EE19CO-I

M/Gen Eugene Eubank  Commander 15th AF Clark AFB  PI  1948

Also Commander 19th BG Clark Field Dec 8, 1941

M/Gen E. Eubank  (USAF Ret)


U S Air Force

Oral History Interview

 

K239.0512-1345

 

Maj Gen Eugene L. Eubank

 

30 June - 1 July 1982

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert F. Simpson

Historical Research Center

 

Office of Air Force History

Headquarters USAF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORWARD

            One of the oldest and oft-used sources for reconstructing the past is the personal recollections of the individuals who were involved. While of great value, memoirs and oral interviews are primary source documents rather than finished history. The following pages are the personal remembrances of the interviewee and not the official opinion of the US Air Force Historical Program or of the Department of the Air Force. The Air Force has not verified the statements contained herein and does not assume

any responsibility for their accuracy.

            These pages are a transcript of an oral interview recorded on magnetic tape. Editorial notes and additions made by US Air Force historians have been enclosed in brackets. When feasible, first names, ranks, or titles have been provided. Only minor changes for the sake of clarity were made before the transcript was returned to the interviewee for final editing and approval. Readers must therefore remember that this is a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written, word.

 

 

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

            That I, Maj Gen Eugene L. Eubank, USAF  Retired , have this day participated in an oral-magnetic-taped interview with Mr. Hugh N. Ahmann , covering my best recollections of events and experiences which may be of historical significance to the United States Air Force.

            I understand that the tape(s) and the transcribed manuscript resulting therefrom will be accessioned into the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center to be used as the security classification permits. In the best interest of the United States Air Force, I do hereby voluntarily give, transfer, convey, and assign all right, title, and interest in the memoirs and remembrances contained in the aforementioned magnetic tapes and manuscript to the Office of Air Force History, acting on behalf of the United States of Americas to have and to hold the same forever, hereby relinquishing for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns all ownership, right, title, and interest therein to the donee expressly on the condition of strict observance of the following restrictions:

 

E L Eubank  DONER

Dated  May 9 1983

Accepted on behalf of the Office of Air Force History by  Hugh N Ahmann

Dated  23 May 1983

   

Gen E Eubank                          M/Gen E Eubank ret

at Clark Field Philippines 194?     with 19th BG Assn 1966


Summary of Contents

            General Eubank was born in Mangum, Oklahoma, and moved to Port Arthur, Texas, at an early age, attended school and college in Port Arthur and went to work in a bank there. During World War II, General Eubank joined the United States Army and served as an enlisted man until he applied for aviation training and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1918. He was retained as a flying instructor at the Ground School at Kelly Field, Texas, and then transferred to West Point, Mississippi, to a new flying school as the assistant officer in charge of flying. In 1919 General Eubank was ordered to El Paso, Texas, to fly border patrol against Francisco Villa and his bandits.

            He was reassigned to Kelly Field to take an engineering officer's course for supervisory field maintenance of aircraft. General Eubank received his Regular commission into the United States Air Service in 1920 and in 1922 was ordered to Hawaii, serving in a bombardment unit and doing photographic work. While he was in Hawaii, Gen William Mitchell came through on his around-the-world trip, and General Eubank was assigned as his aide while he was in Hawaii.

            He was then transferred to McCook Field, Ohio, as post adjutant and later to the Flying Branch as a test pilot for new airplanes being considered for the Air Corps inventory. While stationed at McCook Field, he attended the Engineering School and from there went to Maxwell Field, Alabama, to attend the Air Corps Tactical School.

            General Eubank served as the commanding officer to various squadrons and groups, commanded a CCC camp during the depression, and then was assigned to GHQ Headquarters at Langley Field, Virginia, in the HQ & HQ Squadron, where he maintained all aircraft support for GHQ Headquarters. In 1938 he attended the Command and General Staff School and then was assigned to March Field, California. He flew the first B-17 over-the-water flight to Hawaii; he then opened a new base at Albuquerque, New Mexico, before going to the Philippine Islands in the fall of 1941. He was stationed there when the bombing of Pearl Harbor took place and retreated with the badly battered Air Force from the Philippines to Australia.

            He was ordered to Washington in 1942 as the Director of Bombardment, Directorate of Military Requirements of OC&R, where he was involved in setting the standards for training of units and supervising their move into combat. He was reassigned to the II Bomber Command and then to the Air Force Board, AF School of Applied Tactics, Orlando, and the Proving Ground, Eglin Field, Florida. After reorganizing the Air Force Board, he was transferred to the ETO as Assistant to Deputy Commander, Eighth AF, and later as Commander, 3d Air Division.

            When he returned to the United States, he was assigned as President of the Air Force Board with the additional duty of Deputy Commander of the AAF Proving Ground Command. He became the Commander, Thirteenth Air Force, Philippines, and then came back to the States as Chief of Manpower, HQ USAF, before becoming Deputy Inspector General.

            At the time of his retirement in 1954, General Eubank was the oldest pilot in the United States Air Force.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

page

Family Background

7

Decided to Join Military during World War I

8

Received Flight Instructions at Kelly Field

9

Retained at Kelly as Flying Insrtuctor

9

Assigned as Assistant Stage Commander at New Flying School

9

Aircraft Accident while at Paine Field

10

Reassigned to Ellington Field, TX

10

Flew Border Patrol in 1919

10

Ordered back to Kelly Field to take Engineering Officers Course

12

Took the Test for Regular Commission in 1920

12

Went to Chanute Field as Gen Gerorge Stratemeyer's Adjutant

12

Army Personnel Transferred to Air Service in 1920's

13

His First Parachute Jump at Kelly Field

13

Lighter-Than-Air Activity in the Air Service

14

Reassigned to Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, Luke Field

15

Assigned as General Mitchell's Aide in Hawaii

15

General Mitchell Predicted War with Japan

15

Assigned to McCook Field as Post Adjutant

16

Transferred to Flying Branch at McCook Field

16

Made Routine Tests on New Aircraft

17

Had a Set Proceedure for Testing Aircraft

17

Improvements in Aircraft Design

18

Impact of Lindbergh Flight on Aviation

18

Relationship with Aircraft Manufacturers

19

Bomber Engine Caught on Fire while He was Testing It

19

Procedures for Getting an Airplane into Inventory

20

Attended Engineering School

21

Designed an Airplane in Engineering School

22

Went to Air Corps Technical School from Engineering School

22

Concepts Taught at Air Corps Tactical School

22

Effectiveness of Air Corps Tactical School

23

Curriculum at Air Corps Tactical School

23

Impression of General Kuter

23

Commanding Officer of 49th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field

24

Flew the B-9

24

Comparison of B-10 and B-12

24

Gen Claire Chennault was Student at Air Corp Tactical School

25

Worked with CCC in 1933

25

General Dargue made him CO of 2D Bombardment Group at Langley Field

25

Selected as an Instructor at ACTS

26

Served with Maj Odas Moon

26

He and Gen Don Wilson were Members of Committee to Study Air Power

27

Opposition to Chennault's Thoughts on Fighter Aircraft Instruction

27

Procedure for Instruction at ACTS

28

Did not Perceive Anti-Aircraft as a Threat at ACTS

28

Precision Bombing in B-10

29

Went on Air Corps maneuvers at Fort Benning

29

Army ran CCC During Depression

29

Col B. Q. Jones

30

Transferred to GHQ Headquarters at Langley Field

30

Conflict between GHQ AF and Office of Chief of Air Corps

30

Generals Andrews and Arnold were Great Leaders

32

His Views on General Mitchell's Court-Martial

32

HQ & HQ Squadron Supplied and Maintained Aircraft for GHQAF

32

Attended Command and General Staff School in 1938

32

Curriculum at Command and General Staff School

33

His Concepts of Leadership

34

General Marshall was an Air Corps Supporter

34

Assigned to March Field

35

Organization of GHQAF

35

Went to Langley Field to be Checked out in B-17

36

Quality of Enlisted Crewmen

36

B-17 was a Great Aircraft

36

19th Bomb Group was Selected for first B-17 Over-the-Water Flight to Hawaii

37

Moved to Albuquerque to Open a New Base

38

Ordered to the Philippines in the Fall of 1941

38

Association with General Sutherland

40

Conditions in the Philippines

40

Pearl Harbor Day

40

Permission to go on a Bombing Mission Against Japan was Denied

41

Bombing of Clark Field, Aircraft Caught on the Ground

41

Evacuation of the Philippines

42

General Brett was Relieved of Command

43

Moved to Australia

43

Ordered to Washington as Director of Bombardment

44

Duties as Director of Bombardment

45

Worked for General Fairchild in Washington

45

Purpose of Director of Bombardment

45

Reassigned to II Bomber Command in Spokane Washington

46

Air Force Board was Coordinator of AF School of Applied Tactics

46

Reorganized Air Force Board

46

Duties of Air Force Board

47

Organizational Channels for Air Force Board

47

General Doolittle got him Assigned to ETO

48

Became 3rd Air Division Commander

48

ULTRA Secret in World War II

49

V-l's and V-2's; ME-262

49

Our First Jet -- the P-59

49

Deputy Commander of AF Proving Grounds

50

Air Force Board Recommended a Research Section be established at Air University

50

Assigned to 13th AF in Philippines

50

Conditions in the Philippines

51

Relations with Philippine Government and Military

52

Relationship with Generals Whitehead and McMullen while in the Far East

52

General McMullen's feelings about SAC Personnel being Rated

52

Returned to States as Chief of Manpower, HQUSAF

53

Became Deputy Inspector General

53

AF became a Separate Service

53

Status of Occupation AF in Europe in 1948-49

54

He had no Letdown after World War II

54

Comments on First Chief of Staff of the Air Force

55

Was in the Far East when the Korean War Started

55

Tech Training Air Force in 1951

55

Commander of Tech Training Air Force

56

Had Plenty of Enlisted Men who were Well Trained Technical Specialists in 1950's

56

Changes in Training Personnel after World War II

56

Thoughts on Contracting out Services

56

Oldest Pilot in AF when he Retired

57

F. Trubee Davison

57

Gen Walter Weaver

57

Worked in a Bank after Retirement

58

 

 

Oral History Interview #K239. 0512-1345

30 June-l July 1982

Taped Interview with Maj Gen Eugene L. Eubank

Conducted by Mr. Hugh N. Ahmann

Transcribed and Edited by Mary E. Monday

 

 

            [Gen Eubank was 90 years old when this interview took place in 1982. He had retired in Dec 1954 at age 62 after serving 37 1/2 years then served on a Texas bank board of directors for 26 years prior to the interview. The printed copy of this interview has been scanned, put on disk and is being made part of the 19th Bomb Group Association's History collection being prepared by D Landau, Membership Chairman. Our thanks to Col V Chandler for providing the original and for tediously proof reading the result -- we hope all errors inherint in such a process have been found and corrected.]

 

Mrs and M/Gen E Eubank, 100th BD, 1992


Family Background

A: General, the first question I want to ask you is: Your biography shows you were born in Oklahoma in 1892. Is that correct?

E: Right.

A: In Mangum, Oklahoma. Had your family lived there for quite a while?

E: It really was Texas when I was born there. Mangum is in Greer County, Oklahoma, and Greer County is in the forks of the Red River. Texas had ceded to the United States, when it entered the Union, all the land north of the Red River. Later after it was discovered there were two forks to the Red River, the question was: Which was the main fork? While this matter was being adjudged, it was agreed that Texas would have jurisdiction over the land. My father was a lawyer, and he was the elected county attorney of Greer County, Texas, when the commission decided that the south fork was the Red River, putting Greer County in Oklahoma, which was a territory and did not have elected officials. After that my father, being out of a job, moved to Ennis, Texas, where we lived until we moved to Port Arthur in 1910.

A: Did you have many brothers and sisters, General?

E: I have two sisters, one 3 years younger than me and one 5 years younger.

A: Where was your father originally from, or was he born in this part of the country, too?

E: No. My father was from Kentucky. His family was a Virginia family that had come to Kentucky. His grandfather had -fought in the War of 1812 with General Jackson [Andrew] at the Battle of New Orleans. My father's father moved from Virginia to Kentucky.

A: Did his father fight in the Civil War then?

E: No. My grandfather died during the Civil War and did not fight in the Civil War. My grandmother was left in Kentucky; she was left with five children under 10 years old. They were quite a well-to-do family. My grandfather owned a store and had part interest in two other stores, and they had a fine farm, but they had fought back and forth across that land, and it was devastated, you might say. Of course rail fences were what they had. They had been burned up for firewood. The stores had been looted, and my grandmother was left with five children under 10 years old at the end of the Civil War--a widow. She had left one Negro girl who had been a slave, who had been given to her as a wedding present.

A: Then she moved out to this part of the country?

E: No. They lived in Kentucky. My grandmother's brother was a rare character by the name of Lowry, which is my middle name. He went to California for the Gold Rush. In the family record it said he came back with nuggets in his pocket. (laughter) Later on he went to Canada, worked for the Hudson Bay Company; then he came back down and fought with Gen Sterling Price in the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, he, like many others, refused to swear allegiance to the United States and moved to Mexico and stayed down there some time but finally came back to the United States and settled near El Paso, Texas, and was one of the first people down in that part of the country to irrigate and raise alfalfa hay.

            Uncle Will, as my dad called him, had lived in Mexico and knew quite a few of the Indians over there and got along well with them. At the time he moved down there, the trans continental railroads were being built across the United States and several of them went through El Paso. Uncle Will sold alfalfa hay to the contractors that graded the railroad to feed their mules. He made more money than the people who built the railroad. (laughter) Five crops a year of alfalfa hay. When time came to gather the crops, he invited his Indian friends from over in Mexico to come and stay with him. They came over and gathered the crop, and he put a big party on for them, and everybody was happy.

            My father had three brothers, and as they grew up, Uncle Will insisted that they come to Texas. My father 's two older brothers were civil engineers, and his younger brother was a lawyer. Uncle Will established them out there. My oldest uncle, Uncle John, was the county engineer of El Paso County

for many, many years and laid out, in the early days, the road system for the county. El Paso was a tremendously big county, a couple of hundred miles across.

A: You say you moved to Port Arthur, Texas. Was that simply that your father found a job down there?

E: My father was a lawyer and a real estate man. He lived in north Texas which was very fine farming country with cotton as the main crop. But in that kind of country, the only kind of business that was done was done in the fall, that 3 or 4 months when the yield came in. The farmers who had done well wanted to buy a new farm, or those who hadn't done well wanted to sell theirs and move on, but business was done just a few months each year in the latter part of the year.

            Dad was looking for a place where they did business 12 months a year. He didn't have a great deal of money at that time, very little for a fact, and he was looking for a place where he could go to a town that would grow and buy property, acreage near the town and develop it into residential lots. The only way he knew how to make money was on the enhancement of real estate values. He was a shrewd judge of property, and he was looking for a place. He decided on Port Arthur, Texas, which at that time was a town of about 7,000 or 8,000 people, but it had something.

