’s service record, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces at March Field, Calif., on July 20, 1942.

Boyle thinks that he was at March field for about three weeks before he travelled to Big Spring, Texas, to start his pre-glider training.

“We (my group of recruits) were given a choice between three schools to attend.  Typical of the Army, we were sent to Big Spring, Texas – not one of the three choices.”

“Being pre-glider meant that you took off in an airplane and went up, shut the engine off, glided back into the field, a ‘dead stick’ school.”

They used small, single-engine aircraft at Big Spring.

“We would take off from a large grassy field and gain whatever practice altitude was specified for that day.  The engine would then be turned off making a forced landing necessary.”

“After gliding back to the field for a practice landing, the engine would be started by a ground crew person pulling the propeller (by hand) through its rotation (cranking) so another flight could be made.”

“These ‘dead-stick’ landings simulated ‘no-engine’ glider flight and were designed to provide us with experience and confidence in our ability to establish a viable flight pattern and pinpoint a landing upon some targeted landing spot.  The spot landings were practiced during the daytime and also at night.”

“Accommodations were set-up in an abandoned Boy Scout camp for sleeping.  A schedule was arranged to obtain mess hall type food from a local Big Springs hotel.  The quality of the facilities and service were so poor the Army decided to give each student pilot a $1.00 per day kick-back.”

“Starting as a new private, my pay was $105 monthly:  $50 base pay plus $25 flight pay (half of base pay) plus the $30 rebate.”

“This new life in the Army was a series of emotional experiences for me:  our country had been attacked; we were at war with Japan; I had lost my privacy (sharing a bedroom with dozens of assorted strangers); and, regimentation had set in.  From now on, there would be no right-way or wrong-way to do things – only the Army way!” said Boyle in his manuscript.

Boyle continued, “During this period of confusion and major adjustments I have only one recollection about Big Springs, Texas.  I remember the streets had terribly high sidewalks to accommodate flash floods.  You could sit in a car, at the curb, and your eyes would be ankle high to pedestrians passing by.”

“We were kept very busy flying so fortunately, we did not have time to socialize or to develop any serious protests or confrontations about the usefulness and fairness of Army regulations.  The constant thought of moving on to the next phase of our training encouraged us to keep our actions reasonably compatible and cooperative.”

“Everyone was relieved when the pre-glider course was completed.”

“Also, we were very happy to re-board a troop train heading back to California for the next phase of our training – flying sailplanes at Twenty Nine Palms.”

Boyle was stationed at Twenty Nine Palms for a few weeks before he would board another troop train that would take him back east to Fort Sumner, New Mexico where he would help build the runways for FSAAF in the fall of 1942.

More about the George Boyle’s glider pilot training in WWII will be discussed in the next article.

Readers are encouraged to visit Silent Wings Museum (www.silentwingsmuseum.com) in Lubbock for more information about the glider program of WWII.  More information is also available at www.researchwars.org and at www.ww2gp.org.

If you can help with this research project, please call John McCullough at 806-793-4448 or email him at johnmc@researchwars.org


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ARTICLE 29


Boyle helped build the runways at Fort Sumner AAF; lived in “tent city”


By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 29th article in the series about Fort Sumner Army Air Field (FSAAF) during WWII.

On October 1, 2011, at the National WWII Glider Pilot Association’s annual reunion in Oklahoma City, Okla., George Boyle gave an interview about his time spent training to become a glider pilot in the Second World War.

Boyle first trained in the glider program at a “dead stick” school at Big Spring, Texas.  He then was stationed at Twenty Nine Palms for a few weeks before he would board another troop train that would take him back east to Fort Sumner, New Mexico where he would help build the runways for FSAAF in the fall of 1942.  He arrived around October, 1942 and was there through Thanksgiving.

Boyle travelled from Twenty-nine Palms to Fort Sumner with about twenty soldiers on a troop train.  All of the men were student glider pilots.  Although they may have thought that they were going to learn to fly gliders at Fort Sumner, they ended up helping to build the air field.

When he arrived at Fort Sumner he was still a private but Boyle remembered that that Army Air Forces promised him that in “Six weeks, we’ll make you a Staff Sgt. with Staff Sgt.’s pay, but it took four months.”

