B-17 Nine-O-Nine

Feb 052013
 
Astro Compass

Astro Compass

The Navigator’s Information File has a description of the Astro Compass (or Astrocompass) .  This device was used by navigators to determine the true heading of the airplane, to steer a true heading, to identify a star, or as a pelorus, a device without magnetic needles used to read bearings.

It is unclear to me if, or how often, this device was actually used.  I ran across an Astro Compass while visiting the United States Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force Base, near Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

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Jan 172013
 
Print or E-Mail

Print or E-Mail

Please note a couple new features of the collection.  You can now save a copy of the Item Detail page for your records.

There are two ways to do this.  You can either print the Item Detail page, or you can have it sent to you as an e-mail.

This is handy for several reasons.  Suppose you download an item in the collection to your computer.  You can now save the Item Detail page that corresponds to that item.  Or, suppose you find one or more items in the collection that interest you and you want to save the details for later reference.  Or, you want to share an item you found with a friend or colleague who might be interested in it as well.

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Dec 122012
 

HostGatorThe AAF Collection website has switched to a different Internet hosting provider, HostGator.  This should help the availability and reliability of the site.  If you notice something that’s not quite right during this transition, please notify the curator.

Some past visitors have incorrectly shared links to the AAF Collection.  These links are usually posted on message boards, forums and blogs.  Since they were incorrectly copied, they will now result in an error message.  If so, simply click on View Items and browse for the item you want to see.

Attention contributors!  The user name and password has changed for those who want to upload contributions to the collection.  Please notify the curator to request a new user name and password.

Are you interested in starting your own website?  I recommend HostGator.  Use the special coupon code ARMYAIRFORCES for a 25% discount off your own hosting account.  You will also be helping to support this site.

Oct 152012
 

CommentThere have been many interesting comments posted by visitors to the AAF Collection.  Some were posted by actual veterans who reminisced about their time during World War II.  Some were posted by relatives of veterans who were excited to find a picture of their loved one.  These comments are becoming a useful resource in and of themselves.

To make them easier to share and read through, you can now see comments in the item list.

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Oct 072012
 

WingsLike pilots, cadets who trained to be bombardiers and navigators were assigned to different air fields for different phases of their training.  They had preflight, gunnery and either bombardier or navigator training, or both.

Here are the phases of bombardier and navigator training as they were in 1944, adapted from The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces (New York:  Pocket Books, Inc., May 1944).

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Oct 072012
 

WingsMost class books in the collection are from different air fields and training centers.  Pilot training involved pre-flight, primary, basic, advanced, transition and unit training.  After graduating one course, cadets were generally re-assigned to another air field for the next phase of their training.  Interestingly, there seem to be no class books published for transition and unit training programs.

Here are the phases of pilot training as they were in 1944, adapted from The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces (New York:  Pocket Books, Inc., May 1944).

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Sep 292012
 

On CourseHere’s something interesting from On Course!, class 45-14B at the San Angelo Army Air Field.  This class trained at least fifteen black cadets to be bombardiers.  Assigned to Flight 6, they are pictured along with their Bomb-a-dears (wives, sweethearts and children) starting on page 57.

That they are pictured at all, especially with their family members, shows the base was somewhat ahead of its time.  They were still segregated, but they appear in the book like any other cadets.  A cartoon on page 67 emphasizes the situation.  It’s humorous, but still not quite right.

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Sep 292012
 

Shack 43-16You can now browse the collection by class or unit number.  Suppose you know a relative who was in class 44-D, but you’re not sure at which air field he or she was stationed.  You can display the items associated with all classes that were numbered 44-D.  This narrows down the book in which your relative might appear.

Each of several air fields had a class 44-D, but these were all separate and unrelated class groups.  For example, class 44-D at one field may have been a primary pilot class, while at another field 44-D was an advanced pilot class.

To browse by class or unit, follow these steps.

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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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