Chapter 20: Other Training Programs
ALTHOUGH combat crews, with their supporting ground personnel, manned the aircraft which constituted the main striking power of the AAF, there were innumerable other elements that performed indispensable or highly useful functions. Important among these were the pilots and crews of the ferrying and transport service, who required special training. Instruction was also necessary for the legion of ground administrative officers, key staff personnel, and a considerable number of foreign nationals who were joined with the United States in common war against the Axis.
Ferry Pilots and Transport Crews
Probably no other AAF agency had to fly so many different models of aircraft as the Air Transport Command. For transport the command depended chiefly upon two models: the steady C-47 and the larger, more commodious C-54. But the original and continuing function of the organization was to provide crews for the ferrying of combat models from factories to points of transfer to specified foreign governments, to AAF bases at home, and eventually to combat areas overseas.* Although its redesignation from Air Corps Ferrying Command to Air Transport Command in June 1942 foretold the development of cargo and passenger service into the most important activity of ATC, ferrying continued to be one of its major responsibilities. In the beginning ferrying itself had been considered an aid in the training of Air Corps pilots, and the command had drawn its crews in large part from AAF pilots in need of experience on the models to be delivered. After Pearl Harbor, however, the original plan to allow
* For the origins of ATC, see Vol I, Chapter 9. The account of ATC training is here abbreviated, since the full account of ATC will appear in Vol. VII.
pilots to transition through ferrying to an assignment with combat units had to be abandoned.1 As a result, the Ferrying Division of ATC faced the problem of training its own crews.
The burden of training was reduced by recruiting directly from civilian life a large number of flyers, including former test pilots, stunt flyers, and barnstormers; operators of small airfields; pilots of business and pleasure craft; civilian flying instructors in contract schools; and airline pilots. Many of the civilians were subsequently col missioned as service pilots, a rating for which the physical and other qualifications were somewhat lower than those for combat duty. In 1944 service pilots in the Ferrying Division constituted about 40 per cent of the total pilots assigned; in addition, the division used a sizable group of nonmilitarized women pilots.2 Nevertheless, the need for additional pilots and for keeping crews abreast of new and more complex aircraft models forced the Ferrying Division to give increasing attention to training.
Air transport activity developed as a service primarily to overseas areas, a service which at first was performed largely by the commercial airlines operating under contract with the AAF. By an agreement of July 1942 the airlines established an Airlines War Training Institute as a means of guaranteeing a continuing supply of crews,3 but the number thus trained fell short of the need, and the Air Transportation Division of ATC in time had to rely on military personnel. To provide training for use of its own planes and for the special requirements of its far-flung operations, the division began operating an OTU in 1942. In the fall of 1943 the Ferrying Division assumed full responsibility for all ATC pilot training.4
The requirements which governed the development of training for ferry pilots grew out of the need for flyers able to handle many different aircraft models. A “crack” pilot with long experience on one or two models was not so useful as the man who could fly fifteen or twenty different planes. It was necessary, therefore, to provide transition instruction on many planes, in the hope that pilots could qualify on all major U.S. models. A transition school had been established at the Long Beach ferrying base in California as early as July 1941; others were set up in the spring of 1942 at Seattle, Nashville, Detroit, Baltimore, and at Hensley Field in Texas.5 Additional transition training was provided as occasion permitted in the several ferrying groups, which were the basic organizational units for ferrying personnel and
which were supposed to provide continuous ground-school instruction in navigation, aircraft identification, armament, meteorology, and other required subjects. The level of conformity with this requirement seems to have been low until the latter half of 1943, when supervision by ATC headquarters was tightened.6 Under the pressures of the early days, transition might have involved no more than a ten-minute talk about the plane and an hour or two of flying.7 This had often done well enough for reasonably experienced pilots, but as the experience level of incoming pilots declined, it became necessary for ATC to establish increasingly rigid standards.8 Until the end of 1943 the necessity of depending for training purposes chiefly upon planes in the ferrying “pipeline” made difficult both the maintenance of high standards and of efficient training schedules.9
Early ferrying operations had suffered from a lack of equipment and training for night flying. Formal instrument instruction at ferrying stations did not begin until April 1942, when a special school was established at the Long Beach base, with four Link trainers and a staff of two officers. By July the organization had developed a three-phase program of Link, ground, and flight instruction. Other stations followed the lead of Long Beach in providing instrument courses, and in January 1943 the Ferrying Division prescribed a standard pattern for this kind of training. An indication of the progress made by the division in its instrument program is found in the fact that while only 300 instrument qualification cards were issued to ferry pilots during 1942, nearly 3,000 were issued in 1943.10
When the Ferrying Division assumed responsibility for all ATC training in October 1943, it took over three OTU’s – located at St. Joseph, Missouri; Homestead, Florida; and Reno, Nevada. A newly developed training program called for an integration of the formerly distinct programs for ferry and transport pilots. Pilots were to be moved by way of the ferrying groups, where their training would provide transition from the smaller to the larger types, into the operational training units. It was expected that the entire sequence would require from twelve to eighteen months for each flyer, at the end of which time he would be a fully qualified transport pilot. The plan called for monthly assignments to the Ferrying Division of specified numbers of pilots, navigators, radio operators, and aerial engineers, and the output of 150 to 200 crews per month.11
In the spring of 1944 directives for ground courses were revised to
provide a clearer statement of objectives and a more exact definition of standards, and in June of that year a completely new plan of study was initiated. Instruction, to be given largely by the groups, was divided into seven stages, each of them designed to furnish the transition training needed by individuals in a given pilot classification. All subjects were limited to a few hours in length, so that pilots could complete at least one of them in a day and thus take advantage of short intervals between missions. The final Stage G prepared for overseas operations through instruction in the recognition of Allied and enemy aircraft, interrogation of prisoners, survival, camouflage, and swimming.12 The chief improvement in flight transition training resulted from the increased number of permanently assigned aircraft. The Ferrying Division had possessed in its own right something less than 300 planes of all types on 1 October 1943, but by 1 August 1944 the number had risen to over 800. Marked improvements also came in the time given to night and instrument flying. In addition to establishing a specialized instrument course at St. Joseph for pilots of AT-17’s and C-47’s, the division increased the requirements for regular instrument training within the ferrying groups. More flying in bad weather and at night was urged, with due allowance for safety considerations, and more instrument training was given while pilots were on regular ferrying missions. By June 1944 the groups were well ahead of their assigned quotas in issuing instrument proficiency cards.13