            When the Texas Company and the Gulf Refinery Company each had one refinery only, it was at Port Arthur, Texas. So they had a good payroll there with money coming in and everything.

            Dad wanted to go to Houston, but he didn't have enough money to buy acreage near Houston, so his thought was that he would buy the acreage near Port Arthur, and when it developed and he made some money on that, he would do the same thing again in Houston. He got a wealthy cottonseed oil man in north Texas to go in with him as partners to provide the capital and credit for his venture in Port Arthur. They did very well.

            When they got enough money that Dad considered they should move to Houston, his partner, Mr. Alison, decided he was not a real estate man; he was a cottonseed oil man, and he would just like to have the profit from the venture, which again didn't leave Dad enough money to go to Houston. But as

things have developed, he had a very wise idea. He picked out the area that was going to be the fastest growing in the United States.

A: As you grew up in Port Arthur, did you have a pretty normal childhood as far as schools and play and games?

E: Well, yes. There was a small college there where I went to school. I was about 17 when I went down there. We grew up there. After school I went to work for a bank and then later joined my father's firm. I was a member of his firm when I went into the military service.

Decided to Join Military in WW I

A: What decided you to go into the military? World War I?

E: Yes. I had applied to go to a Plattsburg type of camp in 1916, which was to be held here at Fort Sam Houston; however, I had an attack of appendicitis and couldn't attend that, so in April 1917, shortly after war was declared, I applied to attend an OCS, Officers Candidate School, which was then known as an Officers Training Camp here at Leon Springs. I came here in the middle of May 1917.

A: You said a Plattsburg type of camp. What do you mean by that?

E: Both in .1915 and 1916, a number of young men up in the northeast had gone to Plattsburg Barracks in New York State to voluntarily attend the training camp to qualify themselves for military service in the event the United States was drawn into World War I. They had done that in 1915 first, and they had gotten the idea. Then they had several more in 1916, and that was the basis for the officers training system to train young officers for the military service that was required when the United States entered the war.

A: Were these Plattsburg type camps run by the Army, or were they privately financed?

E: As I remember it, you paid your own expenses to the camp, and you paid for your food, and they provided you tents and officers, the instructors for the camp.

A: Did this military life agree with you at the time?

E: Oh, yes. I was very enthusiastic about it From the start.

A: What did your parents think of this?

E: Well, they thought it was the thing to do. It never occurred to them that I wouldn't do it.

A: Had you graduated from college at all by this time?

E: No. I had about 2 1/2 years of college.

A: Then when the war did break out, did you join the aviation section of the Signal Corps?

E: No. A Regular Army captain--I remember him well. His name was Keith Gregory [Maj Keith S.]-came to Port Arthur to sign up young men to attend the first training camp at Leon Springs. Being as I had applied for the camp the year before, my name was on his list, and I was accepted to come here. Shortly after I got here--and I remember the day well. It was our first holiday; it was Decoration Day, 30 May

1917--a notice was put on the bulletin board that candidates under 25 years of age could apply for flight training. We were directed to write up a military letter, which was part of our instructions, applying for the training. I and a number of other younger men there at camp applied for military training. We were interviewed shortly thereafter by two very snappy-looking young captains, flying officers, one of whom I knew all of my service. He was Capt Hubert R. Harmon [Lt Gen] who was the first Commandant or

Superintendent of our Air Force Academy.

            We saw them, and we were just amazed. There we were recruits out at the camp, and they were beautifully dressed. Everything exactly right, shiny boots and trim uniforms and a pair of wings, Junior Military Aviator wings on their chest.

A: Had you ever flown in an airplane prior to this?

E: No.

Received Flight Instruction at Kelly Field

A. Had you ever even seen an airplane?

E: Oh, yes. I had seen airplanes. I just decided it was just the thing to do.

            Shortly afterwards--well, sometime right after 4 July, we were ordered to what was then called Ground School at the University of Texas at Austin, a preflight school as we know it now. We were there about 2 1/2 months, and I came back here to Kelly Field [TX] for my flight instruction.

A: Did you have any problems learning how to fly?

E. Well, I guess we all had problems. I was much concerned, as we all were, whether we were going to make it or not. We were just doing our very best from day to day, and we went through the flying school here. It was just that we were getting started on the training program that later turned out many thousands of young flyers in latter 1917 and the rest of 1918 before the war ended.

A: Was there any consideration of sending you to England or France to learn how to fly?

E: Some of my contemporaries who were at Ground School with me at Austin went directly to Europe, to England, to France, and some to Italy for their flying training. Others were sent to the various flying schools here in the United States. I came here to San Antonio.

Retained at Kelly as a Flying Instructor

A: When did you actually get commissioned, then, in this process?

E: My commission was dated 12 February 1918, but it was delayed quite a bit after I had finished flying because they had lost the record of my physical examination, and I had to take another one and send it in. However, I was retained on duty here as a flying instructor, and as a cadet was a flying instructor after I finished flying training and before I got my commission.

A: Well, I have heard that there was a problem for those who went to France. They did not get commissioned as quickly as those who stayed in the United States. What happened was, these people who took flying training in the United Status then went to France and were commissioned lieutenants

already, and these people in France were still cadets.

E: Well, it was just sort of in the lap of the gods. If you were in a place where the training was quick, then you did. Later on here, while it took me--I got here in September, and I got my commission in February. After we got the school going and in the spring of 1918, young men would come here from Ground School, arrive here over the weekend, and they would start their flying instruction the next morning, Monday

morning, and they would go right on through. In a couple of months' time, they would have completed the course and gotten their commission.

A: What type of aircraft were you actually training with?

E: We were training on the Curtiss JN-4D.

A: Were you, at the time, satisfied with the aircraft? Did you think you had a good aircraft to fly at that time?

E: It was all we had, and we never gave any further thought to it.

Assigned as Assistant Stage Commander at new Flying School

A: How long did you stay down here then?

E: I stayed here as a flight instructor and was later made an assistant stage commander, that was supervisory status, until June 1918 when I was sent to West Point, Mississippi, where they were starting a new flying school. I went up there and was assistant officer in charge of flying.

A: Who was in charge up there? Do you recall?

E: A Col Jack Heard [Maj Gen Jack W.], H-e-a-r-d.

A: Now this was just a new camp they had opened up there for flying training, too?

E: It was a flying field similar to many that were being built all over, mostly in the South where the weather was good. There were, I am sure, a half dozen similar ones around. I think the names of some were Park Field near Memphis [TN] and Souther Field in Georgia, one down in Alabama, and such as

that. They would send a complete staff from Kelly or some of the other older fields to go right in and start, in charge of flying, commanding officers, staff, flying officers, supervisors, and instructors to go right in and almost start flying. Then they would send you 100 cadets in, and you would start flying almost right away.

A: Was it difficult to find people who wanted to be pilots, or you had more than you----

E: No, we had plenty.

Aircraft Accident while at Paine Field

A: Had you tried to get overseas at all?

E: Well, I didn't have anything to do with it. The rule was: They required flying instructors. They told us that sooner or later we would be, after we had done our--when the situation changed, we could go. We all expected to go overseas sooner or later. However, I broke my leg in a flying accident shortly after I got to Paine Field and that eliminated any thought of going overseas.

A: What accident was this, General Eubank?

E:   Just a flying accident we had. I side slipped into a field and wrecked the airplane and broke my leg.

A: Did it seriously break it, I mean in the sense that you suffered anything permanently from it?

E: Oh, yes. I have about 1/2- inch shortening in my right leg now.

A: Was this any threat to having you put out of the service?

E: Oh, no.

A: When did you have this accident? What month, do you recall?

E: I would think about the latter part of June or the first of July 1918.

A: How long were you laid up then?

E: I stayed in the hospital there, and then I was sent to Walter Reed [Hospital, Washington DC] later on. They thought they might, on account of the shortening, break the leg over and reset it, but they decided against that. I was up at Walter Reed--well, after the war--I guess in January 1919. I wanted to get back on flying. I always heard that after you had an accident maybe you lost your nerve. I didn't think I had lost mine, and I wanted to try and see. So I was anxious to go back and do some flying, although I hadn't made up my mind about a military career.

A: Oh, you hadn't at this time.

Reassigned to Ellington Field TX

E: I was fortunate in knowing one of our very popular senior officers who was Col Jerry Brant [Maj Gen Gerald C.], who was stationed in Washington, and through his influence I got ordered to Ellington Field, Texas, for duty. The normal procedure was, when a patient in the hospital was ready for release, they would give him his discharge. They would relieve him from both the hospital and active duty, but I went down to see him, and he arranged for me to be transferred. I had known him at Kelly Field before I went to West Point, Mississippi.

A: When you went to Ellington, then, what was going on there? What unit was that?

E: Most of these were just known as primary flying schools. At Ellington Field they did some more advanced training, but still most of the people who were at Ellington Field had completed their flying and many of them had just barely completed their flying, got their commission, and they were just staying there waiting to see what happened.

A: Were there lots of people wishing to stay in the Air Service, or were the people ready to get out of the Army?

E: I would say some of each. I think most of those who wanted to get out could get out. They weren't holding them in. The organization there was just a typical flying school organization, and they had to provide flying time for the officers. I had some kind of a little supervisory job in that, providing aircraft and flying for the people who were keeping up their proficiency.

Flew Border Patrol in 1919

            Then along in June 1919, the famous Mexican bandit, Francisco Villa, started kicking up his heels down in the El Paso area,  and we received orders to send a squadron of 12 DH-4 planes from Ellington to El Paso, Texas. That was two flights of six planes each, and I was selected as flight commander for one of those flights. We flew from Ellington out to El Paso, Texas.

A: Were you going to patrol the border between El Paso and Yuma?

E: I'll tell you more about that later. We arrived at El Paso. My flight was the second flight to go. Ahead of us there was another flight from Kelly Field who had been sent to El Paso, and it was commanded by a Major Tobin, a San Antonio native who had made a tremendous record in World War I, was already an ace. Later on when I was General Mitchell's [Brig Gen William] aide, I mentioned to him that I was on border patrol, and General Mitchell said that when he came back from France in the spring 1919, he was much concerned that many of the young flying officers who had been trained during the war would get out of the service and establish themselves in business or go back to school and not be available to take the Regular Army examination when the reorganization, which he was sure to come, would happen. General Mitchell said, "This trouble on the border was just what I was looking for. I decided to move some units to the border and to patrol the Mexican border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego every day." He established I guess it was 8 or 10 units along the border about every 200 miles, and we flew the border.

            I don' t think that there has ever been enough emphasis on the importance of the border patrol flights. It was one of the best things that happened to us. We went down to the border, and we flew regular missions over tough, rough country every day, and it gave the boys flying experience that they would never have gotten. Some of them had never flown away from the airdrome; all of their flying experience had been in the vicinity of their training field. The young men, it kept them interested in flying, and a very high percentage of them stayed in the Regular service. Some of the better known    ones: Gen George [C.] Kenney, who was a squadron commander down in the Brownsville area; Jimmy Doolittle [Lt Gen James H. ]; "Sandy" Fairchild [Gen Muir S. ]; Clem McMullen  [Maj Gen Clements]. It was a great thing because we did a lot of flying that year on the border.

            As I remember it, I had almost 500 hours of border patrol. I had flown the Mexican border in the Maria and El Paso area; I had done aerial mapping in Mexico; I had gone in with the Cavalry when they went in to chase some bandits, and it was a great thing. I don't think I was at all unusual.

A: What was this aerial mapping you referred to?

E: Two of our young pilots on border patrol had gotten lost. They had mistaken the Rio Conchos for the Rio Grande and had flown up that river, and they had had an engine failure and had landed in Mexico. They were captured by a bandit who held them for ransom. His name was Jesus Renteria. Then the commanding officer at Maria, Texas, a Cavalry colonel named Langhorne [Col George T.], quite a famous person, sent Cavalry troops in to capture these bandits who had held our boys for ransom. I went in as liaison and patrol duty with the unit that went into Mexico.

            About that time there had been developed a new camera, a mapping camera, known as, I believe, the Bagley camera, and it just looked like a good idea while we were down in Mexico to take some pictures. An engineer captain by the name of Taylor [Col Charles J.] came down there to do the mapping, and I flew him all over northern Mexico there, mapping out trails. We flew as far south as Chihuahua City. I flew him taking the pictures. We had an escort plane to watch us so there would be two of us if we had any trouble.

A: How far south had the two people strayed that had to be rescued by the Cavalry?

E: They were not rescued by the Cavalry. They were held for ransom, and we paid the ransom. Then we went over to catch the bandits who had the money. (laughter)

A: Did you catch the bandits, do you recall?

E: No.

A: Oh, so the plan didn't work so well.

E: That was just an excuse.

A: Did they get hurt at all, these two pilots? Do you remember who they were?

E: Oh, yes. One of them was named Peterson, and one of them was named Davis.

A: What Davis was that?

E: I don't remember his name. I knew Peterson well all his service. But Davis got out of the Army shortly thereafter. I remember the incident. This Mexican, Renteria had worked on a railroad somewhere up in Kansas or so, and Peterson had worked on the same railroad. They got to talking it over, and Renteria told Peterson that since he had worked on the same railroad with them, he would let them ransom him First, and if he had to kill one of them, he would kill Davis. (laughter)

A: In flying the border patrol, did you ever see any bandits or anybody coming across the border?

E: No. We saw Mexican troops on their side of the border, and we made a report of things like that. We were out in the Big Bend country in Texas, which was a very wild, rough country. It was a fine thing.

A: Did you shoot a lot of rabbits on the ground with your machine guns? I have heard that that was the great sport. You would scare up some big old jack rabbits, and you would have machine guns on the airplanes.

E: We had machine guns on the airplanes. My observer killed an antelope, and we went back that night and found him and brought him home and brought him up to Maria and ate him. (laughter)

A: Did you do a little of that kind of playing around with shooting at the jack rabbits?

E: Well, you know, we shot at the water, and we shot at ducks in the air. We did everything. (laughter)

A: How long did this go on, just about a year you say?

Ordered to Kelly field to take Engineering Officers Course

E: It lasted, the border patrol, well over a year, but I was ordered back to San Antonio in, oh, February or March of 1920 to Kelly Field to take an engineering officers' course.

A: Was that right here at San Antonio?

E: It was at Kelly Field, yes.

A: Was there any connection between this school and the engineering school up at Wright-Patterson [AFB OH] or McCook Field [OH] at that time?

E: No. This was a maintenance engineering course, a course to train officers for field maintenance of aircraft.

A: What was the difference between this school and regular mechanics school that the enlisted men were going to?

E: Well, it was a more advanced course, more of a supervisory type rather than the actual mechanics. We were taught to do all things the enlisted mechanics could do, but we were taught it from the standpoint of a supervisory status rather than performing the actual work ourselves.

A: Had you gotten your Regular commission yet?

