Air Cadet Story
#1

After Pearl Harbor, the AAF launched a massive recruiting program to enlist every college student they get for their Aviation Cadet program. They knew that the flight training facilities were not adequate to train all that were recruited and planned to maintain a reserve of 54,000 men in the program at all time. The surplus were placed in the Air Force Enlisted Reserve to be held until needed. By October 1942, there were 50,000 in the reserve and another 20,000 already in the service that had qualified for the cadets waiting to begin flight training. At the beginning of 1943, there were 93,000 men waiting to commence flight training. The War Manpower Commission learned about the men in the reserve and brought pressure upon Hap Arnold to get them into the war effort. As a result, the AAF began calling them into active duty in February and by the end of March all of the cadets in the reserve had been called in.

 

But, the flight schools were full and Arnold had to have a place to put them. As a result, Arnold set up the College Training Detachments and expanded the basic training program to include the cadets to hold the cadets until training facilities were available. Calling all of the men into active duty at one time created a backlog problem that the AAF was never able to solve. Beginning at the end of 1943, the AAF determined that they had all the pilots that they needed, they had to cut back on pilot training and had to get rid of some of the cadets. Many of these surplus Avaiation Cadets ended up as enlisted men in the technical schools of the AAF such as Scott Field. Even worse, large numbers of them ended up in the Infantry.

 

 

 

 

 

From 1 September 1943 to 1 March 1944, 4,931 former cadets were entered into the radio mechanics school at Scott Field alone. In February 88.3 per cent of the students were ex-cadets. The schools student capacity was in excess of 14,000 which meant that something in excess of 12,000 washed out cadets were in the school at this time. This did not include several thousand in Area 4 waiting to be sent to radio operator-mechanics school. Almost all of them wanted to be reclassified. Many complained to the Inspector General's Office. Those with an educational background that qualified them for other duty tried to get reassigned to that work. "To all of these requests, the Army replied with a firm 'No'" The policy of "higher headquarters" to wash out Aviation Cadets and send them to technical schools created a great problem for Scott Field.

 

 

 

When the cadets arrived at Scott Field ,they did so with a lot of resentment and for good reson. The Army Air Force had lied to themto induce their volunteering, was reneging on the promice made to them and was violating their own regulations and procedures for the “exigencies of the serviceâ€

 

 

 

The following are exerpts from “The History of Scott Fieldâ€

 

When the cadets arrived at Scott Field, they ran into a wall of resentment from the administrative officers ho resented the higher educated college men in the ranks and set out to put them in their places. Most of the officers , well schooled in the chicken-s—t. The cadets came from a program where they were treated with respect into one where they were treated as low-grade scum. “Hey youse guys†now greated the same men who only a short time before had been called “Misterâ€. It appeared that an effort was being made to break them into submission

 

 

 

Many of the fellows had more flight training than required for glider pilot and applied for transfer but were turned down. They applied for reassignment to schoolsto use their talents, a Doctor of Optometry for example ,wanted to go into medical field. But, they were turned downQuotas “out weighed abilities and aptitude in the matter of assignment

 

 

 

One 1st sergeant proposed to assign cadets to a period of general duty immediately upon elimination. This to be effective,must be disagreeable, a combination of moralairuining and fatigue—creating work

 

One cadet resented not being able to get off base to see his new wife. He told the squadron commander as much and he was sent to China

 

One cadet had only two weeks to be commissioned when they washed him out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVIATION CADETS

 

SENT TO SCOTT FIELD

 

 

 

 

When the Army Air Force recruited the college students in 1942 as Aviation Cadets from the colleges and universities across the land, they they told the students that they were needed as officers in the rapidly expanding Army Air Force and would become pilots, navigators, or bombardiers. Furthermore, those that did not choose to fly and had two years of college would become an Aviation Cadet Ground Crew and commissioned in armaments, communication, ,meteorology, photography, or engineering. But, when the AAF discovered at the end of 1943 that their over zealous recruiting and over estimation of loss rate had created a large surplus of pilots, they ignored all of the promises made to the college students and began transfering them to technical schools. This did not create a pleasAnt situation for the schools or the ex-cadets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVIATION CADETS

 

SENT TO SCOTT FIELD

 

 

 

 

When the Army Air Force recruited the college students in 1942 as Aviation Cadets from the colleges and universities across the land, they they told the students that they were needed as officers in the rapidly expanding Army Air Force and would become pilots, navigators, or bombardiers. Furthermore, those that did not choose to fly and had two years of college would become an Aviation Cadet Ground Crew and commissioned in armaments, communication, ,meteorology, photography, or engineering. But, when the AAF discovered at the end of 1943 that their over zealous recruiting and over estimation of loss rate had created a large surplus of pilots, they ignored all of the promises made to the college students and began transfering them to technical schools. This did not create a pleasAnt situation for the schools or the ex-cadets.

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#2

Right on cadetat6.

I was in Cooley High School, Detroit,Mi. in 1943, when I signed up for enlistment in the Army Air Cadet Program. I Was put on temporary leave till I graduated, which meant that I took 12b and 12a together. After basic training, we took aptitude tests. But what really went on was the following. Our barracks had 100 men. ----50 men 1st floor, 50 men 2nd floor. After all the aptitude tests, this is how they decided where we were to go. Ist floor to radio mechanics school; 2nd floor to radio operators school. Now how is that for classification. Turns out that out of 100 men, only one of us knew what the heck the inside of a radio looked like. He was a HAM radio man. He could take a radio apart and put it back together . No problem. Guess what floor he was on. Yep---2nd floor. That meant that when he would be on a mission and had trouble with his radio or radar, he would report it upon return to base and the radio mechanic would attempt to repair it. Where is the logic in that?

 

Well what do you know. I was on the 1st floor, so I went to Truax field,Wisc. for radio mech. training. from there to Chanute field, Ill. for electronics, and on Boca Raton air base for Airborn radar. Just as our training completed, the war in Europe ended.What to do? We were shipped off to Ft. Monmouth, N.J. to be trained by the Signal Corps in shipboard radar. We were then sent down to New Orleans to be sent out on Merchant ships as three man radar crews. An interesting point however. Since we were, a three men, going by train to New Orleans, We carried our record book and travel papers on our person. Now, I ask you; With our record books on our laps, do you really think we wouldn't look. The page that would have said we were to be trained as cadets was ever so neatly cut out and a new page glued in pertaining to air crews. At barely 18, was I going to buck the Air Corps. Do you know what they put on that substituted page as why I was knocked out of cadet training?-------PROLONGED ENURESIS. Wetting the bed till after the age of TWELVE!!!. I didn't know what it meant till after I came home and looked it up in a dictionary. My mom was furious. By then , I was thankful, after reading what the losses were to the air crews over Europe.

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