By January 1944 the 1st OTU, at St. Joseph, was serving as a specialized instrument training school. The 2nd OTU, at Homestead, was a four-engine transport school, while the 3rd OTU, at Reno, specialized in training for China-India operations. Specialized fighter transition training, which had started at Palm Springs, California, in November 1943, was moved in the spring of 1944 to Brownsville, Texas, where the new school was designated the 4th OTU. Although the 2nd and 3rd OTU’s conducted full transport crew training, graduation of students was on an individual, rather than crew, basis. This arrangement speeded production of qualified graduates. Pilots who proved unsuccessful in the OTU’s were normally assigned as co-pilots in ATC’s overseas divisions.14
The curriculum at the 2nd OTU was devoted to C-87’s and C-54’s and covered a thirty-day period, divided into fifteen days of ground and fifteen days of flight training. The former consisted of a concentrated
study of subjects such as aircraft engineering, cruise control, weight and balance, celestial navigation, and meteorology. Flying instruction consisted mainly of advanced instrument work and included a final cross-country operation as well as local flights. The 3rd OTU, which trained crews specifically for the arduous Hump operation over the Himalayas from India to China, had a more difficult training mission than the 2nd, and it was found necessary to extend its instructional period from four weeks to six. Special emphasis had to be placed on selecting for this training pilots who had considerable multi-engine and instrument experience.15
Although use of women flyers in the event of a national emergency had been considered as early as 1939, it was not until almost a full year after Pearl Harbor that anything was done. There were many reasons for the delay, but the basic one was a fundamental disagreement on the scope of the program. When the Air Transport Command created the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron in September 1942, it appointed Mrs. Nancy H. Love as commander. Mrs. Love advocated a policy of accepting only those women flyers who were exceptionally well qualified, and this concept had the support of ATC’s Ferrying Division, for which the women were to fly. But about the same time that Mrs. Love was appointed, Miss Jacqueline Cochran was made Director of Women’s Flying Training at AAF Headquarters and was given the mission of supervising the procurement and training of qualified women pilots for assignment to ATC. Miss Cochran had in mind a more ambitious project for the women-she pressed for the formation of a relatively large corps (under military or quasi-military discipline) and for the ultimate assignment of women to a variety of jobs besides ferrying.16 General Arnold, too, thought that women could be used fairly extensively. In November 1942 he directed the Flying Training Command to consider instruction even for women with no previous flying experience; he thought that the fullest possible employment of women for noncombatant duties was necessary in order to release qualified men for duty overseas.17
A small group of experienced women flyers began training in November 1942 at Houston, Texas. The instruction was given by a contract flying school, under jurisdiction of the Gulf Coast Training
Center. When facilities at Houston proved too limited early in 1943, the program was moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas. The first curriculum provided for a four-month course, designed to qualify the women pilots “to ferry training type Army Aircraft.” Although the hours specified were flexible and varied according to previous training, 115 hours of flying were generally called for in addition to 180 hours of ground instruction. As the experience level of the women trainees declined, the course was expanded and revised. By the close of 1943 the length had been extended to twenty-seven weeks. Flying training, which was divided into the conventional phases of primary, basic, and advanced, took up 210 hours. Prescribed ground subjects consisted chiefly of elementary mathematics and physics, navigation, radio code, aircraft and engines, weather, and aeronautical equipment maintenance. During 1944, in anticipation of the proposed militarization of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), instruction in military subjects was increased. The aim of the course as a whole was to bring the women flyers up to service-pilot qualifications. In order to prepare the trainees especially for ferrying duties, navigation was emphasized, and two long-distance cross-country flights in PT-17’s and AT-6’s were required before graduation.18
Most of the graduates were assigned to ATC, although some were given additional training for other noncombatant duties. A small number, chosen to become tow pilots in glider or gunnery schools, received special transition training on the C-60. The women experienced difficulty in this particular type of training because they generally lacked sufficient “strength and stamina.” Transition training in B-26 aircraft, on the other hand, was a “reasonably successful experiment.” In July 1944 an instrument flying course was established at Sweetwater to qualify women pilots for standard instrument ratings, so that they might become instrument instructors. The curriculum, which included some fifty hours of instrument flying on the BT-13, in addition to ground-school subjects, was given for a period of several months. It was discontinued in November 199.4 because of the imminent deactivation of the WASP program, but by that time 232 women had successfully finished the course. That number represented about 95 per cent of all those who were given instrument training.19
When the pilots of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron began to deliver airplanes for the ATC, their activities were limited almost entirely to training and liaison aircraft. During 1943 and 1944
these restrictions were eased, and women pilots were given transition on high-powered types under the same standards of experience and by the same methods as applied to male pilots. The number of women pilots assigned to the Ferrying Division reached its peak of 303 in April 1944. But by the time they were ready to replace a substantial number of men, in keeping with the original purpose of their organization, victories overseas brought a reduction in military requirements for pilots. Toward the end of 1944 the Women Airforce Service Pilots were accordingly disbanded.20
Training of Administrative Officers
Although the AAF during the war concentrated its training effort upon flying and technical personnel, it could not ignore the need for qualified administrative officers. When rapid expansion of the air arm began in 1940, the small number of officers assigned to the Air Corps was a serious limitation. Furthermore, the need for qualified rated personnel to perform necessary flying was so critical that the AAF sought to relieve rated officers of nonflying duties wherever possible. This policy could be effected only through procuring and training large numbers of young men for multifarious administrative assignments.
