3. Learning the Art of War – Basic Flight

A Ground School Instructor…

In August of 1942, as my father began his Primary Flight training at Carlstrom Field in Florida,  J.D. Salinger, the future author of “Catcher in the Rye“, was arriving at the Army Air Force Basic Flight School at Bainbridge, Georgia. He would be stationed there for the next nine months.

The twenty-three year old writer had been drafted earlier that year and subsequently assigned to the Bainbridge Army Airfield as a ground school instructor.

In the biography, J.D.Salinger: A Life, author Kenneth Slawenski writes that Salinger, although “not mechanically inclined“, somehow found himself teaching young pilots the inner workings of aircraft engines.

In October of 1942, two months after Salinger became an instructor, Cadet Parks and the class of 43-B arrived at Bainbridge for their Basic Flight Training…

That’s right… There is a distinct possibility my father learned about aircraft engines from J.D. Salinger.

War is strange business.

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2. Learning the Art of War – Primary Flight

The above picture was taken at Carlstrom Field sometime in late August or early September of 1942.

In the photograph, aviation cadets, Rodney L. Due (left) from Chicago, Richard B. Bixler  (right) from Annville, Pennsylvania and their instructor (center) leave the flight line after putting in some time in the dual cockpit PT-17 Stearman in the background.

On the back of the photograph, my father titled the scene, “That’s enough for today.

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