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Author Topic: WW2 Portrait, Keesler Field. Mississippi  (Read 3072 times)
lesged
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« on: May 16, 2011, 11:11:58 AM »

Today is my 67th anniversary of the day I was called to active duty in Army Air Corps. (May 16, 1944.) I was a pre-cadet in Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program when this photo was taken.

I was 18 + 16 days when I went into uniform. I enlisted in June of 1943 and had to wait to meet minimum age of 18 to be called up.  I mistakenly thought it was strictly for pilot training, because that's what all the recruitment posters implied. There were two other less glamorous flying officer positions, navigator and bombadier, were part of the bomber assignments on heavy bombers B-17, B-24 and super bomber B-29s at the time I was in the service.

The photo was taken at Keesler Field in Biloxi, MS, sometime in June 1944 in a photo booth . I think you got 3 pics for 25 cents, IIRC. As it was still army our uniforms were khaki in winter and suntans in summer. Blue uniforms came later when the name was changed to Air Force and became a separate military service. I was discharged on June 16, 1946

« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 05:03:33 PM by lesged » Logged
martolod
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 01:20:19 PM »

Handsome, ain't yer. :cool:
no wonder Claudia was smitten a few years down the track Smiley
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jamesmck
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2011, 02:33:25 PM »

I agree -- one handsome dude!

James
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James McKearney
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2011, 03:52:17 PM »

Dang you was sexy then.  :eek:
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Ronald Bishop
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 04:01:28 PM »

You sure gots your eye into the mirror huh?
   Good shot Les, you really have that 'positive' look in your eyes.
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lesged
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 05:02:32 PM »

Kalle, James, Larry and Ron,

Thanks for your compliments and remarks

I found a link that nicely describes what the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program was like during WW2. You'll read that requirements were lowered to get the huge amount of pilots they needed, as well as navigators and bombadiers. Lowering the age to 18 and letting high school graduates be eligible for pilot training  opened a vast pool of  young men (lots still teen agers)

I only question the remark that pre-cadets could choose whether they wanted to be pilot, navigator or bombadier. The choice was not made by the pre-cadet, but how his test results determined which of the three categories  best suited the candidate.

The whole Army Air Corps' Aviation Cadet program was "washed out"  just after I finished basic training. No one I went in with or any others already in the program, but not yet completed, ever got flying officer's bars and wings.

If I had been called up earlier and finished whatever training I was assigned, the following link would give you an idea what the aviation cadet trainng was like. It follows Aviation Cadet Robert Krenzelok's  passage through the program.

http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gregkrenzelok/Robert%20Military.html

« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 05:07:55 PM by lesged » Logged
LarryD
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2011, 05:34:21 PM »

Wisdom of age. Dad you need to write a book as I know nothing even after all the years of schooling I have compared to what you know.
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br1078lum
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 06:38:46 PM »

Kind of like when I went in the Navy.  They asked us what ratings we would like to strike for (Naval parlance for learning a rating), then later gave us a list of five ratings that reflected what our scores on the apptitude tests indicated we were good for.  Then we got to choose again from that list (still was a crap-shoot in case you asked for a rating that was over billeted).  The second list had none of my original choices on it.  That's how I became a Torpedoman instead of a Lithographer Mate.  They said I scored too high to get a rating that had no 'A' school.  The Navy wouldn't accept that I already had three years of schooling to be a printer before I went in the service.

PF
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LarryD
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 07:05:47 PM »

Yop You are a body in a slot....
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Ronald Bishop
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 08:08:53 PM »

Well my story goes like this in the military,they were looking for helicopter pilots,my GT score was high enough to qualify but I was too short in months to go. So I re enlisted for 6 years {they paid a months pay for every year= about 700 bucks}
    Got down the Ft Rucker Al. to flight school. I was an average student for about 3 weeks, then the math caught up with me. I was sent to the COs office, he had my records in front of him. He asked how my high school grades were. I told him that I never went to high school.
  He sat back and looked at me and asked, how the hell did you get a score so high on the GT tests, what the hell , they were all multiple choice. :rolleyes:
    He wanted me to go to aircraft mechanics school but I had the choice and the extra $37.10 jump pay sort of made up my mind for me, so it was back to Ft.Campbell & the Infantry. Don't regret it one bit.
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LarryD
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 08:33:11 PM »

What is funny here is I had 4 years of Photography I passed the test for bypassing the first Photography school And was awarded a Skill degree in it by passing that test. They put me in POL and I passed gas for 20+ years.  I wanted to move on after 6 years and still no photography so I got into Nuke recovery Broken Arrow some may know it as. Well took too many rads and got back into POL.
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2011, 08:52:40 PM »