In February 1942 General Arnold directed the head of the Technical Training Command, Maj. Gen. Walter R. Weaver, to establish an AAF officer candidate school (OCS) at a location of his own choosing. In response to the demand for speedy action, General Weaver went at once to Miami Beach, Florida, and personally supervised the establishment there of the new organization. It remained at Miami Beach until June 1944, when it was transferred to the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, Texas. In June 1945, only two months before it was suspended, the school was moved to Maxwell Field, Alabama. During the wartime period nearly 30,000 men were graduated from the school.21
Officer candidates were selected from two main categories of personnel. Former aviation cadets, eliminated for flying or physical deficiency, had first priority in assignment to OCS, provided they were recommended for officer training by their commandants. Warrant officers and enlisted men made up the second group. The qualifications for their selection established in February 1942 included age limits of 18 to 36 years, American citizenship, demonstrated capacity
for leadership, physical condition as required for commissioned officers of the Army of the United States, a score of 1 lo or higher on the Army general classification test, and “such education or practical experience as will reasonably insure ... satisfactory completion of the course of instruction.” These requirements remained in effect without important modification until after V-E Day. In June 1945 steps were taken toward restricting selection of candidates to individuals who waived discharge privileges under the current demobilization program.22
The number of men eligible for OCS was greatly in excess of the quotas. Judicious selection of the applicants, a task assigned to local officer candidate examining boards, was both important and difficult. The criteria which guided the selection process of these boards varied to a considerable extent, and the laxness of some boards was criticized from the beginning. On the other hand, qualified men were often denied the opportunity to receive officer training because of the disposition at some posts and stations to discourage applications by those who were serving usefully in assigned enlisted duties. Higher authority was aware of this practice and repeatedly cautioned against such discrimination as contrary to the best interests of the service.23
Twelve weeks was the standard length of the OCS course until June 1943, at which time it was extended to sixteen weeks. The academic curriculum until January 1943 was uniform for all candidates and was presented under five headings: administration, mess, supply, transportation, and miscellaneous. In January the curriculum was divided into two phases. During the first eight weeks students were instructed in the general duties of the junior officer; for the rest of the training period candidates were assigned to one of the following specialized programs: adjutant and personnel, supply, mess, intelligence, guard company, and training. Graduates could not always be assigned according to their OCS classification, but specialization gave more point to the curriculum than it previously had. This system continued without major alteration until October 1944, when the greatly reduced size of entering classes made specialization impracticable. Most of the instruction was conducted in classrooms, but near the end of the course the students took part in a ten-day bivouac, called field service, in which they simulated the defense of an airfield.24
In the specialized phase of the program the emphasis fell sufficiently on practical questions to command the student’s attention, but the
earlier part of the program suffered from many faults. It was over-loaded, with never less than twenty-five separate subjects required of all students. The whole was poorly integrated and, in the effort to be detailed in coverage, was nevertheless superficial. The majority of the instructors, many of whom were recent OCS graduates, had no teaching experience and frequently did not conceal distaste for their assignments. In many cases the teacher did little more than review with the class the contents of mimeographed subject outlines issued to the students. To pass the courses, it was necessary only to memorize the outlines and cram for the tests. Some efforts were made to remedy the situation by more careful selection of instructors and by improvement of course outlines and teaching aids. Early in 1943, in keeping with a directive requiring “practical” instruction throughout the Technical Training Command, lectures were ordered abolished, but this move merely turned a bad situation into a chaotic one, and the directive was subsequently modified. The principal purpose of the academic program as given seems to have been to keep the candidate under a pressure designed to test his ability to comply with a variety of exacting requirements.25
The dominant role in OCS was played by the Department of Military Training. Its director, who also served as commanding officer of the Corps of Air Corps Officer Candidates, was assisted by a staff of supervisory officers assigned to wings, groups, and squadrons of trainees. These tactical officers, and especially those assigned at the squadron level, worked closely with the officer candidates from the time of their arrival until graduation, giving their particular attention to the supervision of military drill and inspections. For the purposes of rapid indoctrination in the military way of life, the “class system” had been borrowed from West Point. Student officers were chosen from the upper class, and the whole body of upperclassmen was charged to keep new students under pressure and to see that they rigidly observed prescribed rules of behavior. The methods employed were time-honored and familiar to most Americans through Hollywood versions of West Point life: the enforced recitation of regulations, posture “bracing,” and other modified forms of hazing, which officially was banned.26 However well suited to the development of a professional soldier this system might be, it was abused in OCS and was at best of debatable utility for the training of a citizen soldier.
Enforcement of regulations was carried out primarily through a
demerit system. Candidates were “gigged” for individual deficiencies, and demerits were assessed by the squadron commander according to a more or less standard scale. Accumulation of more than the maxi-mum number of demerits allowable for a single week resulted in punishment “tours” (i.e., walking post) during week-end pass time. Deficiencies of this kind were sharply distinguished from breaches of the honor code. Candidates accused of cheating on examinations or of other violations of the military code of honor were judged by a student honor council. Individuals found guilty, after final review by the school commandant, were eliminated, reduced in grade, and reported to AAF Headquarters.27 A negligible proportion of officer candidates was eliminated for breaches of the honor code, but there were other failures. The percentage of eliminees and resignations, however, was never so high as the rumored 10 per cent or above. The actual figure was usually well below 5 per cent. The school was sharply criticized, especially in 1942, for not culling a larger number of those unfit for commissions.28
Graduates of OCS provided the bulk of ground administrative officers required by the AAF, but it was also necessary to commission many thousands of men directly from civilian life. These individuals were predominantly men with business, teaching, or specialized experience; nearly all of them were from thirty to forty-five years old. The majority of these newly commissioned officers were assigned at once to particular jobs and given military indoctrination through local training programs. A substantial number, however, were assigned to a central officers’ training school (OTS), established at Miami Beach soon after the activation of OCS. In June 1942 the two institutions were consolidated administratively although the programs remained separate. OTS students engaged their own accommodations at beach hotels which had reached informal agreements with AAF officials; food was perhaps the most difficult problem since the Army did not initially provide messing facilities. Not until near the close of the program was a satisfactory solution provided through establishment of a general mess. The last OTS class was graduated at Miami Beach in June 1943; training of officers commissioned directly from civilian life was thereafter decentralized to the commands and stations. By then more than 13,000 students had completed the program at OTS.29
The curriculum was similar to that for officer candidates during the same period, but it was only half as long. The course, uniform for all
officer trainees, included academic, military, and physical training. The chief contrast with candidate training lay in the fact that there was no class system, and outside of scheduled hours the officer students were free from squadron discipline. Physical exercise was less rigorous and was adjusted to fit the needs of the various age groups. While officer candidates were driven to stretch the limits of their physical endurance, the older officer students were cautioned against overexertion. Very few individuals were eliminated from OTS; in such cases they were reported to AAF Headquarters for ultimate disposition.