Took test for Regular Army Commission in 1920

E: No. The Regular Army examination was announced to be held in the early part of July 1920, and the boards were held here at San Antonio of Regular Army officers. The board before whom I appeared was headed by General Fechet [Maj Gen James E.], at that time a colonel, who later became the Chief of our Air Corps.

A: What kind of an exam was this?

E: First, of course, it was your educational record, and then your reports that you had had on your work. General Fechet was head of the board, and he was also Air officer of the Southern Department and was the Air supervisor of all the border patrol in the Southern Department, which later became the VIII Corps Area. General Fechet was very partial to the boys who were flying border patrol. He was an old cavalryman, and he thought very highly of them. I am sure he was quite anxious to keep as many of us as he could in the Regular service.

A: Was this a special board for just Air Service personnel?

E: They had two of them here, one of them headed by a Col Archie Miller.

A: What finally made you decide, though, that you were going to make a regular career of the Army?

E: Well, I guess while I was down on border patrol I got interested in the service and got to thinking it was pretty good and liked it, and I thought I was doing pretty well. I believe that was much the same feeling that most of the other boys who were on border patrol had. They had gotten a chance to Fly and became interested in it, and as General Mitchell had hoped, they applied for Regular Army commissions. A very high percentage of them, probably higher than any other one group of people, stayed in the Regular service.

A: Of all the people who applied for Regular commissions, were there lots of people who were commissioned then, or were a lot of them turned down for Regular commissions?

E: I couldn't say what the percentage was. I am certain that we kept less than 1,000 in the Regular service. You can look it up in the register and see how many came in, but I am certain that it was less than 1,000, I am sure.

A: Once you had your Regular commission, where did you go then?

To Chanute Field as Gen Stratemeyer's Adjutant

E: When I finished the engineering officers' course here at Kelly Field, I was kept on at the school in a supervisory status. I was stationed here at Kelly Field in the old Air Service Mechanics School after I got my Regular commission. That was commanded by a Maj George Stratemeyer [Lt Gen George E.] who became one of my dearest and most respected friends for the rest of his life. In the spring of 1921, this school was transferred from Kelly Field to Chanute Field in Illinois, and I went up with the school there and Major Stratemeyer. I was his adjutant at Chanute Field.

A: In this time period in the 1920s, was there any animosity between the Air Service and the Infantry and the other traditional branches of the Army?

E: No. We were not associated with them. We had our own units; we moved to Chanute Field. We were part of the Army. There was none of that. I didn't see it.

A: Were they jealous of your flight pay and this kind of thing?

E: Well, a lot of them wanted to get some of it. (laughter)

A: Was there a time during the 1920s when a lot of higher ranking Army people came into the Air Service so they could get command positions based on their higher rank?

Army Personnel transferred to the Air Service

E: I would say quite a few people transferred into the Air Corps, the Air Service then, and went to the flying schools, got their wings; however, the courses at the flying schools were rather elementary at that time. Most of these people came out with not a great deal of flying ability. Those who were really interested in flying, who kept up their flying and pushed themselves to fly, became pretty good aviators. Many of them just stayed along and flew the minimum amount of time and never were what you would call real capable pilots.

A: Was this recognized at the time that you had this group of people who were not--they had really not the interest in flying; it was more of a career thing? Because there weren't very many people in the Air Service. What, 1,200 officers or something like that?

E: I would say less than that. That is sort of a hard question to say how they felt about it. Some of them, I think, thought it was a good idea, that there would probably be a. chance for advancement and things like that; however, we had a single promotion list. Everybody was on the list; right down the line, you got promoted when your time came. I guess it was not a chance for promotion that they were thinking of, maybe a chance for a more interesting assignment.

            Going back to the flying aspect, most of us learned to fly, learned to be good aviators by being instructors. We came out of the flying school with a minimum of flying time, and those who didn't have a flying job didn't have any basic flying training to fall back on. Those of us who were selected as instructors and who flew regularly every day--for instance, when I was an instructor, I had six students, and I gave each one of them an hour a day. I started and I flew half a day, from daylight until noon, with my students. Then another instructor took the plane and flew his six students from noon until dark. Then he started the next morning at daylight, and we alternated forenoon and afternoon in our instruction, so you see, although I had a minimum of time when I started being an instructor, flying 6 hours a day, pretty soon I had a lot of flying time.

A: Yes, I see what you mean.

E: Then on top of that, going on border patrol and getting 500 hours of rough flying down there, not only me but all the other boys, we were real aviators by anybody's standards. Those who had come in, who were in with me, who had gone to the flying school with me and had the same training as I did, who had not been flying instructors, or who had not done something like border patrol, they had a minimum of flying experience. So it was those who did a lot of flying after they got their commission; those were the ones who became the good aviators. We all knew who the good ones were and knew those who were minimal.

A: What was the accident rate in pilot training in these days?

E: I wouldn't know. It was not high.

A: Did you lose any students, getting killed?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Were you wearing parachutes by this time?

First Parachute Jump at Kelly Field

E: No. My first parachute experience--at this engineering officers ' course they gave a course in parachute maintenance, and that was the first we had them. All of us who took the course made a parachute jump.

A: Oh, you did?

E: Yes. I made a parachute jump in 1920.

A: Did you think it was a sign of weakness to wear a parachute in those days as you flew?

E: We didn't start wearing chutes; we were not required to wear parachutes until about 1922 or 1923. There weren't enough chutes to supply the pilots until 1922. It was when I was stationed in Hawaii that we were required to wear a parachute.

Lighter-Than-Air activity in the Air Service

A: When you went up to Chanute in this engineering school, with the engineering school, was there some lighter-than-air activity up there?

E: No. The lighter-than-air activity was at Scott Field [IL].

A: Oh, okay. Were you ever tempted to get in the lighter-than-air side of the Air Service?

E: No. We had a slight contempt for the lighter-than-air people.

A: Referred to them as "balloonitics"? Was that the phrase?

E: Yes.

A: You say there was even a certain "look-down-your-nose " at these people?

E: Well, yes. They got their flying time by being suspended in a balloon, you know and such as that. (laughter)

A That is kind of silly, isn't it? (laughter) Did you ever take any rides in a dirigible or blimp or anything?

E: Yes.

A: Was it a pretty tricky business as far as weather and things like that?

E. Well, I didn't see that part of it, of course, because I just made a flight under ideal conditions, but they were vulnerable to the weather, you know, and there is no doubt about that.

A Did people like yourself who flew airplanes have enough presence of mind in those days to see that the future of balloons was rather limited, or was it thought to be as important in flying as--in the future that was always going to be there?

E, Let me say that none of the people in my category had any desires to do any lighter-than-air work. Those who had been trained in lighter-than-air, naturally they hoped it would be all right.

A: When lighter-than-air started to be minimized, did a lot of these old balloon types then come back and try to get rated in aircraft?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Did that prove to be a problem?

E:   They went to the flying school, and a very few of them were able to make the course. So they went back to lighter-than air duty and applied and tried again with indifferent success. Some of them never did make it, and some of them--General Westover [Maj Gen Oscar], as you know, was one of those who went down to the school several times. Many people thought that General Westover was overextending himself in his flying, beyond his capacity as an aviator, which resulted in his death.

A: Was he in the pilot's seat when his airplane clashed?

E: Oh, yes.

A: I see. I didn't know that.

E: He was flying a two-seater airplane with a mechanic. I saw General Westover an hour before he was killed. He had come to March Field [CA] to award the Daedalian Trophy to our group, the 19th Group. I was at Riverside, California.

            After the ceremony, we went to lunch, and then after lunch, we came down to the line to see him depart to go over to visit one of the aircraft factories in Los Angeles. He was killed on that flight.

A: Was there a tendency to be less demanding of these balloon types in pilot training than the regular person?

E: I think after they had been down there two or three times, they finally eased up on them, because I know people who went to the flight school three times.

A: Yes. It was dangerous to themselves and everybody else.

E:  One of the few who finally became a very capable flying officer was General Kepner [Lt Gen William E.].

A: Oh, Bill Kepner.

E: Yes. Several of these lighter-than-air officers over extended themselves trying to do the things that other people did and lost their lives. I can think of a half dozen who were determined to prove to themselves and other people they were just as good as anybody else, and I could think of about a half dozen who killed themselves trying to do things they shouldn't have done. But as I said, Kepner was one of the few who became a capable pilot; another was Orvil Anderson [Maj Gen Orvil A. ].

A: Yes. Once those guys got their pilot wings, the balloon aspect of it, they just forgot about it.

E: Oh, yes. They wanted to get out and do everything everybody else had done.

            I stayed at Chanute Field, and that summer Major Stratemeyer was ordered to Hawaii, and a Maj Fred Martin [Maj Gen Frederick L.] came there to take command, who later was also a lifelong good friend of mine.

            In the spring of 1922, I was ordered to Hawaii, and I went out there and stayed 3 years.

To Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, Luke Field

A: Now, were you on Ford Island at that time?

E: I was up at Schofield Barracks first and then went down to Lake Field.

A: Did you actually live on Luke Field? Was there housing and barracks there?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Had you been married by this time, General? Did you get married someplace along the way?

E: I met Mrs. Eubank in Hawaii. Her father was Col William Kelly, Jr., and he was on General Sumerall's [Maj Gen Charles P.] staff. I met Helen out there, and we were married in 1924.

A: What kind of flying were you doing out there in those days?

E: Well, they had a couple of fighter squadrons, a couple of bombardment squadrons and observation squadrons. We dropped bombs on the bombing range out at sea and things like that. We did some actual flying; we flew to the other islands and did photographic work and things like that.

A: Did you shoot at the big turtles in the ocean, too?

E: No. I don't remember that.

A: Were there any thoughts of war during this? Now we are talking early 1920s. Was there any conceivable thought of----

Assigned as Gen Mitchell's Aide in Hawaii

E: General Mitchell came out, shortly after his second marriage, on a visit to Hawaii; he was going to go to the Philippines and the Orient, and that was where I got to know General Mitchell. I was assigned as his aide while he was out there.

            He always said that there was great danger of war in the Pacific. He wrote a very critical report of the activities and conditions in Hawaii, and much to the resentment of General Sumerall.

A: Was there ever any thought of the Japanese being an enemy in the war ?

Gen Mitchell Predicted War With Japan

E: Oh, yes. General Mitchell, at his trial, stated there was great danger of war in the Pacific. He predicted the war.

A: But I mean to say, you people in Hawaii, did you think along those terms at all, or was this just kind of a very idyllic life out there?

E: I don't think the young officers out there thought about it. We knew we had a lot of Japs, and we knew that the Japs were kicking up their heels, and everybody knew there were just a hell of a lot of Japanese in Hawaii, and that it might well be a problem. I don't think in 1922-25 we gave too much thought to the war.

A: Was there any kind of training with the Navy at all at this time period?

E: Well, they were there on Ford Island with us. They had a flying unit on Ford Island; so did we. Oh, I guess we did a few things together. I remember they brought some units over from the States, and I went around with them and showed them the flying fields on the Island of Oahu. Several of us like that--kind of orientation flights.

A: But did you ever maneuver with the Navy?

E: No.

A: I mean, you would be the aggressor, let's say, in flying?

E: No.

A: Was there any kind of defense plan that you knew existed for the defense of the Hawaiian Islands, a formal plan that could be pulled off the shelf and exercised?

E: I am sure there was a plan. I didn't know about it. In fact, I know there was a plan because it was discussed at General Mitchell's trial. I heard it there. We did maneuver with the antiaircraft people. We flew for them, and they tried to spot us with the lights. We did that not infrequently.

A: General Mitchell, when he came through there, was he that well known?

E: Oh, yes. He came out to Hawaii on this around-the-world trip that he was making with his new wife, and he had all these pictures of the bombing on Chesapeake Bay. He showed those out there, and he was the one that sunk the battleships. We all thought he was something; we liked him, and he liked us.

A: Did he show those movies to any people from the Navy out there?

E: Yes, the Navy and Army, everyone. We showed them. I went around; I sort of carried the bag they were in and moved the slides as he clicked the clicker and things like that. Oh, yes, we showed them on numerous occasions. He had a case as big as yours full of slides on the bombing, and he made these talks on it, talked generally on the use of aviation in war and told the people--I remember one thing he said, "It is the most accurate weapon there is out of the range of rifle fire." He was talking about dropping bombs. That was the expression he used.

A: He was traveling as a private individual?

E: No, sir. He was Assistant Chief of the Air Corps inspecting the air units in Hawaii and the Philippines and other places.

A: He thought he should have been Chief of the Air Service. Was that ever discussed around you, that Mitchell was being slighted by the powers that be or denigrated even in this time period yet?

E: At the time General Menoher [Maj Gen Charles T.] was relieved as, I guess, Chief of the Air Service and at that time General Patrick [Maj Gen Mason M.] was appointed Chief, there was some political effort made by General Mitchell's friends to get him the job, but he was kept on as General Patrick's assistant. At the time he came over there, he was the Assistant Chief of Air Service.

A: Was he a colonel then?

E: He was a brigadier general, a permanent colonel, a temporary brigadier general.

A: Did you enjoy your tour in Hawaii?

E: Yes. I enjoyed General Mitchell, too, very much.

A: I don't have any of that on your sheet here. I didn't know this.

E: Yes. It was a 3-year tour. My good friend, Major Stratemeyer at that time, was the assistant air officer down in Fort Shafter on General Sumerall's staff, and I am sure he is the one that designated me to be General Mitchell's aide. He was always doing nice things for me.

A: From Hawaii, where did you go, then, General?

To McCook Field as Post Adjutant

E: I came back to Dayton, to McCook Field at Dayton, Ohio.

A: You were post adjutant.

E: I was post adjutant at McCook Field for 2 years, and then I went to the Flight Test Section.

A: Post adjutant--of course the adjutant no longer exists in the military. What kind of a job was that?

E: You might say you were secretary general of the base. You saw that the routine things were done, the morning report, and the reports that had to be made regularly. All of that was handled in the adjutant's office. The orders were issued in the adjutant's office. He was sort of the top secretary for the base.

A: Who was your commander?

E: My commander there was a Maj John F. Curry [Maj Gen].

A: He later was down at the Air Corps Tactical School.

E: Yes. He was one of my good friends also. He had been in Hawaii when I was out there as air officer and, I am sure, requested me to be assigned to McCook when I returned.

A: What decided you to get into the flight testing, pilot testing business at Wright Field? That's a dangerous job.

Transferred to Flying Branch at McCook Field

E: I never thought of it as that. It was a very interesting job. I was quite anxious to get in it because I was an enthusiastic aviator, and the adjutant sort of had to scramble for his flying time and get it in on weekends and such as that, and I was very anxious to get an active flying job. I went to see Major Curry about it. He said, "All right, you find me a good adjutant, and I'll let you go to the Flying Branch." Well, as it happened, a very able officer, a lighter-than-air officer, had just been washed out of the flying school. His name was Lorry Lawson [Col Lawrence A.]. Major Curry knew him and knew his capabilities, so I went right in. Lawson had wired me when he was washed out and said, "See if you can find me a good

job. " I went in to Major Curry, and I said, "Major, I have just the man for you. " He said, "Lorry will do fine. " Lorry was ordered to Dayton to be adjutant, and I went to the Flying Branch.

