B-17 Nine-O-Nine

Feb 082017

Lt Leonard B. Fuller

First Lieutenant Leonard B. Fuller represents America’s Finest.  A farm boy from rural New York, in March 1944 he was a fighter pilot based at Steeple Morden, England in the 357th Fighter Squadron.  Four months later in July 1944 he had flown 40 missions over enemy territory, with 180 hours of combat flight in a P-51 Mustang.

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Dec 122016

Jack Voisin at Miami Beach, Florida, 1943

My father, John E. “Jack” Voisin, was stationed at Miami Beach, Florida for basic training from August to September 1943.  He returned there in March 1944 for air crew classification processing.

The United States Army Air Forces operated Basic Training Center #4 at Miami Beach.  Jack was housed some of the time in the Netherland Hotel, a seven-story ocean-side hotel on the beach. This sounds luxurious, but as early as 1942 the Army Air Force had bought or leased 452 hotels and converted them into schools and barracks to process the huge number of recruits.1  He later stayed in “tent city,” which was a vast group of canvas tents.

Jack was an 18 year old from Michigan who also liked photography.  He took several photographs of the South Beach area along Ocean Drive, among the Art Deco hotels where he stayed and underwent training.  He sent these prints home and wrote descriptions on most of them for his parents.  In studying these I discovered some details that are historically very interesting.  Even though Miami Beach was a paradise, it was essentially a military installation.  It was guarded against enemy attack; something you would not consider while sitting on the beach today.

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  1. Army Air Forces, The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces, May 1944, p. 102.
Jul 312016
Fifinella, the WASP Mascot

Fifinella, the WASP Mascot

The Texas Woman’s University Library has an excellent collection of Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) material.  It even includes several class books from Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas.

Thanks to Ben Guttery for providing these links.  Ben also contributed two Avenger Field class books to the AAF Collection.

Aug 262012
Jack H. Gardner

Jack H. Gardner
circa 1943

There’s something new at the AAF Collection: The Jack H. Gardner Collection. Lt. Jack Gardner enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January 1940 and served until December 1945. He was in the Air Transport Command, and flew all types of aircraft, passengers and cargo throughout the United States and the Pacific Theater. He even flew several secret missions.

Lt. Gardner had a fascinating career in the Army Air Forces during World War II.  His son Bronson Gardner has scanned his father’s collection of service records and papers, and he has graciously contributed them all to the AAF Collection.

This will be an interesting study of one airman’s personal story, as told through vintage photographs, certificates, army orders and paperwork.  A few of these items are available to view now.  I will be adding more items from his collection in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, you can take advantage of the new Collections feature to view the collection.

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Aug 262012

CollectionsI added a new feature I call Collections to the site. These are groups of various and different items that are related in some way.  For instance, a Collection can contain all the items contributed from one veteran’s collection. So even though items have different subject matter or come from different air fields, they are still grouped together as a collection.

While you view the list of items, you’ll see a View Collection indication on some items. This means an item is part of a collection.  Click it to view a list of all items in the collection.

You can also browse the collections available. Choose Browse the Collection in the Choose an Action drop-down box.  Then choose Collections in the Browse drop-down box.  You’ll then be able to select one of the available collections.  More collections will be added.

Or, choose Summarize under Choose an Action, then Collections to see more information about each collection.

The Collections feature within the AAF Collection is yet another way to view relationships between items. It may lead you to some interesting discoveries.