Combat Cadre and Staff Officer Training
During the war the principal center for development of air doctrines and instruction in their application was the AAF School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT). This school was successor to the Air Corps Tactical School, which from 1931 to 1940 had operated at Maxwell Field, Alabama. Courses had been given at Maxwell to senior officers (above the age of thirty-two) in command and staff problems, air tactics and strategy, and ground tactics. When the Air Corps cadet training program was expanded during 1939 and 1940, it was necessary to transfer many instructors from the school to the new flying training establishments. This, plus the fact that few officers could be spared to attend the classes, forced suspension of the school’s operations in June 1940.
By the fall of 1942, with the AAF engaged in a global war, the need for a tactical school became critical. Not only did the Air Corps lack experienced personnel to staff key positions in its projected combat groups, but there was need for an agency devoted to close study of the problems of air warfare. After prolonged consideration of the problem by AAF Headquarters, the School of Applied Tactics was activated at Orlando, Florida, in October 1942.30 It inherited the facilities and staff of the Fighter Command School, which had been training personnel for air defense activities since early in the year.* The original organization of AAFSAT included four departments: air defense, air service, air support, and bombardment. This division paralleled the command arrangements commonly existing within the several air forces at that time; in fact, the school was designed to operate as a model air task force, its operational theater being an
* See above, p. 68.
8,000-square-mile zone in central and western Florida. In addition to the centrally located Orlando Air Base, the zone included numerous flying fields of various types, service depots, searchlight installations, ground observer posts, and radar stations.
During its first year of operation, the school concentrated its efforts on the training of combat cadres. After completing appropriate academic courses, the cadres were moved to satellite airfields, under jurisdiction of AAFSAT, for operational training. By the middle of 1943, when the AAF’s expansion program was largely completed, the need for regular cadre training declined. AAF requirements for men trained for staff work were on the increase, however, and many specialized courses were started. A reorganization in October 1943 placed AAFSAT under the AAF Tactical Center and established a new Demonstration Air Force, which combined the tactical units assigned into an organization fully equipped for exhibition under simulated combat conditions of tactics developed by AAFSAT and approved by the AAF Board. The board, which made final recommendations regarding air doctrines and equipment, was also located’ at Orlando, independent of but coordinated with the Center. Brig. Gen. Hume Peabody, who had ably commanded AAFSAT from its inception, became commanding general of the Center, and Col. Harlan W. Holden, formerly executive officer, was named commandant of AAFSAT.31
At the end of 1944 the departments of instruction were combat operations, communications, intelligence, logistics, aeromedical, antiaircraft artillery, staff and special training, and inspection; these remained essentially unchanged until V-J Day. In March 1945 a program plans division was created for the purpose of reviewing the content of all courses, with the aim of keeping them current with tactical trends. A standards division, also created at that time, had responsibility for maintaining required levels of instructor and student performance. It included an examinations and grades section, a teacher training section, and a section devoted to preparation of syllabi and manuals.32
The central library, established in 1943, carried the main burden in a notably successful attempt to provide the necessary information for the guidance of teaching and research. Its 17,000 books and pamphlets represented at the close of the war an outstanding collection of military and air publications; in addition, it had some 75,000 maps and documents, and during the war hundreds of reports of various types
streamed into the library each week from the combat theaters.33 A central school facilities department prepared training aids and provided school supplies. Elaborate and realistic mock-ups and demonstration areas were constructed for all subjects of instruction.34 A systematic two-week training program, begun early in 1944, undertook to orient newly assigned teachers in the organization, facilities, policies, and techniques of AAFSAT, and to provide instruction and practice in educational methods. Since a large number of the officers assigned to teach at AAFSAT were experienced in combat and military affairs but lacking in pedagogical skill, this program proved valuable in raising the level of instruction.35
Most of the students who attended AAFSAT came on temporary duty orders from their own organization under quotas established by AAF Headquarters for the subordinate commands. Experience showed this to be the best procedure, for when assignment involved a permanent transfer, command headquarters tended too often to fill its quota with men who seemed to be the least useful members of the organization. Although there were some instances of malassignment, the school received exceptionally able individuals, especially in the higher grades. The percentage of eliminees, except in one or two courses, was exceedingly low. The total number of graduates from AAFSAT from November 1942 to V-J Day amounted to almost 54,000. About two-thirds of the total were Air Corps personnel; most of the remainder ASWAAF personnel, and a small number were foreign nationals, officers of the U.S. Navy, or members of the WASP. Every rank in the Army up through major general was represented, although company grade officers predominated. Enlisted personnel constituted about one-quarter of the total number of graduates. Part of the value of the students’ experience at AAFSAT lay in the relative freedom from rigid discipline and the easy association among men of varied military experience.36
The subjects taught ranged over the varied fields of AAF activity and reflected particular needs of the moment. As previously indicated, the school was at first designed to overcome the disadvantages of using inexperienced personnel in command and staff positions. To accomplish this end, key personnel from newly activated combat groups were sent to AAFSAT for approximately thirty days of class-room and field training. After 1943 this cadre training was given chiefly for B-29 units. Lectures were modified and augmented to suit
the new requirements, and an impressive quantity of training aids was quickly produced by the school to demonstrate key features of B-29 equipment. The first B-29 class started academic instruction in April 1944. Field maneuvers, following the established pattern, consisted primarily of flying simulated combat missions. Specific targets were ordered destroyed, and the group commanders assumed responsibility for planning and executing the missions. Fighter escort and interception were provided for as many missions as possible, and photographic methods were used for scoring the simulated bombing runs.37 In addition to cadre training, the school offered numerous special courses in combat operations. It had played a vital role in the introduction into the AAF of the doctrines and tactics of ground-controlled interception, which the RAF had used so brilliantly in the Battle of Britain.* As this suggests, training in the uses of modern communications de-vices was first geared to the needs of a defensive type of operation, but with the progress of the war the emphasis shifted to their offensive employment. Other specialized courses included one offered for staff weather officers – a course which explored the general applications of meteorology to air and ground combat.38 Another directed attention to flak analysis in a search for means to reduce aircraft losses from enemy ground fire.39
In April 1944 Orlando also became the center for training in air intelligence. Before Pearl Harbor there had been no real provision for formal training in this field. Small quotas had been allotted to the Air Corps for attendance of its officers at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. But the G-2 course at Fort Leavenworth stressed the training of staff officers for infantry divisions, and the Fort Belvoir curriculum was presented from the point of view of the Corps of Engineers. After lengthy agitation by the AAF, approval was finally granted in January 1942 for establishment of an air intelligence school. Instruction began in space provided by the University of Maryland, but in April the school moved to government-purchased property at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Col. Egmont F. Koenig, formerly an intelligence officer of the ground forces, was named commandant, and since no detailed training directive was issued, the curriculum was largely his work. The original course gave primary emphasis to photographic interpretation, and as more information became
* See above, pp. 93-95.
