I enlisted in Battery "A" 206th Coast guard (AA) Arkansas National Guard on 28 April 1937 and discharged as a Private on September 2 , 1937 due to change of bona fide residence. Attended Summer Camp at Fort Barancas near Pensacola FL 

I spent the summers of 1936 & 37 with school buddy Paul Oxley, whose father was transferred to Monroe La. During those summers, the cotton duster pilots and mechanics at Smoot Field ( Crop Dusting field south of Monroe ) allowed the two of us to  be ramp rats. They allowed us to repair fabric covered wings that the Department of Commerce inspected and ripped open to  view fittings, cleaned jets of Hisso carburator before take off. I even cleaned out houses. After being a flight like flunky all summer, we were allowed to have a ride or two, in either a Kinder powered Fleet, OX-5 and Hisso powered Travel Air's. Of all the jobs that I have had, I feel that I was overpaid by those 30 minute rides.   

My Buddy's brother William, a Private from the 8th Attack Squadron came home to Monroe from Barksdale and beckoned me to join him, telling me that every day the Air Corps was a picnic. After obtaining my mothers permission, I hitch hiked to Barksdale Field where I stayed in the 8th Attack squadron barracks with Pvt. William Oxley until my discharge from Arkansas ANG arrived, allowing me to enlist.

I enlisted on September, 8, 1937. After a short recruit training session, I was assigned to the 6th Air Base Squadron in the Control Tower. Later in 1938-39 , I attended Photo Tech School at Chanute & Lowry Air Fields.

Upon graduation at Lowry, I went back to the Photo section where I received an Airman 2nd Class Air Mechanic rating then later Buck Sgt on Nov 2, 1940. (I'll bet you never hard of the AM ratings). They were awarded to all grades except M/Sgt for technical skills, mine was for camera maintenance. If I remember correctly the 2nd AM gave me an extra $72.00 dollars per month, the 1st AM was worth $84.00. Although now forgotten, I knew many of the fellows names who went overseas with the 3rd Bomb Wing. I was a control tower operator early in my career and I knew many of the 3rd Attack Group's young Lt.'s and Capt.'s when they were Aerodrome Officer in the tower with me.



Barksdale Field  1938





Composite of a page from The Shreveport Times describing maneuvers of May 1938, in which the coastal defenses of the United States were being tested against attacks by battleships with the use of air power.

Although the P-12 above was no longer assigned to the 20th Pursuit Group at Barksdale, it was still flying when I was in the Control tower in 1937 & 38. This post card picture was taken by John Terry, from whom Paul Weber and I purchased the post card business. It was taken before either Paul and I enlisted. Seems like the P-12's also P6-E's were still flying with the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge and when they came to Barksdale they were placed in the transit hangar of Hangar # 9 (The control tower was a temporary shack built on the roof of, hangar # 9 ) At night after all aircraft quit flying, I would go down stairs and do a lot of hangar flying in them. That was probably one of my best memories and thrills as a BAP. I had built models of the P-12 before I came into the service and it has always been one of my favorites.

There is no doubt in my mind that insignia on the A-18 is the 8th Attack Squadron. I remember its shape and believe it had an image of the Liberty bell. At that time the A-18 was assigned to only the 8th Attack Squadron. Some time after the 13th was transferred to Hunter, at least one A-18 bore an Oscar insignia. I just found my personal camera shots of a 13th A-18 accident. I have heard that this aircraft was used to tow targets and later was used for Sub patrol. These shots were made with my personal camera, which was a German 9 X 12 Cm Recomar 33, the Air Corps hadn't provided the photo lab with its basic ground photo equipment yet.






As a photographer I flew a bomb spotting mission with Lt.'s Lowery & Agan in the summer of 1939 . Lt. Agan became a General and Lt. Lowry is listed in some of the 13th's records as having been KIA. Considering the rank difference between a second balloon and a Private, both of these officers were most kind to me.


In 1937 the 6th ABS at Barksdale had a Ford tri motor designated as a C-4, parked in front of Hangar # 9 where I was a control tower operator. It looked exactly as the C-9 of the 90th BS at. Ft Crockett. (Trivia) To the best of my memory the 6th Air Base bird's tail Number was preceded by the letters KF.  It was in this old bird that I took my first GI ride with those who had to get their four hours to obtain their flying pay.

Later I managed to get hops in A-17's, A17A's, B-18's & also the newer B18A. I never could manage a flight in an A-18 which was assigned to the 8th BS. In those days it was an Air Corps policy to buy 13 new types and assign them to one Squadron for operational testing. The A-18's were already in the 8th BS when I arrived at Barksdale in 1937. I may have an in-flight photo of the A-18 taken with my personal camera (if I can find it I will send it).  At Savannah, after the war started they were used to tow targets and for submarine patrol.

In my mind the A-18 was the prettiest of all aircraft in those days.