A: Your job as adjutant, you had no association with the Materiel Division. You didn't work for the school or for the Materiel Division at all, did you?

E: The Materiel Division--Dayton, at the time I went there, was the Engineering Division, and later on, the Materiel Division was moved out there. General Gillmore [Brig Gen William E.] came out with it. All of those activities were under the  commanding officer of McCook Field, and I was the adjutant

for everything that was going on.

A: I have a chart here in 1928 that shows the Flying Branch; Capt Clair Streett [Maj Gen St. Clair] was the Chief. The other pilots in the Flying Branch were Amis [Col William N.], Batten [Eugene C.], Hutchison [James T.], Moffett, Tourtellot [Brig Gen George P.]. It shows you in the Administrative Section of the Materiel Division, your section reported to a Lt Col Harry Graham. Take a look at this. This is 1928. Take a look at that chart. It is kind of a quick history of Air Corps Materiel Division. There are some famous names on that chart. You are on the lower right-hand side there, at the bottom, in the Flying Test Section there. Here is your name right here. I don't understand. Rather than report to Engineering----

E: Yes, this is correct. When the Materiel Division moved to Dayton and Major Curry, who was the commanding officer of McCook Field and head of the Engineering Division, became a subordinate, he took over the administrative end of it. They reorganized the thing: then Colonel Graham was Major Curry's

replacement there. You see right down there below "Personnel Adjutant," lst Lt L. A. Lawson, the one I spoke of. The Administrative Section there did all the base work for the Materiel Division.

A: In that test flying thing, how did that work? Did they bring in a new airplane and say to you guys, "Okay. Now you go up and you do this and this and this " ?

Made Routine Tests on New Aircraft

E: We had certain routine tests that were made on all new aircraft, certain requirements to determine various things, for instance, rate of climb, speed, altitude, load-carrying capacity, all of those tests. Anytime we got a new airplane, there was a routine procedure for the testing of it. The various pilots there would be assigned to do those tests. Usually, a pilot got a certain plane, and he did all the tests on that, but another pilot did all the tests on another one. I was project pilot for bombers and transports, cargo planes, and I did most of the tests on those types of aircraft.

A: Were these airplanes that the manufacturers would bring to the Air Force and say, "We would like to sell you some of these," and then you tested them? Or were these airplanes that the Air Corps had already procured?

E: Well, I would say the manufacturer didn't just bring in a plane for us to test. Usually there had been some negotiations, some competition, some board, some purchase, or the change of a type of aircraft to put a new engine in it or something like that. There were a number of ways that called for the test of an aircraft. Maybe they decided that a type of plane didn't have sufficient power; they went back and

decided to put a new engine in it; the manufacturer had installed a new engine. The bids were asked for, and the manufacturers would comply with that. In some places where there was competition for a new type of aircraft, they had to submit an article to be evaluated, and when that plane came, there was a series of tests on it so the information was there available for the board on the performance of the aircraft. It was a regular, formal, set procedure for the testing of aircraft.

A: Did you know Bennett Meyers [Maj Gen Bennett E.] out there?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Do you know what happened to Bennett Meyers after he got out of jail?

E: No.

A: I'm very curious because he had a very interesting career. He was a very intelligent fellow.

E: Oh, yes. Bennie was always a slicker. Bennie was just a slick boy; that's all there was to it. I knew him all his service. He was in Hawaii, attended our wedding, and he was there at Dayton. Ben was a very smart man, but he was slick.

A: Did you have much association with other, like the Procurement Section or the Engineering Section or the people over at the school?

E: Yes, very close association because they were interested in the new airplane, the part that they had something to do with, you know, the instrument people, the equipment people. They were there all the time seeing how these tests were coming, how the new equipment--the armament people, the guns, the bomb racks, the bombs--it was a daily close contact.

A: Was the aviation business so new that, in a lot of cases, testing itself was kind of an experimental thing? In other words, they would ask you to do tests that really weren't either productive or safe?

Had Set Proceedure for Testing Aircraft

E: No. We had a good sound system; we knew what we were going to do. They did test planes for maneuvers and did stunts with them and such as that, but there was no haphazard business. It was well thought out, well planned, and you did certain things. They kept records, and if the tests didn't turn out right, you repeated it to be sure the information gained was proper.

A: Did you ever do any flying for the NACA [National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics] down at Langley [AFB VA]?

E: Not directly for them. We may have done some tests for them that they submitted through channels for us to do. No:

A: Where were the new airplanes coming from? I mean, what was the procedure? Was the Air Force requesting certain types of aircraft, and the manufacturers would then provide this, or was it a case of the manufacturer would come in with an airplane saying, "Hey, we have an airplane that is just super

great. Look at this"?

E. They would advertise for bids for fighter aircraft and invite the manufacturers to submit their bids for a plane. They would set the minimums. A plane must do this, that, and the other, at a rate of climb--oh, the various----

A. You say the individual aircraft manufacturers would just submit a bid.

Improvements in Aircraft Design

E: Yes. But these manufacturers were thinking all the time about improvements in design.

A: Did you ever get any clunker aircraft that were really, really bad aircraft to test, or were things pretty well proven on the ground before these things were put into the air? I mean, had the manufacturers pretty well tested them out before they handed them over to the Air Force?

E: The plane was in good engineering shape when we got it. They didn't bring any radical things in. They knew the rules the same as we did.

A: What was the big look-for breakthrough in aircraft in these days? Was there any one thing that people in your business thought would really make the big difference, that was really going to be a big breakthrough in aircraft design? Was it engines, or maybe single wing, or metal, or enclosed cockpits? What future did you see coming down the road for aircraft design in those days?

E: That's a hard question. It is hard to differentiate between what we know now and to go back and say, "Were we thinking about that and at what time along were we thinking it." I was at Dayton at a nice time, 1925-30. I saw the aircraft come along and do the things we had to do for us to develop the supercharger, to get more power, and the improvement from wooden props to metal props, and from fixed props to adjustable props, and from fixed gears to retractable gears, and those kinds of things. Those all came along and were put on planes during those years that I was at Dayton.

A: So you really saw a hell of a change in those times.

E: Yes. We saw it go from and improve the engines, get away from the old Liberty engines and get some of the good radial engines and the good water-cooled engines.

A: In talking about Air Corps doctrine in these days, who was deciding what kind of airplanes the Air Force wanted? Was this coming out of Washington, DC, or there at Wright Field, or was it in the pursuit squadron up at Selfridge [AFB MI], or at Fort Crockett [TX], the attack squadron, or Langley, the bomb squadrons? Did these people have a lot of influence in what was being done at Wright Field there, the operational commands ?

E: I guess the Chief 's office was the center for saying what we needed in the future and putting out the requirements to the manufacturers and then the manufacturers would go to thinking and working do produce what we needed. We had the regular people--the Curtiss, the Boeing were two suppliers, and then the Consolidated people built the training planes and the Keystone bombers, old slow bombers, and then the first three-engine cargo planes, the Folker and the Ford trimotor. It was a very similar plane except the Ford was a metal plane and the Folker had fabric wings.

A: We are talking about the late 1920s now. One can get the impression that the interest in the military was becoming minimal during these years. World War I was over 10 years ago, and people just didn't see the need for spending a lot of money on this. Were you kept busy there at Wright-Pat?

Impact of Lindbergh Flight on Aviation

E: Oh, yes. You ought to remember we had the Lindbergh [Brig Gen Charles A.] flight in 1927 which created a tremendous interest in aviation. At that time just everybody was--Lindbergh had flown the Atlantic to become the most famous man in the world, and he just took the country by storm. He went around--that was in the latter part of 1927--and visited all over the United States. And people who hadn't thought a thing about commercial aviation gave it their enthusiastic support. They voted bonds to build

airports. They bought stock in the aircraft companies. He gave aviation a tremendous boost in those years, 1927-28.

A: Did you ever meet Lindbergh in this time period?

E: Yes. I went around to some of the celebrations. He had a group of people in Saint Louis who had put up the money to buy the plane for his flight, and I flew them around in an Army transport type plane to attend some of these meetings. So I was in on some of it.

A: Was this quite common to get involved in the civilian sector of that type of thing?

E: Yes. I mean, if it met the public interest and they authorized it in Washington. Naturally everybody wanted to get in on the Lindbergh boom, so we were in it too, yes.

A: In those days was one manufacturer making a better airplane than another, did you believe?

E: I would say Curtiss probably rated a little higher than the others, but several firms built good airplanes--Boeing. The P-12 was their first plane, but Boeing really came in when they got into the bomber business first with the B-9 and then with the B-17. Martin was developing their plane there,

the B-10 which at that time hadn't come to Dayton for tests while I was there.

            My last year at Dayton I attended the Engineering School. Usually when you attended the Engineering School, you were supposed to stay 4 years at the Materiel Division, but I had been there 4 years before; I guess I had earned it before I got it instead of earning it after I got it.

A: Did you ever visit any manufacturers?

E: I knew all of them, almost, on a first name basis.

A: There was not an adversary relationship?

Relationship with Aircraft Manufacturers

E: No. We had a fine relationship with them. They didn't have test pilots at the factories. We went and tested their airplanes. When we went there, they rolled out the carpet for us. We were the top boys. For instance, when I went to the Ford factory on the Ford trimotor, Mr. Henry Ford had me to lunch with him. Mr. Henry Ford's chief engineer, Mr. Mayo, came down to the train and met me and took me to his club and put me up and took me back and put me on the train when I went back to Dayton. Now that was the accord that a young aviator got from the top people in the country.

A: You would have been the first one to have flown a plane in a lot of cases?

E: Well, no. The plane was there, and I was the project pilot, as I said, on bombers and transports. So if there was anything to go to the factory to make a suggestion about, something about the plane or this, that, or the other, I was the one; if it included some flying, I was the one to do it, not from an engineering point of view but from a practical point of view, or to tell them the engineers had figured we needed this, that, or the other, a few changes on the airplane.

A: Were there a lot of accidents on test flights in those days?

E: No. Some people were killed in test flights, yes. Some of our very best pilots were killed in test flights. Several people who were Chief of the Flying Branch were killed. Barksdale [2d Lt Eugene H.] was killed on a test flight; Plover Peter Hill [Maj] was killed in the first B-17 crash, and Hez McClellan [Maj Hezekiah] and one of our very top people, who was Chief of the Flight Test Section, was killed in a test flight at Dayton.

A: Did you ever find yourself getting any close shaves a that sense as a test pilot?

E: Yes.

A: What was the occasion?

Bomber Engine Catches on Fire while he was Testing it

E: We were testing a bomber, and shortly after takeoff, it caught on fire.

A: What airplane was this?

E: This was a Keystone plane; I believe the designation was an HB-l. I had taken off and was making the climb when we had fire in the engine, and we were up, I guess, 2,000 or 2,500 feet high, so it looked like the time had come to abandon the plane. I had an observer--on those kinds of planes when you made a test, you had an observer who sat there and recorded the instruments for you. He was sitting on the right side, and the right-hand engine was on fire. I motioned to him to get over and get out. I would hold the plane while he got out, and he got out on the left wing and got out.

            I got up to get out, and I looked back and his parachute had fouled on the tail skid of the airplane, and there he was swinging back and forth. I thought, oh, well, I couldn't just leave him up there by himself, so I got back in the plane and, fortunately, I headed it toward the field. It was a cold day; the ground was frozen, and the wind was blowing. I headed it back toward the field. Down on the field I could

see the people, the various mechanics and such. I looked back and finally he broke loose.

            We were, at that time, too low--I thought we were too low to make the jump, so I just headed right on into the field. We had some good civilian mechanics, professionals. I could see one of them, an Englishman named Joe Harriman, one of our best, running out on the field on foot towards where he thought the plane was going to come in. Another one ran and got the service truck and got in it and started out there. I landed the plane normally, and just about the time I landed, they were both there. Joe on foot and this other guy in the service truck. We got the fires taken care of; they put the fire out. (laughter) They would have been there close enough to get me out if I had wrecked the plane in banding.

A: What happened to the guy that hung up on the tail skid?

E: He fell loose and, with a panel torn out of his chute, his descent was a little are rapid than normal, and it being a poor day for parachute jumping, with frozen ground and high wind, he hit the ground so hard he put lateral cracks in his heel, but he was all right.

A: Well, it was better than the alternative, I guess.

E: Oh, yes.

Proceedure for Getting an Airplane into Inventory

A: Was there a long lead time to get an airplane from the time it was designed to the time it was built in those days?

E: I'm not impressed with the fact that the lead time--now whether you are talking about the lead time from the time we started testing the plane until we got them, or the lead-time from the time the manufacturer had thought of the idea and started building, that I don't know.

A: Your part of it, how long would you normally test an aircraft before it was put in the inventory, for example?

E- Well, it might never be put in the inventory. It might be going to be submitted for further testing. We had certain routine tests. I don't remember how long they took, but they were normally the run out. Every plane that came there for tests was not put in the inventory. But if it was a complication, we ran the tests on the airplane so when the board of officers came there to evaluate the plane, they had the information in front of them.

A:  Did the Air Corps have much information exchange with the Navy? Were you ever talking to any Navy pilots or anything in those days ?

E: Casual conversation.

A: You wouldn't fly like down to Pensacola to see what was going on down there and that type of thing?

E: Not me, no.

A: Was there a special training you went through to be a test pilot?

E: They picked people with well-known flying ability for detail to the test section, and then they took their training there. They did the minor tests first, and the more experienced pilots did the more difficult things, but you just came along. They were pilots of well-known ability, of general reputation in the Air Corps.

A: Did any of your flying, was it ever done, that you know of, for the CAA [Civil Aeronautics Administration] or the Bureau of Standards, testing, let's say, an instrument that would eventually, really was being tested for commercial airplanes. Let's say an altimeter or something like that that the CAA

wanted to put in commercial airliners or something like that. Would you have tested that or gotten involved in that?

E: I wouldn't have known what it was there for. We might have been doing work in connection with the CAA or anybody else that needed it.

A: Were you aware or did you keep track or was there any way to know what kind of airplanes were being built in foreign countries?

E: We saw the periodicals; we saw Jane 's All the World Aircraft types of things. We were informed, yes.

A: The reason I asked, and this really kind of jumps ahead of time, but you know you always read the story that the Japanese Zero that appeared came as such a surprise to the Americans in World War II. I find that hard to believe if indeed we were paying attention to what was going on in the rest of the world that something like that could come as such a big surprise.

E: Well, now I don't know whether somebody has told you this or not, it was a very lightly constructed airplane, and being lighter had better performance, but it wouldn't take any punishment. I am sure we could have built a similar airplane----

A: But I mean to say, were we aware that that airplane existed in the Japanese Air Force?