available concerning the nature of air combat intelligence, that subject received even more attention. In September 1942 classes were started to prepare students for prisoner-of-war interrogation, but the number of officers assigned to such training was never large.40
The course in photo intelligence, as developed at Harrisburg, taught technical fundamentals as well as the general duties of an air intelligence officer. It aimed to provide the foundation for further indoctrination and practice in the theater, but was handicapped by inadequate reporting of developments from overseas. The eight-week course was given in segments, each one dealing with a particular phase of intelligence interpretation; principal stress was placed upon identification of all types of objects as seen in aerial photographs.41 Increasingly, the emphasis in the school fell on a combat intelligence course designed to train men as squadron and group S-2’s. The tasks identified with this essentially new and rapidly developing field of military intelligence are suggested by the topics with which the course was mainly concerned: target information, briefing, and crew interrogation; techniques of aircraft, naval, and ground vehicle recognition; organization and administration of the S-2 section; and basic map and chart reading. Since it had been found that the graduates on arriving over-seas were frequently not given the scope of authority and responsibility which they had anticipated, greater attention was given to the numerous minor tasks that had to be performed in a typical S-2 office. The original basis for selection of officers for assignment to combat intelligence training did not prove entirely satisfactory. In the belief, buttressed by RAF experience, that the men best suited for this type of work were middle-aged, nonrated officers with professional back-grounds, large numbers of older men were commissioned directly and given intelligence training. But in the theaters of combat many of these officers found difficulty in understanding the feelings and attitudes of the younger crew members. They were handicapped by lack of flying experience and occasionally revealed ignorance of facts which appeared obvious to airmen. The men who generally did the most effective job were thirty-five years of age or younger and had varied interests. Former advertising men, social workers, and others accustomed to meeting and dealing with all types of people showed an adaptability which helped them to gain the confidence of individual crew members. Human understanding and sensitivity were important requisites, regardless of the individual’s background.42
In March 1943 the Air Intelligence School assumed responsibility for a course in air base intelligence which had originated at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. The curriculum, which aimed to prepare students for duty as base intelligence officers, remained fairly constant. It included such subjects as espionage and counterespionage, sabotage, investigations and reports, relations between military and civil courts, and the use of troops in civil emergencies. Most of the graduates of the course were assigned to posts in the United States, only a small number being requested by the overseas theaters.43
Before the removal of the Air Intelligence School from Harrisburg to Orlando, intelligence training by AAFSAT had been limited to what was included in its cadre training programs. Since intelligence officers of the cadres were usually graduates of Harrisburg and enlisted personnel assigned to S-2 had graduated from an enlisted men’s intelligence school at Salt Lake City, instruction at AAFSAT had stressed the practical application of knowledge acquired through earlier studies. After April 1949. the standard courses developed at Harrisburg were henceforth taught at AAFSAT, with little fundamental change. A few specialized courses were added in time, such as that on radarscope photographic interpretation for very-long-range reconnaissance units.44 At the same time, AAFSAT’s earlier cadre intelligence program was in a sense continued through a staff intelligence officers’ course which gave training for positions up to and including the combat wing level. In February 1945 AAF Headquarters directed that a senior intelligence officers’ course be established. Emphasis in this program, placed at the level of major commands and above, was on broad intelligence planning and policy-making. It included discussions of economic warfare, political intelligence, signal intelligence, and liaison with air forces of Allied powers. Only officers of field grade with experience in combat and in a high headquarters intelligence section were eligible for the course. It was taught by a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and conferences.45
While intelligence training at AAFSAT was restricted to a relatively small portion of the total student body, more than 90 per cent of the school’s graduates received some form of medical instruction. The instruction for nonmedical personnel was considered of equal importance with the special training offered for doctors, so that all types of personnel would get an understanding of the importance of
maintaining high medical standards in their units. It was believed that commanders and staff officers, especially, should develop a cooperative attitude toward the surgeon and his work. Courses gave instruction in the use of emergency equipment by combat crewmen, the care and wearing of protective clothing, fundamentals of sanitation, survival procedures, use of oxygen at high altitudes, operational fatigue, and air evacuation of the wounded. Lectures were reinforced by practical demonstrations and realistic field exercises.46
For doctors assigned to service and combat squadrons or groups, the school offered a tactical surgeons’ course. The curriculum included exercises and demonstrations covering a wide range of medical problems connected with tactical operations, and the final phase was given under simulated combat conditions at a field installation of the AAF Tactical Center. During the early part of the war, when the doctors reported to AAFSAT as members of a cadre, the course seemed to be of real significance to the participants. Later, when the course was offered only for those who might be needed as replacements and to officers who correctly anticipated that in most instances they would be returned to previously held assignments in the United States, the interest dropped sharply.47
A brief course for senior medical staff officers, in the grade of lieu-tenant colonel and above, was started in January 1942. The stream-lined curriculum presented an up-to-date summary of AAF organizational and tactical trends, as well as the latest doctrines on war neuroses, preventive medicine, survival techniques, and other matters of interest to the flight surgeon. Since the professional training given to doctors at AAFSAT overlapped to a degree the functions of the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, AAF Headquarters in April 1944 undertook to draw the boundaries more clearly. The School of Aviation Medicine was to emphasize instruction in professional subjects, while AAFSAT was to concentrate on the administrative and tactical duties of medical officers in the field. However, duplication persisted until V-J Day.48
