B-17 Nine-O-Nine

Feb 192017
 

Robert Brocklehurst

ABC News aired a story tonight about Bob Brocklehurst, a World War II fighter pilot.  Recently at age 96, he went up again in a P-51 Mustang, the same type of plane he flew in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  Interestingly, he wore a cap that indicated “41-G.”  I recognized that immediately as his graduating class number, meaning he graduated as a fighter pilot in 1941.  I found his picture in the AAF Collection in a class book from Kelly Field, near San Antonio, Texas.1

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Citations

  1. Army Air Forces Collection, “Gig Sheet, The: Class 41-G, Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas” (item 000421), AAF Collection, http://AAFCollection.info/items/list.php?item=000421 (accessed 19 February 2017), page 41.
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
 
Portrait

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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Citations

  1. Army Air Forces, The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces, May 1944, p. 102.
Jun 042015
 

While wandering a classic car show recently, I came upon a relic of Army Air Forces history.  This appears to be an original decal that says,  “Keep ’em Flying! Remember Pearl Harbor.”  The red and white stripes have faded.  It was on the rear right-side window of a 1940 Buick Special 8.

Keep em Flying

Oct 262014
 
2/Lt. Ralph I. Jones

2/Lt. Ralph I. Jones

2/Lt. Ralph I. Jones was killed August 28, 1944 over Boskovštejn, Czech Republic on his first combat mission.  I recounted his heroic story in an earlier post.

Now for the first time, his picture adorns the monument dedicated to a once-unknown American P-51 fighter pilot. The seventieth anniversary memorial service for 2/Lt. Jones was held last August 30.

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Oct 262014
 
Memorial Service for Lt. James E. Hoffman, Jr.

Memorial Service for Lt. James E. Hoffman, Jr.

A ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of the death of Lt. James E. Hoffman, Jr. was held last August 23 near Věžky, Czech Republic.  Lt. Hoffman was a decorated P-51 pilot who was shot down August 22, 1944.

A monument to this American hero was erected in 1946.  This year a photograph of Lt. Hoffman now adorns the monument.

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May 182014
 
Air Cadet Ralph I. Jones Primary Flight School, Gibbs Field, Fort Stockton, Texas, circa 1943. (AAFC, 2014)

Air Cadet Ralph I. Jones
Primary Flight School, Gibbs Field, Fort Stockton, Texas, circa 1943. (AAFC, 2014)

Monday, August 28, 1944. It was a bright sunny day in the small village of Boskovštejn, in then Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic. Shortly before 9:00 am, five hundred miles to the south, nineteen year old Second Lieutenant Ralph I. Jones climbed aboard “Birmingham Boomerang,” his P-51B Mustang, a single-seat, single-engine fighter airplane. That day was his first combat mission. It was also his last.

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Sep 062012
 
Frederic N. Hernandez

Frederic N. Hernandez
June 6, 1943

Please visit an excellent website, A Tribute to Frederic N. Hernandez, created by Michael Hernandez, the grandson of this decorated World War II Army Air Forces veteran.

2nd Lt. Hernandez served in the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group, 308th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy).  The site has many fascinating mementos and historical artifacts to see.

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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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Nov 152011
 

View a copy of The Gig SheetThe seventieth anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is this year.  I found a poignant reminder of that tragedy in an item recently added to the AAF Collection.

The Gig Sheet is a class book for advanced pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas.  Class 41-F graduated on August 15, 1941 just three months before the United States entered the war.

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