E: I don't know.

A: See, this is why I asked how much information about foreign aircraft was really available in our Air Force before World War II if indeed this story is true that the Zero came as such a big surprise to us.

E: Well, the performance of the Zero was surprising, but it wouldn't take any punishment. I don't believe we would have built a plane, we would have accepted a plane with that--it would have had to be sturdier than that.

A: In building aircraft during this time period, would an aircraft be built and then a weapon put on it? In other words, you would get the airplane and then take the standard Browning machine-gun and hang it someplace, or was the design of the airplane built to accommodate the optimum use of such a weapon?

E: They made a mockup in the hangar of the plane, just a wooden frame mockup to scale, to the exact size, and you would put everything in it. It wasn't taking it and putting a machine-gun on a transport type of airplane or toying to rig it up to take bombs: they made a mockup, absolutely inch to inch, and you went there and you put the various--and they had the actual machine-gun. They would put it in the planes.

A: Fine. Because I have read where there was some times a problem. They would build a fighter clone, for example, and they would be more interested in building the fighter plane and building it to use its machine-gun optimally or that type of thing. You say that was all taken into account?

E: With the fighter people, I don't know. I was never in the fighter business. I think probably what you are thinking about is after the plane was accepted, we decided we needed a bigger gun or something like that, and then the problem had exist of putting a. 50-caliber gun in a plane that had been designed for a .30.

A: Right. that type of thing, did that go on quite a bit then?

E: Well, I don't know what you mean by saying, "Did it go on?" I am certain it happened when we wanted to put a more modern piece of equipment in the plane that had been designed for something else; there had to be some modification made there.

A: To go on to a new subjects did you ask to go to the Engineering School?

E: Yes.

A: Were you looking to making a career in the Air Force in this materiel procurement side. Because if you went to the Engineering School, that usually kept you in materiel the rest of your career, didn't it?

Attending Engineering School

E: Yes. It was a fine school; it was a post graduate course in aeronautical engineering, and we had, both Lieutenant Amis and myself, prepared for that school for a couple of years. We had one of the younger engineers there coach us in various things, so we had prepared very carefully to qualify to go to that course. But after that was out, I also wanted to go to the Tactical School. Amis had been there 4 years with me before he went to the school--you notice his name is A-m-i-s--and his widow is here in the Air Force Village. A-m-i-s, down there in the list of the people of the Test Section.

            Anyway, he stayed on 4 more years, but I was interested in going to the Tactical School, and I had applied to go. I remember one of my friends, Willis Hale [Maj Gen Willis H.] who was in the chief 's office, and they were making up the list for the Tactical School. He said he had a note from General Fechet, who was Chief of the Air Corps, that if Lieutenant Eubank's name is not on the Tactical School list, put it on.

A: Where did you meet----

E: Oh, I had known General Fechet--he was the head of the board that took me in, and I had known him here and there. I am sure that General Foulois [Maj Gen Benjamin D.] went down, when he was down to see him, and they were discussing while he was there, and they decided that maybe I had moderate talent as an engineer and considerable experience in heavy aircraft and very probably would be worth more in the tactical bombing business. Willis told me that when his people there with him were making up the list for the Tactical School for 1930, he had this note down from the top office that if Eubank's name was not on the list, put it on. (laughter)

A: You like to hear that. The Engineering School, I have heard it is a very difficult school.

E: It was and is a fine school.

A: There is a lot of math, lot of physics, metallurgy. You had to build some of your own parts.

E: Yes, and we had to design an airplane.

A: That's right. Who was in your class, General?

E: They were small classes. "Pinky" Amis was in it and Orval Cook [Gen Orval R.], and Howard Couch [Col Howard H.], and me. We were all teamed in twos. That's the reason I named them that way. When we were working up calculations, one of them read the slip-stick, and the other one wrote it down. Howard Couch and me and then a boy named Foulk [Col Albert C.] and a boy named Kemmer [Col Paul H.] and a boy named Klein [Capt Frank D.] and McAllister [Col Charles D.]. McAllister's claim to fame was that he and Lindbergh had collided at flying school and both had had to jump out. (laughter) And then McCormick (Cot Harlan T.], Harlan McCormick, and Vanaman [Maj Gen Arthur W.].

A: Oh, Arthur Vanaman was in that class?

E: Yes.

A: He still lives out there in California. We interviewed him.

E: He was a good boy.

A: Did you have any trouble in school then with the math and all the engineering?

Designed an Airplane in Engineering School

E: I did all right. My deskmate, Howard Couch, was a very accomplished lighter-than-air boy and had done a lot of work on high-altitude flying. We had lost a captain, a balloon flight got up so high that he died, and Howard had worked out, taken out the instruments that they got out of the balloon and worked out the conditions in a bell jar, and they determined what happened.

            Our aircraft design was a high-altitude photographic plane that would go to 50,000 feet. That was the first plane that we decided had to be pressurized because we figured that at 50,000 feet nobody could live, even in an atmosphere of pure oxygen, on account of the pressure. That was the basis of--that was the kind of thing that having that kind of a man as my deskmate, I did all right. I would imagine that I

finished pretty well down on the list of graduates, but I got a lot out of it.

A: It was kind of unusual, though, that you would go from the Engineering School eight into the Air Corps Tactical School, I mean schools back to back like that.

E: Well, yes. I think it was a special consideration. I think maybe General Foulois decided that I probably, as I said, had moderate abilities as an engineer and maybe he thought considerable as a tactical man.

A: Did you intend, even after you went to the Air Corps Tactical School, had you hoped to come back to the engineering site of the Air Corps?

E: No.

A: Even though you had gone to the Engineering School, you really didn't want to stay in that. When you went down to the Air Corps Tactical School, it was still at Langley?

To Air Corp Tactical School from Engineering School

E: Yes. That was the last year at Langley. Then when I graduated, I was assigned to the 2d Bombardment Group at Langley.

A: Going back to the Tactical School, you know as the years passed in the 1930s, the Air Corps Tactical School got very oriented to the idea that the strategic bomber was to be the most important aspect of air power, and they went so far as to insinuate that air power alone could win wars and so forth. Had this thinking started at the Air Corps Tactical School when you were there?

Concepts Taught at Air Corps Tactical School

E: I think that Ken Walker [Brig Gen Kenneth N.] was the one who started that thought. That was his first year as an instructor the year I went through as a student, so I don't believe that thought had been developed. It did come on later when he and Hal George [Lt Gen Harold L.]----

A: Yes, and Kuter [Gen Laurence S.] and Hansell [Maj Gen Haywood S., Jr.].

E: Well, later on.

A: Okay. The reason I ask is I have a note here that says during the 1920s pursuit aircraft theory and its use and the effectiveness was predominant at the Air Corps Tactical School, and I was just wondering when this shift had begun to take place.

E: I think the shift began at Maxwell Field [AL] after they went down there and probably in the third year when Ken Walker and Hal George were in the Bombardment Section. Then later when Ken went overseas, a boy named Odas Moon [Maj] came. He had been here at the flying school in charge of bombardment training and such as that, and he and Hal worked that up. Then when Hal George became the head of the Air Force section of the school, that was when I was ordered to Maxwell to be a bombardment instructor.

A: Was the school, when you were there as a student, a pretty easy going thing, or did they work you pretty hard at Langley there?

E: It was a good, interesting course, and we did flying problems as well as the theoretical work. It was a good course. They had able instructors. George Kenney was there as an instructor in attack, and George was always a fine, interesting instructor. George was one of the people who did everything without much flair, always very, very well.

A: To your knowledge, was the Air Corps Tactical School, when it was over at Langley, quite independent? I mean, it was that the Air Corps and the War Department didn't come down and say, "Well, teach this and teach that." Was it a pretty independent school then?

E: I would say so.

A: Did you believe that what they were teaching in the Tactical School at the time you were there, was this commonly accepted theory of the deployment of air power and how it was to work, or was it radical yet in those days?

E: No. I think it was what we thought was about the right way to do it.

Effectiveness of Air Corp Tactical School

A: Did the Air Corps Tactical School have much influence throughout the Air Force? I have talked to different people, and some people said, "Well, I knew the Air Corps Tactical School was there, but they didn't do anything." Then I have talked to other people who said, "Yes. People who went to the Air Corps Tactical School would come back to their units and spread the gospel so to speak."

E: Well, I think the thing that those along there at the time I was at the Tactical School and in the next few years, my contemporaries were being ordered to the school as students, and they came out of the school and went back to the bases and became the squadron commanders of all the squadrons in the whole Air Corps. That was where--and it was a different breed of people who were commanding the squadrons. They had graduated from the Tactical School. They were all people like me who had come up the hard way, learning to fly by doing everything themselves, and they were very capable pilots. People of the quality of--well, I think of Charlie Chauncey [Maj Gen Charles C.] and Ennis Whitehead [Lt Gen Ennis C.] and those kind of people who commanded the squadrons, and there were not any questions in any body's mind about who was the best pilot of that squadron. The captain knew more than anybody else. That was when we started changing the feeling within the tactical units.

A: Did everybody want to go to the Tactical Schooling this period?

E: Oh, yes. It was quite a prize.

Curriculum at Air Corp Tactical School

A: Within the curriculum when you were a student down there, did they address the problem of airpower against shipping or ships? Did they teach that at all as part of it?

E: Oh, yes.

A: What did they teach in those days? What was the Air Corps teaching?

E: The knowledge of bombardment; the action against the battleships, you know, sinking of them. We were convinced that aircraft could sink the finest battleships afloat.

A: Of course, now at the same time the Navy was teaching that airpower was not that kind of a weapon. You had your guys down here in Langley, and then later at Maxwell, teaching this thing, but I get the impression a lot of times that what was being taught at Langley and Maxwell wasn't necessarily what a lot of people believed up in, the general officers in the Army believed, for example.

E: Well, you are probably right. We were advocating what we thought was the future of war, and maybe we, in their notion, were a little radical about what we were saying, but that is what schools are for. Schools are supposed to advance new ideas. That's what your great teachers--you go back and tell them of advancing ideas ahead of their time.

E: The people in the Chief 's office, they all had been to the Tactical School. They thought about like we did. They were not going to bring any pressure on us to change what we were teaching. Maybe the higher people on the general staff would have liked to have done something about it, but they just didn't get around to doing it. The actual working boys who were doing the daily things in the Chief's office and running the office, they had come there from the Tactical School, most of them, and they were in thorough sympathy with what we were doing, and they believed it themselves. So there wasn't anybody to kick over the traces.

Impression of Gen Kuter

A: General Kuter, when he was an instructor at the War College, was called on the carpet by the Secretary of the Army. Apparently they had a Navy guy in the class. Kuter was talking about how the Air Corps could destroy battleships and all this, and they had a problem one time dealing with Pearl Harbor that the Navy got sunk at its moorings type thing, and this Navy guy went to the Secretary of the Navy who, in turn, went to the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of War went to the Chief of the Army, and the Army came down and told Lieutenant Kuter, or Captain Kuter, "Hey, don't do that." Of course, Kuter said, "Yes, sir, " and kept on doing that.

E: Yes. They talked about some disciplinary action against Kuter, and Colonel Curry said, "I'm running the school. I'll take the necessary actions." When I took command of the 49th Squadron at Langley Field in 1931, Larry Kuter was a second lieutenant in my squadron. I will say right now, looking back on hundreds of lieutenants who started their career in my command, I rate Larry number one, even at that time.

A: He was that kind of standout----

E: He was that, and he was the squadron operations officer when he was a second lieutenant and doing a fine job. He went from Langley down to Maxwell Field. I went to be an instructor, and when I was relieved to come back up to General Andrews' [Lt Gen Frank M.] headquarters, Larry was retained as the instructor who took my place at the Tactical School.

A: Yes, in the Bombardment Section, sure.

E: Yes

A: Was the Tactical school ever used as kind of a prep school for the Command and General Staff School out at Levenworth? They would first send them through Tactical School to bring them back into the classroom before they sent them out to ----

E: Well, maybe that's not quite right. The Tactical School was one step in your professional military education in the Air Corps; Leavenworth was another step, probably came 3 or 4 years later, then the Army War College or some of the other higher schools came at a different time in your career. No, that was the normal routine. That was the way the Army educational system  was. Now most of the people go to the lower schools. For the next level up, that's thinned out, a lesser number; for the next level of schools, a lesser number, always a lesser number going through the higher schools. Those are the ones who are on their way up and should reach the higher ranks.

A: Were you satisfied with what they were teahing at the Tactical School when you were there?

E: Yes

A: It was professional, well done?

E: Yes

Commanding Officer of 49th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field

A: From the school, of course you went to Langley, 49th Bomb Squadron, and you were the CO [commanding officer], and you were flying B-10s. No ----

E: No. B-6s, Keystone B-6. I commanded that squadron there, and then while I was there, they bought an experimental order of the Boeing B-9.

Flew the B-9

A: Okay, that was a twin-engine, open cockpit, all metal, single-wing.

E: Yes, single-wing, but still the first fast bomber in the world. We put out the specifications--in those days, I was usually selected to be on the board that evaluated the bomber aircraft. I went to Dayton, and the Boeing people had submitted this. When they put out the specifications for a new bomber, they specified it must make 160 miles per hour. 'The Boeing people came in with a plane that made 192 miles

per hour. Well, we were very enthusiastic about it. They bought an experimental order; they bought some of the other type too. Willis Hale, who was from the Chief's office, and I were on that board, and we liked that plane that would go 192 miles an hour. When they did buy a trial order of that plane, they were assigned to the 49th Squadron. We were the only squadron that ever had B-9 airplanes.

            The B-9 airplane was a great advancement, but almost simultaneous with that the Martin people developed the B-10 which was a better airplane. So Boeing, instead of getting the value of their advanced thinking and engineering design, Martin got it. Martin was the one that, not in that competition because in that first competition the Martin plane wasn't there, but when the Martin came along a little later, it was a considerably better airplane.

Comparison of B-10 and B-12

            There, when we got the B-10 and, of course; the B-12 and the B-10 were identical except one had the Pratt & Whitney engine and one had the Wright engine. That was the only difference in the two airplanes. They had engines that were approximately the same power, but one made by one manufacturer and one made by the other. As I remember, the B-10 had a Wright engine in it and the B-12 had a Pratt & Whitney. It could be the reverse. But that came about, about the time--we got the Boeing B-9 in the squadron in either the latter part of 1932 or the early part of 1933. We took them out to Dayton, and we had some antiaircraft maneuvers out there. That fast airplane was very difficult for the antiaircraft people to locate.

A: You could outfly all the fighters available at that time, too, couldn't you?

E: That's what I was going to say. Then the B-10 came on, and it was the best plane in the world. A fighter could not make but one pass at a B-10. He would make one dive at it, and he had a long, stern chase. When I went to the Tactical School as an instructor, the B-10 had just come in, and that was the plane we used in our lectures to show the people and recommend the formations and employment of the airplane. It just had the fighter people in a tizzy. (laughter) Here was a bomber that they couldn't catch.