AAFSAT had an important part to play in the work of the Army-Navy Staff College (ANSCOL), which was authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April 1943 for the prosecution of research in the interest of more effective joint operations and for the training of senior officers who might be assigned to joint Army-Navy commands. Instruction
in the several specialties was decentralized among the established service schools, with AAFSAT charged to provide the air phase of the program. Nominations for assignment to this program of study were made, in the rank of major or above, by the commanding officers of the major forces and theater commands, subject to the approval of the War or Navy Department. A small number of staff officers of other allied nations and of State Department foreign service officers were included. It took some time to iron out problems of duplication in offerings by the several associated schools, but ANSCOL, which had its headquarters in Washington, by the fall of 1944 had worked out directives for a clearer delineation of respective responsibilities. At AAFSAT the job was to make certain that the students, who were available for instruction over a period of twenty-four days, acquired a clear understanding of the special potentialities and limitations of the air weapon in joint operations. Although combat experience was a prerequisite for admission to the course, the background of individual members of the successive classes varied greatly. At first, AAFSAT, overestimating the grasp that these officers had of fundamentals, shot too high. Later, it was discovered that instructors had overcorrected – the course had become too elementary. Experience showed that it was necessary to survey the qualifications of each class and to adjust the instruction accordingly.49
A separate venture into the field of joint operations had been inaugurated in the fall of 1943 through agreement with the Army Ground Forces. The senior officers’ course, suggested by an RAF course for British army officers, was intended to teach ground officers the latest doctrine on the employment of air forces in support of ground operations. This course, having served the purpose of indoctrinating ground officers in the principles underlying FM 100–20,* was adapted in the spring of 1944 to the requirements of air officers. Thereafter, new material on amphibious operations, the employment of carrier-based aircraft, and the latest technical developments, was introduced. The assignment of combat-experienced officers to AAFSAT in 1944 helped to solve the problem of instructors.50 Additional instruction given at AAFSAT for the benefit of senior ground force personnel included brief indoctrination given during a four-day visit to the center by officers enrolled in the War Department’s special
* See above, p. 57.
course for corps and division commanders. These visits, which began in 1943, ended in the spring of the following year.51
Junior personnel were not forgotten in the AAFSAT schedule of staff officer training. In June 1943 General Arnold directed that an AAF staff officers’ course be established, in order to answer requests from field commanders for qualified young staff officers. The purpose of the program, as outlined by Headquarters, AAF, was to train such personnel for duty in the higher echelons of command. Students were chosen from those ranging in age from twenty-five to thirty-five years, having the rank of captain or major, and preferably with combat experience. The first class of junior officers began in July 1943 at AAFSAT, but the two-week curriculum there was only part of the over-all course, which included trips to staging areas and other field installations as well as study and training duties at Headquarters, AAF. After August 1943 admission to the AAF staff officers’ course was limited to graduates of the Command and General Staff School. Before these students reported to AAFSAT, their records were checked, and information was compiled on their civilian and military backgrounds, duty assignments, and combat experience. These data were passed on to the AAFSAT instructors as an aid to them in selecting material for presentation to the class; the information also proved useful in making recommendations for the assignment of these officers in the theaters. The curriculum itself included operational and logistical problems, which were solved by the students individually or in teams. Over 600 junior officers completed the course before it was closed in February 1945.52
A more specialized type of instruction was that offered by the Department of Inspection after December 1943. An administrative inspectors’ school had been established at Knollwood Field, North Carolina, in June 1942, and was later moved to Fort Logan, Colorado. In January 1943 a technical inspectors’ school was started at Chanute Field, Illinois, and was transferred in June of that year to Lowry Field, Colorado. But the two were consolidated as separate divisions of a single department at Orlando in December 1943. By May 1944 the department had developed a general course that undertook to meet the Air Inspector’s need for personnel trained in the methods of inspecting installations, equipment, personnel, and training procedures. The curriculum covered the widest range of subjects, including administrative reports and publications, personnel management, various
types of technical equipment, supply procedures, maintenance, and training methods. An advanced air inspectors’ course was also taught at AAFSAT, for the purpose of giving review and advanced instruction to selected senior officers. In both courses emphasis was placed upon inspection as a means of constructive improvement, rather than mere criticism and obstruction.53
Training at AAFSAT was closely interwoven with the collateral function of research and doctrinal evolution. Responsibility for testing tactics and equipment was shared by the AAF Board, the Proving Ground Command, and the Tactical Center (which included AAFSAT). The AAF Board acted chiefly as a supervisory body; actual testing was performed by the other two agencies. Projects assigned to the Tactical Center by the board included such activities as preparing new field manuals and revising old ones, testing the tactical suitability of new electronic equipment, and making training films to exhibit the most recent combat techniques. The Center had flying personnel, specialists with combat experience, and professional research experts to conduct this work satisfactorily for the board. At the same time these enterprises, by stimulating the thought and interest of the instructional staff of AAFSAT had a beneficial effect upon teaching.
