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Viewing 34 items for Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

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Advanced Flight Training

Brooks Field


Brooks Field

Brooks Field was located near San Antonio, Texas.


Sidney J. Brooks

"A cow clipped the wings of the plane of Second Lieut. Robert W. C. Wimsatt, Brooks Field flyer, who stopped off at Barron Field at Fort Worth Friday on a return flight from Memphis, and forced the aviator to wait until the craft's wings could be repaired."

This is only one of the bottlenecks faced by Brooks Field officers of 24 years ago, as related by a San Antonio newspaper. The cow, it appeared, had been attracted by the banana oil in the wing fabric, and had a light lunch.

Brooks Field, now home of the Air Corps Advanced Flying School and of the only Advanced Observation School in the Nation, is one of the army's oldest air fields. Founded the sam year as Kelly, 1917, it has since trained instructors and pilots for the first World War, served as a "lighter-than-air" craft center, a primary flying school, base of the 12th Observation Group, and currently as an advanced flying school.

Back in 1917, when Europe was boiling over the fire of Kaiser Wilhelm's aspirations, the United States army established an air field on the present site of Brooks. On Dec. 8 of that year ground was broken for the field as it is now know. The original base was called Gosport Field., after the system of flight training devised at Gosport, England, but the name was soon changed.

In the spring of 1917, shortly after the United States declared herself at war with Germany on April 6, a San Antonio youth heeded the call and cut short his law studies at the University of Texas to join his countery's armed forces. Sidney J. Brooks, son of Judge and Mrs. Sidney J. Brooks of San Antonio, was graduated from the aviation ground school at Austin in August. He was then transfereed to Kelly Field No. 2 where he served four months with 20 hours' flying time to his credit.

On Nov. 13, young Brooks took off from Kelly Field on what was to have been his final flight before winning his commission, but he crashed to his death while approaching the field for a landing. Shortly thereafter, the name of Gosport Field was dropped and the field was renamed permanently for Lieut. Brooks.

America at war found herself in immediate and acute need of pilots. Government officials had investigated and selected San Antonio as site of its most important flying schools because of the city's army training background and the unequaled flying conditions of the terrain. Brooks was one of three fields established simultaneously: the others were Kelly Fields, Nos. 1 and 2.

On Feb. 16, 1918, Maj Henry Conger Pratt arrived to become the field's first commander: to Maj. Pratt, now a Brigadier General, goes most of the credit for the appearance and performance of the field since that time. Events have moved swiftly.

Brooks Field pilots soon began to make their names known. Here is a partial calendar of events of 1918, when Brooks trained hundreds of flying instructors for other fields and a number of pilots to fight abroad:

  • March 28--First plane flown at the field by Maj. Leo A. Wlaton.

  • August 6--Maj. Dean Smith completes non-stop cross-country flight of 384 miles from Carlsbad, N. M., to Brooks Field.

  • August 17--Lt. J. V. Hyde commended in orders by Maj. Smith for comspicuous courage in rescuing a fellow officer from wreckage of a crashed plane.

  • August 31--Maj. Dean Smith lands a hospital plane on the parade grounds at Fort Sam Houston in the presence of Brig. Gen. John Ryan and staff.

  • September 7--Three planes, with Lt. Stanley M. Barbee in command, fly 128 miles from Brooks Field to Corpus Christi, Texas, in one hour and 40 minutes.

  • September 21--Maj. Smith takes command of the field as Col. Pratt, cheered by officers and men, departs for Washington.

  • October 10--Lt. John M. Clark climbs to an altitude of 13,600 feet in a JN4D Curtiss plane with an OX5 motor.

  • October 20--Maj. Smith and Capt. J. A. Macready make a reconnaissance flight to aid city police in capturing an outlaw.

  • October 25--The War Department orders that the Gosport system, as developed at Brooks Field, be made uniform at all U. S. air fields.

  • October 28--Lt. Hyde averages 94-1/2 miles-an-hour on a 325-mile non-stop flight to Brownsville in a Curtiss JN4D.

