History of Class 44-A

It was in the last of April that the melting pot of Classification poured out its mold of 44-A.

With the dying strains of the "Air Corps Song" fading in the distance, the Class of 44-A marched expectantly through the gates of San Antonio Pre-Flight School. There, distinguished as Pilot Cadets, they began to assimilate the voluminous background of knowledge that is required of the flyer, plus the not so romantic elements of military drill, the manual of arms, the upper classmen "BRACES" and interior guard duty. Time passed quickly for the "Eager Beavers" of pre-flight as they became proficient in math, physics, code, navigation, and identification of aircraft and naval vessels.

Next they were "Country Club" bound. Class 44-A was ordered to the various primary training centers. To the potential "Hot Pilots" the PT-19 looked more formidable than a B-24. In a short space of nine weeks, the PT-19 was conquered, and these cadets were ready for the Basic Trainer, which was the next obstacle in their course.

With the additional horsepower and equipment of the Basic Trainer, the responsibility of the pilot cadet was greatly increased. During this nine-week period, they flew the Vultee Vibrator and the BT-14, fondly known as "Ground Looping Nelly." It was here that the link trainer and instrument flying demanded a new type of concentration and patience from those future flyers. As they neared the end of Basic Training, many friendly arguments ensued between the "Buzz Boys" and the "Truck Drivers." What was it to be, Single or Twin Engine? Each group glorified their choice with the realization that this choice would determine the type of aircraft they would fly in this war.

On November 2, 1943, Class 44-A arrived at Ellington Field for their last nine weeks of cadet training. Here the changeable weather offered myriad experiences on day to night cross-countries and instrument flying. Even so, advance flying with its "50-3's" and "E-6B's" did little toward dampening their spirits with the goal so close.

January 7, 1944, finds Class 44-A beginning the new year as flying officers in the United States Army Air Forces, and after 36 weeks intensive training together, they begin their new tasks as pilots in the best fighting unit in the world.

The history does not end here - rather, it is for them to continue it in bold letters across the battle fronts from Berlin to Tokyo.


Color Guard:
A.D. Johnson
R.E. Sterrett
L.R. Diggins
J.M. Buxton
Guldon Bearer: D.P. Coleman
Supply Sgt. P.P. Garber