Training of Foreign Nationals
The instruction of foreign nationals became an important part of the AAF’s over-all training program during World War II. The so-called Goodwill Act of 24 June 1938, implemented by an executive order of 29 August 1938, had opened schools of the federal government or its agencies to limited numbers of Latin American students.54 Three years later, the Lend-Lease Act of 11 March 1941 opened a new door for the training of foreign nationals through a provision that not only authorized the supply of U.S. equipment to other nations but also the communication of defense information necessary for the use of such equipment.55 This statutory basis was subsequently fortified by a ruling of the Attorney General that same year which held that the President as Commander in Chief undoubtedly could use the “forces under his command to instruct others in matters of defense which are vital to the security of the United States.”56
From May 1941 to the end of 1945 no less than 21,000 airmen from thirty-one foreign nations were graduated from flying and technical
schools in the United States.* Of this number more than half were British, but sizable groups came also from the Latin American countries, China, the Netherlands East Indies, and Free France, while other nations sent smaller contingents for instruction.57 The agency charged with direct responsibility for conducting most of the foreign programs was the AAF Training Command. It concentrated training for individual countries, so far as possible, within particular subcommands and at certain stations. In this manner the Training Command capitalized on the experience which those organizations developed in dealing with the special problems of a given foreign program.58
The first program of instruction for British flyers was initiated at the behest of President Roosevelt. Impressed with the British need for expanded training facilities, and convinced that the defense of Britain was in the interest of American security, the President directed the War Department to consider the possibility of assisting the British to train flyers. On 7 March 1941 General Arnold, through the British air attaché, offered a substantial number of training aircraft for use by the British in training pilots in the United States. At the same time arrangements were made with operators of AAF contract flying schools to establish new facilities for the instruction of British cadets. It was planned to train 3,000 students per year in a twenty-week flying course. Authority over the curriculum and the actual training was left entirely to the RAF, while the AAF Flying Training Command
* This figure includes graduates from schools operated by the British and the Dutch with AAF assistance as well as those graduated from AAF schools. Available statistics do not always agree, but the following table (which includes both pilot and technical training) is approximately right:–
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provided for supply, maintenance, and auxiliary services, such as medical care.59
A second and larger British pilot program was instituted in June 1941. General Arnold, offering to divert one-third of the training capacity of the AAF to British use, proposed that an additional 4,000 students per year be given instruction in regular AAF schools. Under the earlier 3,000-pilot program, students received the complete pilot course at one school according to the RAF training pattern, but those entering the new program changed schools at the completion of each instructional phase in keeping with the standard AAF practice. Most of the British students were assigned to the Southeast Training Center. A third and smaller program was also begun in mid-1941. Arrangements were completed at that time to enter 150 British students in each regular class of the Air Corps’ contract navigation school at Coral Gables, Florida. This quota was intended to supply the RAF with 1,000 navigators annually.60
By the middle of 1942 it had become evident that British pilot-training objectives could be reached without continuing the assistance of the United States on the scale previously planned. At the same time, the AAF faced increasing difficulty in providing the facilities necessary for the achievement of its own goals. Accordingly, the 4,000-pilot program and the navigation program were marked for early termination; the last class of pilots was graduated from Air Corps advanced schools in March 1943. The British continued until after V-J Day to send students to the contract schools remaining under their direct control.61 Only a negligible number of British students received technical training in the United States.*
Although seventeen Latin American countries sent students to the United States for training by the AAF, only Brazil and Mexico had sizable programs. From the passage of the Goodwill Act in 1938 until the end of 1945 the Brazilians constituted about half of all the Latin Americans trained; the Mexicans made up about one-quarter.62 Instruction for Brazilian pilots began in October 1942, at a time when the AAF training establishment was under heavy pressure. But Brazil’s importance as an ally and as one of the two most powerful countries in Latin America argued the need to help in the upbuilding of its air force. Students from Brazil were entered under a series of quotas into
*There were 6 technicians out of the 12,561 graduates.
the Air Corps’ pilot-training system; they attended schools, principally in Texas, of the Central Flying Training Command.63 Most of the graduates returned to their native country for service in the Brazilian Air Force, but one P-47-equipped squadron received full operational training through AAF agencies and was committed to overseas service with the Allied forces in the Mediterranean. This Brazilian 1st Fighter Squadron began its operational training under the jurisdiction of the Sixth Air Force at Aguadulce in Panama, and later was transferred to the First Air Force at Suffolk Army Air Field, New York. The unit left the country in August 1944 for the Mediterranean theater, where it served as an element of XXII Tactical Air Command. The Mexicans also provided a fighter squadron, the 201st, which received operational training from the Second Air Force at Pocatello, Idaho, and sailed for the Southwest Pacific in January 1945.64 Like the Brazilian squadron, the 201st had been equipped with P-47’s. The AAF also gave technical training to personnel of the Latin American air forces. The courses most commonly taken were for aircraft mechanics, armorers, and radio operators; many of the students were eliminees from flying training.65 An expanded program of Latin American training was continued after the end of the war.
The training of Chinese nationals, which started before Pearl Harbor, continued throughout the war and after. It had been decided in July 1941 that the AAF would undertake pilot and combat crew training for the Chinese Air Force on a small scale, with some additional instruction for mechanics and in armament. Training began in November 1941. During the next two years the AAF resisted proposals for a larger commitment to the program because of its own acute need for training facilities, but as facilities became available after December 1943, the AAF trained an increasing number of Chinese.* These included hundreds of pilots and combat crew members, reconnaissance crews, and ground technicians.66 The diversified nature of the Chinese training program required the use of numerous AAF installations, most of which were located in Arizona under jurisdiction of the Western Flying Training Command.† All primary flying instruction for Chinese students was given at Thunderbird Field,
* This training program grew out of the plan for the Chinese-American Composite Wing of the Fourteenth Air Force. See Vol. IV, p. 529ff.
† Only a few over 500 of the Chinese students were trained as ground technicians. The rest were scheduled for combat crew assignments.
Glendale, Arizona. B-24 pilot transition instruction was given at Kirtland Field, New Mexico, followed by operational training under the Second Air Force at Pueblo, Colorado.
