Friday, December 23, 2011

Home for the Holidays

To all in Blogger land have a happy and safe holiday season!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day

On this day in 1918 on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, World War I ended.  Tomorrow is 11th day of the 11th month of 2011.  On this day I would like to thank my dad for his service and to all the veterans out there.  Here is a picture of my my dad taken from the Wright field Desert Test Unit as part of the 23rd Composite Group probably in 1944.(Image copyright, Nathan K. Moran 2011)

More on the airplane.

If you look closely at the tail of the first airplane you will see a serial number.  The code number was 44- 74717. I looked for the number as if it was done during the war but came to realize that this was a post war serial number.  The plane was a p-51d-30-na.  Several planes with nearby numbers served in the korean war and were damaged. Some survived into the modern era and became civilian aircraft.  Aircraft were identified by their tail number and their records are tagged to them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Airplane Photo

In the midst of my dads stuff are some photographs, some are contemporary to his footlocker and others are from after the war.  This one is a photo of some P-51's on the flightline after the war.  I do not think they were taken when dad was doing his wartime duty due to the fact the United States insignia is post war instead of wartime.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The 1st Pursuit/23 Composite Group/Air Corps Proving Ground Group

Among the items in my dads footlocker were patches of the units he was in during the war.  One would think it would be a simple matter to match the patch to the unit or the unit to the patch.  My fathers unit was the 1st Pursuit Squadron/Air Corps Proving Ground Group which was a component of the 23 Composite Group stationed at Orlando Air Field then at Eglin Air Field both of which  are in Florida.  A check of the official sources for Air Corps unit heraldry does not show a unit symbol, motto or patch for the unit.  However his unit must have had a unit insignia and motto to differentiate it from other units and for the sake of unit pride.  Dad had a unit patch minus the motto and a unit pin that had a motto.  Without the motto I found it impossible to find a match.  With the motto on the pin the puzzle pieces fell together.

The motto from the pin was "Proof by Trial".  The symbol was a gold eagle or griffin holding a torch on a black shield.  The patch that accompanies the pin has no motto at all but is impressive.  Here they are:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wright Field Desert Test Unit Picture, c. 1942-43

This image is a panoramic picture of the Wright Field Desert Test Unit in front of a hangar.  It dates to about 1942-1943ish.  The aircraft in the background is probably a P-40.  Dad is on the left hand side in a cap and his work coveralls. 

The unit conducted tests on aircraft at Wright Field in Ohio, Eglin Field in Florida and the Desert test areas that the Air Corps had in the west.  It is more commonly referred to as the Wright Field Test Unit.

Wright Field Desert Test Unit, c. 1943

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CMTC - Civilian Military Training Camp, 1930's

One of the things that Dad was involved with in the 1930's was the CMTC camp.  This was the Civilian Military Training Camp.  It was like a summer camp or introduction camp to the military.  It had been developed earlier to introduce civilians to military life and give military training that might be useful if there needed to be a mobilization of military age men into the  military. When he attended in 1938 he went to Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia near the famous Chickamauga Battlefield in North Georgia.  He must have liked it as he joined the Air Corps in 1939 shortly afterward.  Here are couple of awards he got at the camp for showing proficiency in shooting skills.  One was gunner and the other was sharpshooter.  He was alway proficient with firearms and was a crack shot.  Here are the awards he won.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Visit to Patuxent (WWII)

During WWII my dad had the opportunity to attend a conference about fighter aircraft that was held at the Patuxent Naval Station near Washington, D.C.  The conference was composed of military personnel who were either pilots, engineers, and even men who maintained the aircraft, like my dad.  The conference held sessions on types of aircraft and the pilots and maintenance crewmen could inspect and even fly differing types of aircraft they had not had a chance to fly before.  It was a way to familiarize all concerned  with the aircraft that the Allies flew among all the branches of the service and to make connections among the community that flew and maintained them.  

My dad brought back a couple of items from the conference.  A conference newspaper dated October 21, 1944 (multiple copies) and the other a flight line id badge.  The badge had been in my possession for years but I never knew the significance of it.  It only became apparent when the newsletters surfaced in his footlocker.  Thus two separate pieces of evidence united after years of separation to provide the full story.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Camp Bell Graduation Photo

Army Air Forces
Technical Training Command
Camp Bell

Back Row, 3rd from the Right, Nathan H. Moran

During World War II Army Air Corps personnel were sent to training in the latest aircraft technology.  This group photo was a class that was conducted by the Bell Aircraft Company that related to the aircraft that they produced for the Air Corps.  The school was called Camp Bell.  Nathan H. Moran with other unidentified people are in this group photo.  The time period in which this was taken was 1943-44.