Gen Claire Chennault was student at Air Corp Tactical School

A: How did Chennault [Lt Gen Claire L.] react to this now? In fact here were these maneuvers you were talking about there in Ohio. Is that the time it spread over Kentucky and all, and they were trying to spot you people, and even if they spotted you, the fighters couldn't catch up with you?

E: Yes. I was out at those maneuvers. I was in command of the bomber squadron out there, and we flew every night down there. They even cheated a little on the maneuvers, kept observation planes where they could see our field and report when we took off and such as that. (.laughter)

            Chennault had gone through the Tactical School the same year I did, and he had gone to Maxwell as an instructor. I had known him already. We had served in the same squadron in Hawaii. I had known him all of his service.

A: Was he always kind of a iconoclastic guy?

E: Yes.

A: As an aside, do you know what ever happened to his first wife? I imagine she has passed away by this time.

E: Yes. They had a big family. I don't know. He was retired quite early, I think probably still as a captain.

A: That's right. He retired in 1937 as a captain.

E: He went to China over there. His wife stayed in Louisiana.

A: Yes, Waterproof, Louisiana.

E: I don't know whether they got a divorce or whether she died, but he had a big, big family.

A: I've heard that. In fact, I heard at one time at some base he was at, they actually gave him two sets of quarters.

E: Oh, yes.

A: Was that true that that would have happened?

E. Oh, yes.

A: That's a lot of kids.

E: Yes. He used to say they had a baseball team in the family. (laughter) I don't know whether any of the girls were playing or not. (laughter)

A: The B-9, in sitting in that open cockpit flying an airplane, did it ever occur to you, "Why in the hell can't we have a closed cockpit"?

E: We had closed cockpits in our transport type aircraft. I don't know when the thought came on enclosing the cockpit, some time along about there I guess. I guess the problem of getting in and getting out of the airplane and this, that, and the other. I don't know.

A: I had read or heard of somebody told me one time that Chennault thought closed cockpits for fighters were wrong because this made the guy too comfortable. (laughter)

E: Well., he would have thought about doing something like that, putting a little mustard in their pants to burn their butts. (laughter)

Worked with CCC in 1933

A: He was a different guy. You were also involved in the Conservation Corps there, the Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC] ?

E:   Yes. Along in the summer of 1933, you remember the veterans marched on Washington to demand a job from the President. He did them a dirty trick; he gave them a job. That was the last thing they wanted. (laughter) He said they had started the Civilian Conservation Corps, and he just put them in the Civilian Conservation Corps. I did take a company of them. They loaded all of those people, veterans. They were up at Washington, and they just loaded them on the boat and sent them down to Virginia, and we made companies there and sent them out in the woods. I took a company of them up to a little town, West Point, Virginia, just not far, 50 miles of so from Langley. I had them up there, well, 5 or 6 months and came back down to Langley.

Commander of 2nd Bombardment Group at Lanley

            When I came back to Langley, Major Dargue [Maj Gen Herbert A.], who had been the commanding officer of the 2d Bombardment Groups took command of the wing then at Langley, and he made me commanding officer of the 2d Bombardment Group. At that time, I was the only captain in the Air Corps who was a group commander.

A: I was going to ask you: This was quite an achievement for yourself, wasn't it?

E: Yes.

A: Had you known Herbert Dargue previously?

E: I had served with him; he was my group commander.

A: When you were in the 49th?

E: When I was in the 49th, he was my boss. He went out to the maneuvers at Dayton with us and flew with me. We were not close at all the first year or so in the group there, but out at Dayton--he gave me some good assignments--he flew with me in the B-9. One night coming back we had a fire, and we had to go in down at Cincinnati. In those days the fields weren't lighted; you flew across the field and dropped a flare, then you ducked back around and landed. It was a pretty good piece of work. (laughter) He complimented me on it. I said, "Well, 'Bert,' it has certainly taken you and me a long time to appreciate each other's sterling worth, hasn't it?" He said, "Damned if not. " From then on he was a fast friend of mine. I can remember well when I said that.

A: He got killed.

E: He got killed going to take command in Hawaii right after Pearl Harbor.

A: I had heard that he should not have really been flying that----

E: I don't know whether he was flying or not.

A: Well, the weather got so bad or something, but he was in a hurry.

E: Well, of course, they were; he was very anxious to get to Hawaii and take command. That, of course, was when I was in the Philippines. I don't know the details of that except what I have heard.

A: I have beard that he was kind of a happy-go-lucky pilot in the sense that he was a little care free in a sense. Had you ever-----

E: No. That is completely wrong. I never saw anything of that in him at all. He was a serious person. I never flew with him. I don't remember ever flying with him in the plane with me where he was flying the plane, so I don't know anything about his capability as a pilot, but there was nothing casual or carefree about him.

A: I had heard that whereas he was a good pilot, he was prone to be less attentive in the cockpit.

E: No. I would say that is completely wrong. I would have never used those kinds of words in describing him. No. He was a serious, capable person and a man of rare judgment as you can see from his appreciation of me. (laughter)

A: Yes. If someone thinks I am good, well, they really have good judgment.

Selected as Instructor at ACTS

E: After that incident we had a very fine relationship, and he was always one of my boosters. When he went to the Tactical School to be the number two man, which was the man that ran the school down there, he requested me down there as an instructor.

A: Did, you want to be an instructor? You had not ever taught before, had you ?

E: No. But it was a fine assignment to be picked to go down there and advocate the use of bombers for the Air Coops. I thought it was a fine assignment, and I enjoyed it very much for the short time I was there.

Served with Odas Moon

A: Odas Moon, was he in charge of your section?

E At the time. He had been Hal George's assistant, and he was one of my dear, dear friends. He drank himself to death and retired at an early age and died shortly after he retired. But he had been on border patrol with me, and we had known each other all of our service and were devoted friends.

            Let me tell you a little incident that he and I did. In 1928 on the maneuvers, I was flying the Ford trimotor. We only had one Ford trimotor in the Air Corps, and I was ordered to take it and haul people on the maneuvers. At that time he was at Kelly Field. At Shreveport [LA] I lost an engine on my Ford trimotor and had to come back into Shreveport. I needed a new Wright J-5 engine. It had to come from the depot at San Antonio. It looked like to me a long wait.

            I wired Odie Moon who was an instructor at Kelly. Now the school at Kelly was completely separated from the depot at Duncan. I also knew there was one plane in the Air Corps in which you could carry a J-5 engine in the bomb bay. And I knew that plane was at Kelly because I had flown it to Kelly when they transferred it out there. So I wired Odie, "Get the Martin bomber and get me a J-5 engine from the depot and fly it up to me." Do you know--and this was just two lieutenants talking to each other--he got the plane, but he couldn't fly if up himself because he was taking a course in school so he got somebody else to do it. He went over to a friend of ours who was the supply officer at the depot ad San Antonio, and he gave them an engine. They flew it up there the next day, and we put it in. (laughter)

            Now isn't that something? Two lieutenants, a personal matter, and I knew the one plane in the whole Air Corps that could haul that engine; I knew where it was, and I knew a man--and he was one of those people who could always get things done. One of those people who knew how to do it. The next day the Martin bomber came in.

            That was one of the old early Martin bombers that they had used in sinking the battleships. There was just one left in the whole Air Corps, and it had been transferred to the school at Kelly, and I had flown it down. I knew it was there, and I knew it was the only plane that we had that could carry the engine. I knew a guy who could get the engine and put it in it. (laughter )

A: That's absolutely fascinating. Those times are long gone.

E: Yes.

A: Did you live right on Maxwell?

E: Yes. We had a delightful set of quarters; one of the best sets of quarters we ever had in the service.

A: Was that one of those big two-story things?

E: Yes.

A: Yes, they are all still sitting down there.

E: As an instructor I had a choice.

A: Did you know Gen Don Wilson [Maj Gen Donald] ?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Now he had been down there as an instructor for a number of years, but he was not down there any more when you went down there.

E: He was at Leavenworth going to school the year I was at Maxwell. The reason I am so sure of that, in the later part of 1934 or the early part of 1935, they were always forming committees or commissions to study airpower ---

A: And boards.

E: Yes. And I don't remember the board that was being contemplated at that time.

A: This was the Baker Board, I think.

He & Gen Don Wilson were members of committee to study Air Power

E: No, not the Baker Board. The Baker Board had met the year before. This was the Howell [Clark] Board. That was the one that was about to meet. So we decided that the people who were going to appear before that board ought to get together. Don Wilson and Ken Walker and Bob Olds [Maj Gen Robert] were students at Leavenworth, and Hal George and I were instructors at Maxwell.

            We wired them -- they could get flights on the weekend; we couldn't fly from Maxwell to Leavenworth because that was over 500-mile limit -- to meet us at Evansville, Indiana, that weekend. Hal George and I flew from Maxwell to Evansville, and they flew from Leavenworth, and we went up there and decided what we would do when we were called as witnesses to the board. Before the board met, I was transferred, but those others did appear before the board, Hal and Wilson and, I guess, Ken Walker.

A: The Federal Aviation Commission had hearings in 1934. Some Air Corps Tactical School people went up and talked to them.

E: I don't know. I seem to recall that the head of that board or commission was a man named Howell who was an editor of a paper in Atlanta. am I right?

A: That's right! I thought I had some notes on that here.

E: I believe that was the group that was going to meet.

A: Don Wilson has given some credit in histories as preparing the text on bombardment that saw the destruction of a few key links in----

E: Yes. After Leavenworth he went back to Maxwell as an instructor the year after I left. I remember that was something he advocated in his talks. I believe he went back to Maxwell Field and relieved Hal George as head of the Air Force department, and I believe he was the first one to advocate, in the selection of bombardment targets, picking out certain key things that affected the whole show rather than trying to bomb it all.

Opposition to Chennault's thoughts on Fighter Aircraft Instruction

A: When you were an instructor, and granted you were only down there for a short time, I realize this, and Chennault was down there, but I get the impression that Don Wilson and Harold George and Ken Walker opposed very much the idea of Chennault who thought fighter aircraft were obviously the thing that you--did they kind of overpower him in the sense that he was just outclassed or his ideas weren't formulated? Could you see this dichotomy there, this confrontation between Chennault and these people, or wasn't it that strong?

E: I think Chennault, as I said, was a student the year I was. That year Bissell [Maj Gen Clayton L.] was the fighter instructor. Bissell had been in World War I and quite a capable person, had served with General Mitchell, did lots of things well, and by the way, was the first American to receive the British Flying Cross. He advocated the superiority of fighter aircraft, and Chennault carried the idea along. I think the thought was that each one should point out the strong points, and there were some questions in the meetings about the things they advocated, but I don't think it ever reached----

A: It didn't get heated.

E: No.

A: It shows Claire Chennault here as a major. He must have made major.

E: He made major at the same time; all of us were promoted in 1935.

A: Do you know if there was ever an attempt down there at the Air Corps Tactical School to do away with the pursuit section? It got to be so irrelevant in some people's minds that they just wanted to do away with pursuit altogether.

E: I never heard of it, and I would be surprised if it happened.

Procedures for Instruction at ACTS

A: Were you able to prepare your own lessons and curriculum when you went down there as an instructor, or did they have a set of guidelines you had to go by, or how did it actually work?

E: As I remember it, we had a certain number of bombardment lectures that were given over the assigned periods of time, various things like that. They covered certain subjects. When I went down there, I sat down with Dale Moon and Hal George, who had had the job before I did, and we discussed the lectures, which ones Moon would give and which ones I would give. Then we went back and looked over previous lectures, took some things out of that, add to it or wrote new material to give, but we more or less did our own work there and discussed among each other, among the three or four of us there who taught it.

A: Did you then submit it to Harold George or Elgin [Maj] Frederick I.] or Lotha Smith [Brig Gen Lotha A.] or anybody to approve it then?

E: No. Well, Hal and I always being close friends, we had discussed it, and I don't remember that there was ever any question of formal approval of what I had developed there. I had said it to them, and I don't remember, maybe I had said  it over to the secretary, J. B. Haddon [Brig Gen Julian B.], or somebody like that, but as I remember it, I wrote it up. We discussed it among ourselves and decided that was it, and that was what we gave.

A: Being of the generation where nothing is that simple, it just is fun to hear that there was such a thing. Where would you get what you wanted--for example, there is the famous Italian Douhet [Giulio] and his theories of bombardment. Was that well known with you people down there at that time?

E: That book was there. It was one of the first things I read after I got to Maxwell Field. I got there in the summer; school was not open, and I had extra time, and that was one of the things I read, one of the first things I read after I got to Maxwell Field.

A: Were you teaching that the bomber was so capable that it could bomb in daylight without any fighter protection and this whole precision----

E: We were using the Martin B-10 as our theoretical bomber, and there wasn't a fighter that could give it anything more than casual protection. They didn't have the range, see. So it was not a question of not wanting protection; we just couldn't get it.

Did not Percieve Antiaircraft as a threat to Bombers at ACTS

A: What did you perceive as the threat of antiaircraft? Was this able to stop your bomber?

E: We didn't think so. We had quite a good course in antiaircraft where you studied the emplacement of the enemy antiaircraft around it from photographs and decided which was the best way to go in to get the least antiaircraft fire.

A: Let's see, you had a Lt Col Robert [R.] Welshmer. He taught the Antiaircraft Section. He was Coast Artillery.

E: Coast Artillery had charge of the antiaircraft.

A: But you did not, in the Bombardment Section, see this antiaircraft that was something that was going to interfere with the completion of the bombardment mission then? Not interfere but stop it.

E: No. One of the things we said was that once a well-trained and well-led bomber formation takes the air, nothing can stop it from completing its mission. We were going to have some fighter loss, and we might have some antiaircraft loss, but the theory was that a well-led bomber formation would complete its mission.

A: You were talking about you were using the B-10 as your bomber. Were you capable of this type of precision bombing of military targets at this time? Did you have the bombsight that was capable of this kind of thing?

E: I am trying to remember when we got the Norden bombsight.

A: It would have been about this time period.

E: Yes.

Precision Bombing in the B-10

A: Now whether the B-10 ever had it, I don't know. I know the B-18 had it. You could put it in the B-18.

E: I remember when we were at Langley Field, Major Dargue and a Lieutenant O'Connor, who was the group armament officer, were going up to the Norden factory to discuss the bombsight.

            That was in, I would guess, 1932. When we actually got the bombsight--I do not remember the first time I dropped a bomb with the Norden bombsight.

On Air Corp Maneuvers at Fort Benning

A: Did you ever go over to Fort Benning [GA] when you were down there at Maxwell for any kind of maneuvers or talk to the Army over there in the Infantry school?