Interesting. In 1981, as I got close to graduation, I wanted to join the Army for school money. I really wanted to fly (still want to, sigh) but at that time they had plenty of candidates for warrant flight school so my marginal color vision was enough to wash me out even before getting there. So I chose to be a tanker instead. And in the end, that was 3 years of fun on M60A3 tanks that I now see, mostly, guarding VFW & American Legion Posts LOL

After that was the reserves as a grunt, but that's a different set of stories Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 04:05:23 AM »

I had an uncle who'd been in the navy, another who'd been in the army, and a dad who'd not been in either.  My navy uncle had a son who joined the army, my army uncle had a son who joined the navy, and my older brother joined the navy 1 year ahead of me.  Then, 5 years later, our youngest brother joined the navy.  That's three out of 5 boys in the navy in my immediate family (yup, 4 brothers have I).

I was a Yeoman (desk jockey), a Hull Maintenance Technician (welder/pipefitter/plumber/turd-chaser), and a Damage Controlman (ship's firefighter/flood control) in my 20 years.  I regret a couple of things, but I look back and see how everything was supposed to happen this way.

By the way, Uncle Les, that's a terrific portrait of you as a youngster.  I think I've seen it somewhere before, but it's good to see it again.

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lesged
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 10:11:06 PM »

Larry, Phil, Ron and Pete,

Thanks for a summary of what you did in various military services. It seems we all ended up doing something different than what we volunteered to do.  

As nearly everything I've written in NFf has had a personal connection, many of you already heard about my great disappointment in not becoming a pilot. What hasn't been fully told is what happened after the day of reckoning when the entire Army Air Corps Air Cadet program was scuttled and every pre-cadet and cadet in the USA was collectively "washed out" on the same day.  The excuse was they had a surplus of flying officers

Some of the cadets retained the status of air cadet wearing officer uniforms but without bars or wings, just a symbol of a propeller on their sleeve above the cuff. One ex-cadet I met at an elder hostel about 5 years ago, told me he worked at a military hospital as an orderly and was discharged shortly after VJ day when the war with Japan ended. A few of my brightest pre-cadet buddies were assigned to cryptography, the majority of us were sent to schools to become flight crew members as gunners, with specialties in radio, mechanics and armament then onto flight gunnery school. Upon completion became non-commissioned officers in the grade of sergeant and wore wings with a symbol of their specialty in the center disk.. The next phase was being assigned to a bomber crew (usually B-17s or B-24s) and participate in training missions to hone their skills as a team. Btw, many battle wearing bombers were returned to the US and used for training purposes. There were many fatal accidents caused by faulty equipment and lots of crew members were lost without ever being in combat. There was also a significant percentage of washed out pre-cadets who were transferred into the infantry and sent directly overseas, but without any combat infantry training . That was just before the “Battle of the Bulge” where the record for the most US military casualties and deaths happened in WW2. Lots of them were my fellow pre- cadets.

I never got as far as being assigned to a CDU(college detachment unit,) which was the  officer training phase of the program. This is when you officially became a cadet  and reviewed physics and math, learned aircraft identification, navigation, morse code and the role and responsibility of a military officer.

I was washed out  flotsam  drifting  into armament training for various aircraft: mainly B-17, B-24 and finally B-29s, guns, shells, bombs, but no missiles. Between reassignments to keep me busy they had me learn about medium bombers, B-25, B-26. We got no training for pursuit/fighter planes.  I was transferred to many airfield, Lowry and Buckley AFBs in Denver, McCook AFB  in Nebraska (B-24) Dalhart AFB, Texas, Alamagordo AFB, New Mexico and finally  Ft. Worth AFB, Texas. The last two were for B-29s

In my last part of my service I was given the MOS as small arms specialist, but never worked in that field. I lonly learned how to field strip  a standard issue 45 automatic pistol and detect while blindfolded which parts didn’t belong or were defective ---in my armament school.. My last assignment was in HQ reclassifying fellow airmen. My final MOS was based on my last civilian job: working in Boston Public Library’s book purchasing department. Go figure!

I have no regrets for volunteering into a program that disintegrated shortly after being called up. I got lots of GI Bill credit toward my post HS education. Even my inactive enlistment period was counted so I got a BA in psychology and all my art studies free including 2 years study overseas and won the prize of bringing back a lovely souvenir from Europe, i.e. my classmate, Claudia, who I married in Florence in 1951. The house we’ve lived in the past 50 years was assisted by GI Bill perks, and lastly all my meds through the VA.

All that for 2 years and 1 month of military service was a pretty good deal.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 10:19:38 PM by lesged » Logged
br1078lum
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2011, 09:13:52 AM »

I'd say you hit the jackpot Les.  It good to see nice things happen to really fine people.

PF
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