When asked what he first thought when he first saw Fort Sumner, New Mexico, Boyle dryly replied, “It was pretty sad.  There wasn’t anything there.”

“So they had tents that were probably about ten by ten feet with four cots.  It had a stove and they gave us fresh sheets once a month.”

“We were pulling mesquite out of the ground to build runways.”

Boyle said that there were about 200 men stationed at Fort Sumner at this time and that they came from all over the United States.

“The facilities were such that you were eating out of an aluminum plate, you know, a mess kit; and you were cooking with water that was dirty; everybody had dysentery and it was just a pathetic lifestyle.”

When asked about the weather at Fort Sumner, Boyle replied, “It was cool.  Doing guard duty, it was kind of cold at night.”

From his memoirs, Boyle wrote the following:

“Trucks took us far from town to a flat, mesquite covered expanse of nothingness, where two air strips were being graded for use.”

“We were housed in four-man tents (G. Boyle, Henry Benefield, Ivan Newton and Walter Johnson).

Boyle did not recall the name of the officer in charge of the men.

“Each tent had a wood burning stove to burn mesquite roots being removed from the airstrips.  Gravel pathways led to the latrine.”

“We pulled our share of kitchen duty (KP) and guard duty.”

“Cold water showers were available for the hale and hearty.”

“Roll call at 6:00 a.m., in Class “A” uniform, started each day; followed by double time, close order drill.”

“Our officers were mean (transferred in grade from the infantry).  They took great delight in making our lives miserable.”

“Example:  Quote #1, “If someone falls down – run over them.”  Quote #2, “If I fall-in with one ear missing, you will all fall-in with one ear missing.”

“Needless to say our morale hit a new low…with all the dust, dirt, grime and diarrhea we were dirty privates, indeed!”

“Our greatest activity was running the gravel paths to and from the latrine; quite a let down from the pleasurably clean (country club) facilities at 29 Palms.”

Besides the many tents, Boyle said that there were no other buildings or structures at FSAAF at this time.

There were bulldozers and road graders that were used to help build the runways but Boyle said that neither he nor any of his fellow soldiers operated any of that equipment.  He said that civilians ran the equipment and that he just helped pull mesquite stumps out of the ground.

Boyle said that FSAAF had primitive living conditions with open-pit latrines.  They hauled in the fresh water from somewhere.  It was not well water, he recalled.

They had a central mess tent where the meals were made.

As far as the town of Fort Sumner, itself, Boyle had this to say:

“There was a town.  Billy-the-Kid was born there and the Greyhound bus station was the feature thing and it had a juke box with a violin inside that made noise.  That’s about the only thing that I heard was that it was Billy-the-Kid’s home.”

Boyle did not recall seeing any movies in Fort Sumner when they were allowed to leave the air field.  He only remembers visiting the town momentarily a few times.

“I never saw any drug store.”

About the only thing that stands out in his mind is the juke box at the Greyhound bus station.

 “It was a mechanical fiddle player.  It was a part of the juke box.  He was sawing the fiddle.  I had never seen one like that.”

“Looking back, my mind is nearly blank about this period of time.  Nothing pleasant happened to encourage memories.”

“Several of us took a bus to Clovis for a Saturday night.  Got a hotel room (with a bath tub and hot water) and scrubbed clean.”

More about the George Boyle’s first posting at FSAAF in WWII will be discussed in the next article.

More information about the glider program of WWII is also available at www.researchwars.org and at www.ww2gp.org.

If you can help with this research project, please call John McCullough at 806-793-4448 or email him at johnmc@researchwars.org








ARTICLE 30

Flying Provided Relief from Grading Runways for Boyle While at FSAAF


By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 30th article in the series about Fort Sumner Army Air Field (FSAAF) during WWII.

George Boyle was a glider pilot during the Second World War.  He trained at many air fields including FSAAF.  On October 1, 2011, while at the National WWII Glider Pilot Association’s annual reunion in Oklahoma City, Okla., he gave an interview about his time training as a glider pilot and provided a copy of his manuscript.

Boyle arrived in Fort Sumner in October, 1942 and helped pull mesquite stumps and clear paths to make the first dirt runways for the gliders at FSAAF.

After four months in the Army Air Forces, Boyle and his fellow pilots finally became “flying sergeants”, which meant that they were Staff Sergeants with a base pay of $144 per month plus $72 per month flight pay (one-half of base pay).