E: Not from Maxwell, but I went to Benning several times on Air Corps maneuvers, and pretty near always the maneuvers went by and had something to do with Benning. The people who went on these maneuvers, even when I was at Dayton, being the transport man, they always sent the newest transport they had on the maneuvers to haul people around and things like that, so I got to go on all of the maneuvers when most of the other people who weren't in the tactical units didn't get to go. It was the same group of people, the fighter boys from Selfridge, and the bomber boys From Langley, and the attack boys from Galveston, who went on the maneuvers every year. I was on intimate terms with all of them.

A: If you had a twin-engine bomber that could go as fast as the B-10, why wasn't a fighter developed to go--why was this bomber so advanced and yet the fighter aircraft didn't seem to be coming up?

E: Well, as I told you, the specifications they put out for the bomber asked for 160 mile-an-hour bomber, and Boeing came up with 192. The bomber people just out designed them.

A: You mean the fighter people, it was a case of they just weren't----

E: They didn't set the requirement high enough, I guess. I don't know what the specifications were that they put out for the fighter airplanes, but. we put out the specifications asking for 160 mile-an-hour bomber when the one we were flying made about 100. We thought we had really stretched them out, and here Boeing damn near doubled it.

A: Right. I am just wondering where the fighter people were all this time. They weren't able to build a fighter----

E: Maybe they didn't have as good an engineer working on it as Monteith [Charles N. J ] (laughter)

A: The Air Corps Board was at Maxwell at this time, and it had a very checkered career at Maxwell before the war. Did you ever deal with them at all?

E: I knew it was there. Of course, later on I was the head of it down at Orlando.

Army Ran CCC During Depression

A: One thing I didn't pursue, this Civilian Conservation Corps thing, did you think that was something the Army should have been involved in back during the depression?

E: There wasn't anybody else to run it. The Army ran it, and then they called in Reserve officers and gave it to them, but when they started the thing, they were the only ones that the President had that could run the thing, so he used what he had. Then they called in Reserve officers and turned the units over to them, but they still ran it from the various Army headquarters, the top guys.

A: Were these kids in this Conservation Corps pretty good kids, or did you have trouble with them?

E: Now, wait, I told you I had a bunch of bonus Army veterans. I didn't have any of the junior people. I understand from other friends who were out with the junior people, the country boys just did fine. They were used to working; they liked to work. Where they brought them in from the Bronx and places like that, the people right off the city streets, it took some time to develop them. But the boys with a rural background, who came into the CCC just did fine. They did a lot of good work, too.

A: These guys who were from the bonus Army. Now you are talking about some pretty older adults.

E: Contemporaries of mine who had been in World War I the same as I had been.

A: Did they object to being out in the woods there doing what they were doing?

E: Well, they were sort of professional veterans who had lived in the various veteran's homes. They had lived in one up in New York State in the summertime, in the mountains when it was cool; they would move on down to Florida or Texas and go in one down there. Most of them were a bunch of malcontents that had never done well. The rule was, we took them in the woods, and they worked. We gave them enough exercise do make them digest their food. (laughter) We had very little sleep. But where I was up in the woods, I went and talked to the local civil authorities, and they said, "If you have anybody out there who gives you trouble, you just come in here and swear out a warrant against him, and we will take him. We'll tell him we will either put him in jail, or he can go back to his home." I had no trouble with them. A few of them would get in fights or get drunk and disorderly. We had authority to give them a ticket to their home. The people up there at West Point didn't want them hanging around up there. All I had to do was get them out of there, and they would give this person the option of going to jail or going home. They would take the ticket and go home and they would be off our hands.

A: Jumping ahead, did you get involved in flying the airmail in the 1930s, or were you down at Maxwell while that was going on?

E: No. I was at Langley Field. I didn't actually fly any mail. I furnished some people who went on the airmail; Larry Kuter went, not to fly, but in the headquarters up there. I furnished some planes for them. I ferried some planes out to them to be used, but I never was actually under Colonel Jones [Byron Q.] who was the airmail guy on the east coast.

Col B.Q.Jones

A: Did you know B.Q.Jones very well?

E: Well, I have known him all of my service.

A: He was very much an aviation pioneer like yourself.

E: No, no. He was way ahead of me.

A: I mean, he was in the Air Service in 1914 or something.

E: Oh, yes. I came in in 1917. B. Q. was in the group of people who had taken flying before World War I, people like "Tooey" Spaatz [Gen Carl], and of course, General Arnold took his flying training with the Wright Brothers at Dayton, and Dargue.

A: Howard Davidson [Maj Gen Howard C.] was in that out at North Island.

E: Yes. Stratemeyer and Joe McNarney [Gen Joseph T.] and Naiden [Brig Gen Earl L.] and all those people took their--and "Doodle" Harmon that I spoke about this morning--flying training and were rated aviators, and we had 50 or 60 of them when the war started.

A: Was B. Q. an easy man to get along with or deal with?

E: I would say he was not. He was at Langley Field when I was there. He commanded the 8th Pursuit Group, and Dargue commanded the 2d Bombardment Group, and later on I was the group commander opposite B. Q. He never had anything to do with me, and I know Dargue didn't get along with him. I never had any occasion either to get along with him or not get along with him. B. Q. was quite a boy. He was generally credited with being the first man who figured out how to put an airplane in a tailspin and get it out. But it is covered there in several books. I am sure you have read it.

A: You went from Maxwell then up to----

To GHQ Langley Field

E: Went back to Langley Field on General Andrews' staff.

A: He called you up there, and this was the GHQ [General Headquarters] Air Force.

E: The GHQ Air Force was organized in 1935. General Andrews, then a lieutenant colonel, was told that he could have anybody on his staff that he wanted. In those days an instructor at the Tactical School, it was just hands off. When you went there, it was a 4-year detail, and there couldn't be anything done about it. Well, General Andrews selected three or four people who were at Maxwell Field for his staff. They put up an awful howl. They just came back and told them to comply with orders. That was all there was to it. But Ladd [Capt Arthur K.], Eglin [Lt Col Frederick J.], Clem McMullen, and myself, and I don't remember, maybe one other officer, all of us down there at Maxwell living in nice big houses, were ordered to be at Langley Field on 1 March.

Conflict between GHQ AF and Office of Chief of Air Corps

A: The history books show that there was a conflict between the GHQ Air Force and the Office of Chief of Air Corps as to who really ran the Air Force. There was this difficulty of how you can have a GHQ Air Force if you don't have what the Office of Chief of Air Corps is controlling, the training, the logistics, and so forth. Were you aware of this problem at the time?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Were there attempts made to resolve this, of was it a case of personalities? Where did the problem lie that you saw?

E: As a result of the various boards and commissions that had met, it was decided that there should be a combat striking air unit under the command of the Chief of Staff of the Army. That was organized and called the GHQ Air Force, an Air Force under General Headquarters, and it consisted of all the tactical units in the continental United States. Now the division was so sharp that on a base the tactical troops were under the Commanding General of the GHQ Air Force and the maintenance troops, the service units, and the base were under the command of the Chief of Air Corps.

A: Through the Corps Commander?

E: Or through the Corps Commander if it was in a corps, and under the Chief of Air Corps if it was an exempted station.

A: Was this apparent from the beginning that there was going to be a problem here ?

E: Oh, yes.

A: How was this going to be solved, or wasn't it going to be solved? What was the sequence of events here now?

E: Well, it just took some getting along. General Andrews was a very able, capable man. I rate him number one of all the commanders under whom I served. He took it and built a great combat unit in 4 years' time. Before GHQ Air Force was organized, we were just a little casual Air Corps. We flew mostly in daylight hours; we navigated by looking out the window and following the railroads, mostly in daytime, mostly in good weather. In 4 years' time we completely changed that.

            We emphasized instrument flying; we emphasized high-altitude bombing; we emphasized night flying and navigation. From being just a casual outfit, as I mentioned, we could intercept an ocean liner in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. We could fly instrument just as bong as the airplane would fly. We could bomb accurately from high altitude, and we completely changed the attitude of our Air Corps in 4 years time.

A: And this was the responsibility of Andrews?

E: Andrews.

A: Can you claim a little credit here, General, for this?

E: No. Let's see the great people he had with him: Joe McNarney; Hugh Knerr [Maj Gen Hugh J.] was there, Chief of Staff, a great man, a great guy; and Joe McNarney was his G-4. George Kenney was his G-3. As I told you, of all my World War I contemporaries, I rate George Kenney number one.

A: Were you adequately supported by the Office of the Chief of Air Corps in equipment and personnel and funding, or was it a case of they were trying to tell you what kind of training to have, and you would have to go up to General Arnold [Henry H.] and say, "Well, that isn't right," and this kind of thing?

E. Well, with strong men like General Andrews, and General Westover, who was the Chief of Air Corps shortly after GHQ Air Force, and General Westover conscientiously believed that the whole thing should be under him, there was always something. But there was nothing mean about it. That was his belief. He and General Andrews were classmates; they had known each other since boyhood, and it was an honest disbelief. I would say we got excellent support from the people who amounted to anything. For instance, General Robins [Brig Gen Augustine W.], who was head of the Materiel Command, was a fine, solid citizen, and we were included on the boards that picked out the airplanes and went out there. The Training Command was under the Chief. They turned out a high quality of pilots and then we gave them their tactical training after they got to the tactical units.

A: But this whole idea that there was this big conflict, it has been better written about than actually existed. Is that what you are saying?

E: Well, I believe it is in A Few Great Captains about what it was. That's about right. That's about what happened. But General Andrews was a great leader, and he insisted on improving the quality of our flying, which we did. As I said, the 4 years that you would say he was the head of it we completely changed the way we thought and acted.

A: Did this division within the Air Force make sense to you at the time, that there should be this operational Air Force, the GHQ, under the Army, and then the Army Air Corps over here?

E: The thing that made sense to me was that we had a combat unit that had some life to it, that could act together, could do things, that we actually developed something that was a unit fit for combat.

A: Did things change when General Arnold took over in 1938? Did he run the Office of Chief of Air Corps differently? Did this reflect on GHQ at all?

E: Now of course, General Arnold was a much stronger man than General Westover. I say I rate General Andrews number one of all my commanders; however, let me say nobody else could have done the job that General Arnold did during the war. He did something that nobody else could have done. He was an indomitable person. He wouldn't take no for an answer. He was a great man, too.

A: Was Arnold a little more visionary than any other, let's say, Westover or Andrews, in this late 1930s time period?

General Andrews and Arnold were Great Leaders

E: General Arnold and General Andrews were both people of great vision. I would hate to say who could see the farthest ahead. Both of them could see a long way ahead.

A: Your talking about strong men, let me go back in time: What did you think of General Mitchell when he got court-martialed back there in the 1920s? Did you see that as a good thing or a bad thing, or was he doing right or doing wrong? How did you feel about that at the time?

Views on General Mitchells Court-Martial

E: Well, I was sitting there looking at it when it happened. I was in Washington on his staff at the time of the court martial. I was ordered into Washington at the time of the court-martial.

A: To help him, were you?

E: Yes. I was just to be one of his errand boys around the table. I sat there during the entire court-martial. I heard almost every word that was said. We were all for General Mitchell. We thought he was just exactly right. Looking back on it now, I realize that maybe if he hadn't pressed quite so hard, he might have accomplished his end a little sooner. He precipitated the situation why they didn't reappoint him as Assistant Chief of Air Corps. He precipitated the situation that caused his court-martial. He was guilty of the things that they said he was. I was all for everything he did at that time because I knew him and admired him and all that. I realize now that probably not pressing quite so hard at that time, he might have accomplished what he believed in sooner.

A: Good point. I have heard that point made. Did people in the Air Corps suffer though? Like they kind of put some of these guys into exile as a result of that?

E: I believe that maybe it was something they did. They were in the Chief 's office and maybe they gave out some information or something that they weren't authorized to give out that caused General Patrick to relieve Major Arnold and send him out to Fort Riley [KS]. Major Dargue was also involved in it, but they didn't do anything to Dargue; they reprimanded him.

A: I just wanted to go back there in time on this. You know, the Air Force started to buildup in--was it becoming kind of clear in the late 1930s, 1937-38-39, that maybe we were going to get involved in another war in Europe?

E: Oh, yes. I heard a talk by General Emmons [Lt Gen Delos C.] who bad been over there, and he said it was just a question of time.

HQ and HQ Squadrons Supplied and Maintained Aircraft for GHQAF

A: When you were in the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron of the GHQ Air Force, that was really an administrative job more than anything, wasn't it?

E: That was the unit that supplied, maintained the aircraft for the headquarters staff, all of the enlisted men who worked in General Andrews' headquarters. I had a little eye trouble, and I was relieved as assistant G-3, and they gave me the headquarters. I was also headquarters commandant.

A: That is really almost like a base commander today?

E: Well, no, not quite.

A: You didn't worry about the base, but you supplied the men.

E: For General Andrews, furnished his aircraft. But still I was a member of his staff. He selected me to go on the Bombardment Board and things like that, but I was still in Headquarters Squadron.

A: What was this eye trouble you were talking about?

E: I had a deterioration. We were worried about it at that time, but I got over it. I now wear contact lens in both eyes.

A: From that job, then, you went out on the west coast.

Attended Command and General Staff School in 1938

E: First, I went to Leavenworth to Command and General Staff School.

A: Oh, you did. Yes, I see in 1938.

E: Yes, 1937-38.

A: Was it a 2-year course then or still a 1 year?

E: One year . It had been reduced from 2 to 1.

A: What was your appreciation of the school?

E: It was a school to train younger officers how to be infantry division commanders, and the great value I got out of the school was the association with other people who were on their way up and a year of association in the class with them. Every headquarters I went into during World War II, there were two or three people there whom I had been in Fort Leavenworth with, that I knew on a first-name basis. I would say that for the Air people who went through the Command and General Staff School, that was the most they got out of it because they weren't interested in learning how to be infantry division commanders.

 

Curriculum at Command and General Staff School

A: Did you perceive that the school curriculum at this time had kept pace with how the next war was going to be fought? I have read or been told that they were still planning every war on how Gettysburg had been fought. Is that a fair----

E: We did study the Civil War; we studied various battles to see where they did well and where they made a mistake, but I think they always say that captains are one war behind and the generals are two wars behind. (laughter)

A: I never heard of that before. (laughter) For example, the use of tanks, were armored tactics incorporated into the curriculum?

E: Oh, yes.

A: How was airpower presented?

E: Well, it was not much airpower; it was more or less support aviation.

A: As long-range artillery and observation?

E: No. The idea there was, as I said, to teach people to be infantry division commanders, and what they wanted to know was how you were going to support these directly or indirectly, the ground forces.

A: Now they had Air Corps people on the faculty out there.

E: Yes.

A: Who was on the faculty out there? Do you remember?

E: Yes. General Brereton [Lt Gen Lewis H.] and Breeneariggen Robert G.] and "Puffie" McDaniel [Maj Gen Cart B.]. I don't remember; there are three of them anyway.

A: What did you think of General Brereton?

