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Viewing 2 items for Avenger Field; Sweetwater, Texas, USA

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Advanced Flight Training; Basic Flight Training; Primary Flight Training; Women's Air Corps Training

The History of Avenger Field


Avenger Field

Avenger Field is located 3 miles west of Sweetwater, Texas.

Avenger Field grew from the modest Sweetwater Municipal Airport early in the spring of 1942, for the purpose of training pilots who would fly airplanes to win the war.

Perched on a hillside, the municipal airport taught people to fly and carried passengers even before "cubs" were invented. Mr. Riley remembers landing here around 1930 when there were only OX-5s and Curtiss Robins on the field.

The first pilots to be trained at the new field were British airmen and U. S. volunteers for the RCAF. This was British Flying Training School No. 7 in the United States and was under contract to Plasser-Prince who moved here from California to direct the school. On June 15th about 100 men started on a course that included primary, basic and advanced training.

Before they arrived, Avenger Field got its name. Mrs. Grace Faver won a prize offered to the person in Sweetwater who thought of the best name by calling it Avenger.

In August, the government decided to close the school as an RCAF school and make it into an army primary training school. Along with this program was to be run an Air Transport Command refresher course. Most of the men taking this course were experienced airline pilots, and they flew BTs. From here they went to twin-engine school and then active service overseas. The school's capacity was to be 500 trainees total.


Jacqueline Cochran

Meanwhile, in another part of the country, Jacqueline Cochran was making plans for a training program for women pilots who could fly airplanes to win the war.

The first available field for the school, in Houston, was far from what Miss Cochran had in mind. Although the flying facilities were good, a [plan] for a complete program could not be developed here. So, in January, she and officials from the Gulf Coast Training Center began looking around.

From among the fields available through readjustment of AAF training programs, Avenger Field was chosen--because of its multiphase training possibilities, its maintenance facilities, its compactness and its location in a nice community. The Houston contractors, Aviation Enterprises, bought out Plosser-Prince, and the girls moved in.

For about a month, the last of the primary cadets were still around finishing up their training. Although all the girls flew from hangar 2, when the PTs flocked into the airport at the end of a period, it was impossible to tell which were piloted by boys and which by girls.

The boys left, more classes of girls arrived, the remaining Houston classes came up to graduate here, and slowly the 318th AAFFTD, CFS-W settled down to the everyday routine of 6 overlapping classes learning to fly primary, basic and advanced airplanes.

And until the war is won, Avenger Field will continue to train pilots whose duty as Mrs. Faver's Avenger Field poem put it, will be . . . "wrongs to avenge, that freedom's flag might wave". . . and . . . "on mighty wings, these heroes shall not fail...."

Source: Transcribed from Army Air Forces Collection, "Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, 318th: Class 43-W-4 and 43-W-5, Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas" (item 000061), AAF Collection, http://AAFCollection.info/items/list.php?item=000061 (accessed 12 January 2014), 1943, page 9.

Source: Location and map from Wikipedia contributors, "Avenger Field," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Avenger_Field&oldid=557879076 (accessed January 12, 2014).

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1

Avenger Field; Sweetwater, Texas, USA

Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, 318th Click for Details
Class 43-W-4 and 43-W-5, Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas

Class book for women pilot classes 43-W-4 and 43-W-5 of the 318th Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment.

2

Avenger Field; Sweetwater, Texas, USA

Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, 318th Click for Details
Class 44-W-3, Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas

Class book for advanced pilot class 44-W-3 at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas.

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