According to his service record, George Boyle became a Staff Sergeant on November 13, 1942.

Although Boyle spent much of his posting at FSAAF grading runways for gliders, he was able to spend part of his time flying in order to meet the USAAF’s minimum standards to qualify for his monthly flight pay.

“Fortunately, we did manage enough flights each month to protect our flight pay (4 hours flying time or 3 hours flying plus 10 landings).  I also had my first experience with a “wheel” control rather than the traditional “joy stick”.

He spent Thanksgiving of 1942 in Fort Sumner eating his turkey dinner at the air field with the other 200 men stationed there at the time.  Boyle said that they had a mess tent where everyone at their meals.

“Eating the holiday meal from a mess kit is quite an experience.  I found the pumpkin pie fits best on top of the mashed potatoes and gravy.”

Boyle recalled that he was “invited” to pull K.P. (kitchen police) duty for the Thanksgiving Day dinner.  His job was to keep the trash cans full of boiling water which was used to wash the pots and pans.

“Incidentally, hot, soapy water in the trash cans cools when pots and pans are submersed.  The residual result is a greasy, soapy film (G.I. soap) that does not wash away completely during the rinse cycle.”

He explained that this soapy film progressively became worse and that the end result was diarrhea for everyone.

They did not have well water at the air field according to Boyle; instead, it was hauled it in from somewhere else.

His first posting at FSAAF came to an end in late December, 1942 when he and his fellow glider pilots were transferred to an air base at Albuquerque, New Mex., for a short time.  This was a holding place until their new orders arrived.

Life was much different for him at Albuquerque.  They lived in two-story barracks and were given a class “A” pass which allowed them to roam the city and even travel to Santa Fe.  “Margaritas and senoritas were in vogue.”

While there, Boyle was able to visit his Aunt Laura (Van Cleave) and her family who lived on Edith St. next to the library.

“After a few weeks in this rest home, our spirits had elevated once again.  We were a happy bunch of boys as we boarded another troop train to take us back to California for advanced flight training, this time in WACO CG-4A Cargo gliders at Victorville.”

“Our lodging accommodations at Victorville, Calif., were the army’s typical two-story wooden barracks structures, loaded to capacity with side-by-side rows of folding cots.”

“Each trainee’s foot locker was stored at the end of his cot facing an aisle.  GI shoes had to be polished and visibly positioned for impromptu, stand-by, white glove inspections.”

“Each building had a common shower area with toilets and mirrors for shaving.  Each floor also had a private room to isolate the group leader (authority figure) from the scum.”

He said that meals were “rigidly scheduled” and served in the mess hall.  A sign posted on the wall told the men to eat all that they wanted but to eat all that they took.  The food was acceptable, added Boyle; almost good.

Boyle’s flight instructor at Victorville was a man named O’Hora who had some flying experience in the WACO CG-4A glider.  The Douglas C-47 Skytrain, which was the military equivalent of the DC-3 commercial airliner, was used to tow the WACO gliders at Victorville, noted Boyle.

“Together we went through a series of transitional flights necessary to adapt my flying skills to this huge flying boxcar:  how to use spoilers (which destroy lift), how to establish fixed glide patterns, and how to dump a heavily loaded glider onto its skids to promote quick stops in short field landings.”

Boyle provided a clipping from a California war-time newspaper which revealed the previously secret details about the WACO CG-4A combat glider.

“Giant, 15-place Army gliders are pouring off the assembly lines at the Timm Aircraft Corp.”, the article stated.

“The strange, broad-nosed, long-wing craft had been observed for some time moving over Southern California in tow of twin-engine military transports, but the Army forbade mention of production.”

The article went on to say that the WACO’s were the only gliders manufactured in Southern California but were made by 15 other concerns, including Ford Motor Co., in other parts of the nation.

“Model CG-4A is about the same size as the familiar Douglas DC-3 airline transport and can accommodate 15 armed troops, their equivalent weight in ammunition or a jeep.”

More about the George Boyle’s time training as a glider pilot in WWII will be discussed in the next article.

More information about the glider program of WWII is available at www.researchwars.org and at www.ww2gp.org.  If you can help with this research project, please call John McCullough at 806-793-4448 or email him at johnmc@researchwars.org

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