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Viewing 2 items for Kirtland Army Air Field; Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

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Bombardier Training

The Air Base at Albuquerque

Kirtland Army Air Field

Kirtland Air Force Base, formerly the Air Base at Albuquerque, is located near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bordered by the Rio Grande river and the Sandin mountains, the Army Air Base at Albuquerque, home of the Air Corps Advanced Bombardier school, is located on the mesa that lies between these historical land-marks. Four miles away, the city of Albuquerque, N. M., offers the hospitality of its business center, various amusements, libraries and churches.

Its strategic location, ideal weather and flying conditions, let to the establishment at Albuquerque of a principal stop on the east-west and north-south airways. The municipal airport, built by WPA, was completed in 1939. A year later, it was found suitable for an Army Air Base, and construction on a site adjoining the field was started in January, 1941. The base was finished in March, 1941, and Colonel Frank D. Hackett, veteran Air Corps flyer, became the commanding officer.

In December, 1941, the Bombardier school was transferred here from Barksdale Field, La. By January 1st, 1942, the advanced school for the training of bombardier cadets, at present the only one of its kind in the country, was in operation. Lieut.-Col. John P. Ryan, long a student and instructor in the use of the bombsight, was in charge as director of training. Lieut.-Col. A. J. McVea was named as his assistant; Capt. Louis M. Gregory, director of ground training, and Capt. R. W. Henderson, director of flight training, with Capt. Antone Borecky as commandant of cadets.

After the outbreak of hostilities with Japan, the bombardier school assumed even greater importance. The practice bombing activities were increase so that training planes and students were in the air both night and day. The 12-weeks course has been designed to turn out Bombardiers at a fast rate, and those who keep the pace are qualified to wear the wings of a bombardier in the nation's rapidly expanding Air Force.

After three weeks of preliminary class room work, the student advances to the second phase which includes both ground and air instruction. His next five weeks prepare him for the final three weeks, which are confined to air training-tactical bombing and reconnaissance missions, enabling him to practice the principles he has learned.

With the final mission flown, the new Second Lieutenant, with just pride on graduation day, receives his gold bars, silver wings, diploma and a hand shake, wishing him well, and is sent to a tactical unit to take his post in the world's best bombers--an officer, highly trained to perform the final task for which millions of dollars have been spent.

Source: Transcribed from Army Air Forces Collection, "Bombardier: Class 42-03, Kirtland Army Air Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico" (item 000530), AAF Collection, (accessed 10 January 2014), 1942, page 7. Note this description was published just prior to the base being renamed as Kirtland Army Air Field.

Source: Location and map from Wikipedia contributors, "Kirtland Air Force Base," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 10, 2014).


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Kirtland Army Air Field; Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Bombardier Click for Details
Class 42-03, Kirtland Army Air Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Class book for bombardier class 42-03 at the Army Air Base at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Volume 1, Number 1.


Kirtland Army Air Field; Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Bombsight Click for Details
Class 44-11, Kirtland Army Air Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Class book and base newspaper for bombardier class 44-11 at Kirtland Army Air Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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