After the Japanese had quickly overrun the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) at the outset of the war, the Netherlands government secured permission for the training of an NEI unit in the United States. The request was for one airfield at which the Netherlanders could conduct their own training. Jackson Army Air Base in Mississippi was assigned for the purpose, and the NEI Air Force detachment reached San Francisco from Melbourne in May 1942. Pilot training, which started soon after their arrival, was the chief focus of the Netherlands program and was conducted almost exclusively at Jackson. Activities at the air base continued under Netherlands control until training was completed there in February 1944. Instruction other than that for pilots was conducted according to regular U.S. procedures: bombardiers, navigators, observers, gunners, and radio operators were taught in AAF schools. During 1943, as newly trained crews and their B-25’s began to reach Australia from the United States, the Dutch expanded their operations from northern Australia. The No. 18 NEI Squadron, based in the Darwin area, attacked tar-gets in Java, Timor, and western New Guinea. In July 1944 the No. 120 NEI Squadron, flying P-40 fighters and based at Merauke in Netherlands New Guinea, became the first NEI squadron to operate on Dutch soil since 1942. Both the Mitchell and Kittyhawk squadrons served under RAAF control, and their combat operations guarded the vulnerable Allied left flank in the drive toward the Philippines.67
After the successful invasion of North Africa in November 1942 had established contact between the Allies and the French population of that area, Maj. Gen. Carl Spaatz, commanding the Twelfth Air Force, estimated that there were some 1,400 French pilots available for transition training in U.S. aircraft. There were in addition several hundred men available as flying and technical training students. The AAF agreed to accept several groups of French personnel, and the first class of pilot trainees started in June 1943. Some of the graduates received P-40 or B-26 transition, followed by replacement unit training. The French pilot program was concentrated in the southeastern region of the United States, but specialized flying, tactical, and technical instruction was conducted at scattered AAF installations. After the graduation of a number of pilots, combat crew personnel, and
ground technicians that was second only to the total trained for Britain, French training was ended in January 1946.68 Prior to the summer of 19, many of these trainees served in the MTO. Following the invasion of southern France in August 1944, all French air combat units in the Mediterranean moved into France, where eventually they became a part of the First Tactical Air Force (Prov.), which supported the 6th Army Group in its drive into Germany.
The AAF trained small numbers of men from countries other than those already mentioned. In some instances only a few nationals of a particular country were involved, and the period of training was generally brief. An example was the two weeks of instruction given to twenty-six Russian officers in September 1941. These officers had been sent to the United States to fly five B-25’s to their homeland; prior to making the flight they received transition training at Fort George Wright, Washington. Late in the war two more Soviet officers were trained in the United States – this time technical training on the bombsight. Yugoslavia and Turkey were provided with more comprehensive instructional programs but on a limited scale. Other nations, not previously mentioned, which benefited from AAF training were Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Czechoslovakia, Norway, and Poland.69
All foreign nationals attending Air Corps schools received approximately the same instruction as that given to U.S. personnel. In some cases, especially in the larger programs, changes in course content were made on request of the foreign military missions; such modifications were made most frequently in the Chinese and French pro-grams. The British pilot-training schools and the NEI school at Jackson Army Air Base were independent of the AAF training system and consequently had different curricula.
Foreign nationals were expected to meet the same standards of proficiency which applied to U.S. students. But several factors encouraged a greater leniency: conditions prevailing in the war-stricken homelands of many of the students forbade rigid standards of selection, some of the students could not measure up physically, many of them suffered in some degree the handicap of a language barrier, and the governments themselves were inclined to encourage policies favoring graduation of the highest possible percentage.70 The greatest single cause of failure was inadequate preparation in English. Students chosen for training in the United States were supposed to have a working
knowledge of the language, but the requirement was frequently disregarded. The principal remedial device tried was to make instruction in English a major part of the course of study. By April 1944 it was no longer necessary to teach English to Spanish-speaking students, because enough Spanish-speaking instructors were available to conduct training in that language. English remained a part of the curriculum of most other programs, however. More than one-third of the total hours scheduled for preflight instruction of the Chinese students were devoted to English, and language continued to be stressed throughout all phases of Chinese training. The main objective of this effort was to insure that the students became thoroughly familiar with aviation terminology, technical phrases, and expressions essential to their study and work. The problem was attacked from other angles as well. Interpreters were used in most of the foreign programs, and graduates were occasionally withheld to give instruction in their native tongue to later classes, a practice extensively used during the last two years of French training. As much information as possible was presented to the various nationals in their own languages, including translations of standard English texts.71
The general relationships between U.S. personnel and representatives of the various foreign nations were friendly, but there were instances of friction which had a deleterious effect upon training. A small minority of the U.S. instructional staff were inclined to regard foreigners as their inferiors, while others lacked a thorough and sympathetic understanding of differences in national background and temperament. A few of them, accustomed to dealing in a bluff manner with U.S. students, offended foreign trainees, who misinterpreted their brusqueness. The foreign nationals showed a reciprocal lack of understanding of their tutors. Some were unduly sensitive and their feelings were aggravated by homesickness in a strange land, whose language they frequently barely comprehended. Special difficulty arose in connection with Latin American training because of its location in an area where prejudice toward Latin Americans was wide-spread. It was decided in June 1945 to move Mexican training from Foster Field, Victoria, Texas, to Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama.72
A high standard of discipline was as essential to the success of foreign as to U.S. training. Enforcing discipline over the troops of another power on American soil, however, required a clear understanding between the United States and the governments concerned.
Agreements were made the larger programs which permitted the foreign power to maintain discipline among its nationals in accordance with the regulations of its armed forces, while the United States reserved the right to confine foreign trainees until they could be turned over to their own commanders for trial. These arrangements followed the precepts of recognized international law and had the practical advantage to the United States of eliminating the risk of offending foreign pride by court-martial proceedings. Students in Air Corps schools, moreover, were subject to elimination in case of serious disciplinary offenses. Although such elimination was in effect a punishment, the foreign governments seldom protested this exercise of Air Corps authority.73