  • November 14--Officers celebrate signing of the armistice with a cabaret dance--in civilian clothes.

After the war, training activity at Brooks subsided for a number of years and the field was used as a "lighter-than-air" center. But 1922 was a big year. The huge dirigible hangar, with its 91,240 square feet of floor space as constructed at a cost of $1,500,000; and a complete school for training in free and captive balloons was established at the field.

Scores of observers and future dirigible pilots were trained; ten years later Brooks boasted the Nation's fourth largest airship dock, one of two located in Texas.

Brooks also came back as a flying center in 1922. In September of that year, when Kelly Field was designated as a permanent military flying field, Brooks became the home of the six months' primary training course, formerly located at Carlstrom Field, Fla.

Those where the days of the well-known Curtiss "Jenny," more specifically the JN-6H, with its 110-housepower Hispano-Suiza motor. No brakes, flaps, nor windshields on this ship which "cruised at 80 and stalled at 75."

They were the days, too, in which the pilot landed his "crate" in the farmer's field to inquire, "Which way to so-and-so?" The farmer pointed vaguely and the ship took off in that general direction.

Maps and weather reports were few, instuments fewer, and radio ranges non-existent. Parachutes were considered as so much excess weight, and were not issued in primary or basic training.

Brooks Field continued as a Primary Flying School until October, 1931, when Randolph Field was completed. At that time, the 12th Observation Group was established at Brooks, with the 88th, 12th, and 22nd Observation Squadrons based at the field. The 22nd still remains as the only tactical squadron in the San Antonio area.

In February, 1940, Brooks again resumed flight training as a sub-base under the Kelly Field Advanced Flying School, and became an independent advanced school Jan. 1, 1941. On Feb. 15, the army's only Advanced Observation Flying School was added to the field's activities.

They wear parachutes now; maps and instruments are many and varied, and radio ranges form a huge network of sky highways across the Nation. Cadet courses are thorough but concentrated. The entire field is keyed up to the Nation's gigantic defense effort and Brooks is duplicating the service it rendered in 1918.

Source: Transcribed from Army Air Forces Collection, "Observer, The: Class 42-B and Class 42-C, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas" (item 000276), AAF Collection, http://AAFCollection.info/items/list.php?item=000276 (accessed 11 January 2014), 1942, pages 129-130.

Source: Location and map from Wikipedia contributors, "Brooks Air Force Base," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brooks_Air_Force_Base&oldid=581841540 (accessed January 11, 2014).

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1

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Base Leg, The Click for Details
Class 41-D, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 41-D at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

2

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
2510th AAFBU, Pilot School, Advanced, Twin-engine

Pictorial of base staff and activities at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

3

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
Class 43-C, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 43-C at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

4

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
Class 43-E, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 43-E at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

5

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
Class 43-G, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 43-G at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

6

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
Class 43-H, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 43-H at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

7

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
Class 44-C, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 44-C at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

8

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Brooks Field Click for Details
Class 44-E, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 44-E at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

9

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Caduceus Click for Details
1944 Yearbook, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Yearbook for the medical detachment at Brooks Field, near San Antonio, Texas.

10

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Kelly Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Flying Cadet, The Click for Details
Class of 1927, Kelly Field and Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for the March 1927 class at Kelly Field and Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas. Volume 1, Number 1.

11

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 41-E, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 41-E, Flying Cadet Detachment, The Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

12

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 41-F, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 41-F at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

13

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 41-G, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 41-G at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

14

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 41-H, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 41-H at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

15

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 41-I, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 41-I at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

16

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 42-A, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 42-A at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

17

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 42-B and Class 42-C, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 42-B and class 42-C at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

18

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 42-D and 42-E, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for class 42-D and 42-E at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

19

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 42-G, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 42-G at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

20

Brooks Field; San Antonio, Texas, USA

Observer, The Click for Details
Class 42-H, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 42-H at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas.

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