E: I liked General Brereton very much. I liked him and he liked me.

A: Was that the first time you had met him?

E: I had known him all of my service. He commanded the 2d Group at Langley, and I went on maneuvers with him and such. General Brereton was my boss in the Philippines. He was the Fifth Air Force Commander, and I was his bomber commander.

A: Were Brereton and these people on the faculty forceful enough to present airpower, that it also included long-range strategic bombing, or was not that thing allowed to be taught there ?

E: Yes, they had some lectures on that.

A: How would you compare the two schools for quality, the Air Corps Tactical School and the Command and General Staff School, at that time? It had just been a couple of years since you had taught down there at Maxwell.

E: Well, I would say the Tactical School stimulated a great deal more thought along my lines than the Command and General Staff School did. As I said, again, I had no ambition to be an infantry division commander, and that's what they were teaching me to be out there. It was all right for me to know how they did it, but the Tactical School taught me the applied use of airpower, and that was not part of the curriculum at Leavenworth.

A: Were they more interested in school solutions at Leavenworth rather than Maxwell? In other words, if they lectured something and then they gave you a problem, you were supposed to solve it based on the information they provided, whereas, down at Maxwell, you could have a little more free hand in developing solutions to military maneuvers and problems and that sort of thing?

E: I don't know about that. You go to those schools, and they give you a lecture. Then sometime after that you have a map problem based on it. If you are smart, you give them right back what they gave you. Then you get a good grade. Don't give them more help than they need. (laughter)

A: You had been to the Tactical School and the Command and General Staff School, and you had been in the military, and of course, you spent a lot of years in the Air Force. Did you ever develop any concepts of leadership, how to get men to achieve certain ends that you desired as a definition of leadership?

His Concept of Leadership

E: Well, I thought I was pretty good. My conception was, I knew what I wanted to do; I knew how I could show them how to do it: I was better at it than they were, and I had never had any trouble with getting my subordinate officers to do things my way. As I said, to be the best flyer in the squadron, it is prestige. That's a very important part of being squadron commander. You have got to be able to do things better than they can. So that was my concept of leadership. I was able to show them how things should be done. You heard what Ethel Kuter said [widow of Gen L. Kuter, present at lunch that day with General Eubank and Ahmann], that I was Larry's "great captain," and that was a great compliment. That was the way Larry felt about me, and as I told you, how I felt about Larry.

A: For example, George Marshall is quoted as saying about the Command and General Staff School, "I learned little I could use." He was referring to the product of the school. Of course, this may go back to what you were saying that the best part of the school was the fact that you met the people you were going to fight a war with a few years later.

E: Of course I am a great admirer of General Marshall. I think probably, in his own studies and own thinking, he had done everything that they taught out there. I could see his point that he got little out of it. They knew little that he didn't already know. I'm a great admirer of General Marshall, naturally.

General Marshall was an Air Corps Supporter

            He was our strongest supporter. After General Andrews was relieved from GHQ Air Force, General Marshall brought him in to Washington, G-3, Chief of Operations of the whole Army, the first Airman to get that job. That's the kind of guy he was. I give General Marshall almost as much credit as I give General Arnold for building up our Air Force.

A: Yes. I have heard this. Let me ask you, did the Great Depression, economic depression in the 1930s, have a big effect on the Army that you remember?

E: No. We all had a regular job. Although we did get our pay reduced a little, we were better off than our contemporaries in civil life.

A: Did you realize how bad it was in civilian life? Or was it such a separate world?

E: No. We knew about it.

A: During these years in the 1930s, did you socialize much with civilians?

E. Of course at Dayton we had quite a bit of civilian associations Langley--Hampton being a small town, there was less. We had a number of friends in town in Hampton, and we always knew people in town. Of course out in March Field where you were way out in the country, you didn't get much chance.

A: What about prohibition in the military? Was there drinking on military reservations? Was it blinked at or winked at in those days?

E: Yes. We had a drink like everybody else. I would say most of us kept it under very close control.

A: Were you out in Hawaii with Home Peabody [Brig Gen]? Was he there at the same time you were?

E: 'He was there just a short time. I was out there when he was there, but it was just a short time and either he got sick or his wife got sick, and they came home.

A: He got sick. They thought he had tuberculosis or something. That's right. Did you ever read anything by this man, Homer Lee? He was an American cripple that went to China in the 1900s and became a general in their armies out there, helping them train. you ever read any of his----

E: No

A: There was a famous book in the 1930s called The Great Pacific War, and this story was a fictional account of a war between Japan and the United States, a big naval war in the Pacific. Do you remember ever reading that?

E: I don't recall it at all.

A: Did you talk politics much in the Army in these days?

E: No.

A: Because today, of course, you sit down at lunch at the officers' club, and you talk as much about the Middle East and the economy and Reagan [President Ronald] and everything. Did that kind of----

E: No, very little.

A: General, do you have any children?

E: I have one daughter.

A: When was she born?

E, She was boon in Dayton on 12 February 1926.

A: Where is she today?

E: She lives at Satellite Beach, Florida, a little town right next to Patrick Air Force Base. Her husband is a retired colonel.

A: What is her married name?

E: Tisdale, T-i-s-d-a-l-e.

A: When you finished Command and General Staff, you went then to----

Assigned to March Field

E: March Field.

A: Were you aware of that assignment at the time you went to school? Did you know you were going out there?

E: No, but I was delighted to go out there. It was one of the good bases.

A: They were just getting their B-17's out there, or had they gotten them already yet?

E: No. They had not yet gotten them. Sometime in 1938 we had B-18s, and I was in command of the 32d Bombardment Squadron. Then the next summer several of us went back to Langley Field to become familiar with the operation of the B-17.

A: Now you had some pretty stringent requirements when those B-17s first came along; I mean, you had to have a number of hours and lots of hours and lots of experience and so forth.

                Here we go. I knew I had this. Going back to the GHQ Air Force, you had Chief of Staff who was Knerr; Burwell [Brig Gen Harvey S. ] was G-1; Follett Bradley [Maj Gen] was G-2; G-3 was Kenney; G-4 was McNarney; the Adjutant was Maj William Dick [Col]?

E: Yes.

A: Where did this Andrews--Emmons was the first man replaced by--Emmons and Andrews----

E: Wait. Andrews served as Commander of GHQ Air Force 4 years, and that's how the detail was. When he was relieved, Emmons was selected to be the next commander.

A: Of course, they were up at Bolling [AFB Washington DC] by that time, weren't they, or about ready to move to Bolling?

E: Yes, about ready.

Organization of GHQAF

A: Let's see, GHQ--when you went out to the west coast, that was the 1st GHQ Wing yet? The 2d Wing was at Langley, and that had the 2d and 9th Bomb Group, 1st and 8th Pursuit Group, and then the 3d Wing was at Barksdale [AFB LA].

E: And the 1st Wing was at March Field.

A: That's right.

E: It consisted of the 19th Bombardment Group at March and the 17th Attack Group, which was later made into a bombardment group, and then up at Hamilton Field [CA] there was the 7th Group. I don't remember----

A: Who was running the GHQ Air Force out on the west coast now when you went out there?

E: When I got there, General Emmons was still in command of the 1st Wing. Then when he was promoted, General Fickel [Maj Gen Jacob E.] came out and took the 1st Wing.

A: I thought Arnold was the GHQ--wait a minute. I am all confused.

E: Let me get you straight on this. When the GHQ Air Force was formed, they had three wings, and General Arnold was in command of the 1st Wing out at March. General Pratt [Maj Gen Henry Conger] was in command of the 2d Wing, and that was at Langley. Colonel Brant [Maj Gen Gerald C.], later General Brant, was in command of the 3d Wing, and that was at Barksdale.

A: When did Arnold leave the lst Wing on the west coast?

E: When General Foulois retired as Chief of the Air Corps, General Westover was promoted to be Chief of the Air Corps, and he chose General Arnold to be his assistant in the fall of 1935. At that time, then, that's when it was.

A: Okay. I got slightly confused there. So going back, you went out to the 19th Bomb Group, and they still had B-18s. You and who else went back to Langley to get checked out on the B-17?

E: Colonel Halverson [Harry A.] and I. He was commander of the other squadron in the 19th Group.

A: This is Harry Halverson?

E: Harry Halverson.

A: While we are on his name. You know he led that one group to the Middle East during World War II, and he was that HALPRO thing, and he was supposed to bomb Ploesti [Rumania]. The thing was just a disaster. Do you ever hear why that was?

E: No. That happened when I was in the Pacific. I knew something of it because, from being one of the top boys, Hal never got another good job. He must have incurred General Arnold's displeasure. General Arnold was like an elephant; he never forgot. (laughter) And Hal must have incurred his great displeasure about something, because he never got another good job.

Went to Langley to be checked out in B-17's

A: You were going to go out to Langley and get checked out on the B-17 and then come back and check out the whole squadron.

E: Not only that, we were assigned some officers--three officers, fairly senior captains--who had been at Langley Field in the 2d Group and people had gone to school and after they had finished--so we had three people in the group, a Captain Wittkop [Col Hilbert M.], Capt A. Y. Smith [Lt Col Archibald Y.], and a Capt Don Gibbs who were already qualified B-17 pilots. So we didn't have any trouble transitioning. We had people there in the group who had had hours and hours in B-17s.

A: After you got checked out on them, you came back. Did you go to Boeing, then, and actually get your airplanes?

E: Yes.

A: Was it a case of a bunch of you getting on a transport and going up there and flying them off the factory flight line up there then, is that in effect what----

E: We would get word on the schedule for delivery, a certain plane, a certain day? They gave it out. They didn't all come out at once, you know. We would have a pilot who would go up by rail, take the crew and go up by rail, get the plane and fly it back, but we didn't get checked out up there. The people who went up there were already completely qualified B-17 pilots.

Quality of Enlisted Crewmen

A: What was the quality of your enlisted crewmen at this time, gunners and radio operators and such?

E: Oh, very high.

A: They had been trained in the use of their equipment, their guns and this type of thing?

E: They were professionals, most of them, and had had many years of service. For instance, the line chief in my squadron, when I had the 32d Squadron, was a man of my age, a man of my length of service who had been an aerial mechanic all of his life. Hell, that was in 1937. He wound up as a colonel after the war, but that is the quality of man he was. There just wasn't anything about an airplane that he didn't know all about. Right on down the line, the crew chiefs, they were rare people. They had good jobs, and if we got new equipment, they went back to the factory to learn about it or went to some school.

            We were in a position in the 19th Group where we had plenty of time for training. The youngsters came and just as soon as we saw they were what we wanted, we sent them back to the technical schools to take the course. We could do that. In the 19th Group, all the first pilots--they were first pilots; they were celestial navigators; they were expert bombardiers and expert gunners. That was every officer in the group.

            You see, in those days we didn't have rated and non rated people. In the whole Air Corps, there were only a dozen, I would say, non rated people because we had such a small corps we couldn't afford to have anybody who wasn't a pilot. So you did all of the flying work in the morning and you did the administrative work in the afternoon. As the young officers came into that--as the young officer came to a squadron, he had one job in the squadron for 6 months, and he was changed to another job in the squadron the next 6 months. By the time he had been there a couple of years, he knew every job in the squadron. That was the reason, when the war came along, we could put young officers with 4 or 5 years of service out commanding groups and doing a fine job, because we had had plenty of time to train them, and they knew every job. Mess officer armament officer, adjutant, supply officer, any job in the squadron, they knew how to do it.

B-17 was Great Aircraft

A: You hear such glowing words about the B-17 as an aircraft. Were you impressed from day one with that?

E. Yes.

A: It really was the queen of the air.

E: It was the best; we just all loved it, and we damned near sat down and cried when the first one was wrecked.

A: Oh, out there at Wright Field.

E: At Wright Field. That was the saddest thing that ever happened to us, one of the unluckiest things. The bids had been advertised for our bomber competition. In those days the manufacturer had to submit an article. You had to bring a plane. When they came there with their bid, they had to bring a plane which was tested, evaluated, and that was when the Test Section tested them first. Then the board evaluated them and decided which one was going to win.

            The Boeing brought the B-17 in, and when it was being tested there, they took it off with the controls locked with Pete Hill [Maj Plover P.] who was the chief test pilot, there. The plane crashed, so the Boeing people did not have an article on the ground to be evaluated. The plane was so much better than the B-18. There was just literally no comparison in the quality of the planes, but the Douglas people had an article there so the Douglas people won the bomber competition because of that accident. If it hadn't been for that accident, undoubtedly, the Boeing would have won the competition and would have gotten the award, and we would have had--now this was 1935--the B-17 2 or 3 years ahead of what we did. Later we got authority to buy an experimental group of B-17s.

A: Yes. I think 13 of them.

E: Something like that. But we had already awarded the contract to the Douglas people, and we had all the B-18s there. That, in my mind, was a most serious thing. I often think if we had had all of those B-17s on hand, maybe available to be loaned to the British, would the Germans have dared to start World War II if the British had had a bomber that could have bombed Berlin? Think about it.

A: It is those little accidents in history. Was there anybody in the Air Force pushing for the B-18 because you could buy more of them since they were cheaper airplanes?

E: The people on the board--well, Gen Howard Davidson was on the board to select it; Hal George was on the board, and I was on the board. I don't remember one or two other well-known people with bomber experience who were on it--and John Whiteley [Col John F.]. So there is no question. The board was not concerned with the price. We didn't give a goddamn what they cost. We evaluated the plane. Now if somebody didn't have the money to buy it, that was a different thing. I don't believe we ever in half a dozen or more boards that I was on to select airplanes, paid one bit of attention to the cost when we evaluated the plane.

A: There was this argument that the Army, and of course the Navy, said, "You don't need a four-engine bomber with all of that range." Did that kind of stifle the development of the B-17 in the sense that they said the B-18 was more than sufficient for the doctrine that you were supposed to be operating from?

E: There was always that thought from the Navy and the Army general staff. They questioned it, but that was the thing that General Andrews was always putting forward. We had to have a plane with which we could reinforce our foreign stations. Until we had the B-17, whenever you sent a plane overseas, you put it in a crate and put it on a boat and it took a month to get it there. But the B-17 was the first plane that you could take and fly to anyplace we needed it.

A: Which raises a question: As you were training in the 19th Bomb Group now, was it anticipated that you were going to go overseas, or was there no talk about that at that time yet? Talking about 1937-38.

E: No. There wasn't any thought of our going overseas.

A: When did you first learn; then, that you were going overseas in the 19th Bomb Group in this early 1941 time period? Is that when the word first came down?

E: Yes. This goes back to what you said for me to wait awhile to tell you about.

A: Okay. Fine.

19th BG was Selected for First B-17 Over-the-Water Flight to Hawaii

E: In the spring of 1941, they decided to send some B-17s to Hawaii, and for the first time, they were going to deliver them by air. My group, the 19th Group, was selected to deliver these new planes by air to Hawaii. This was the first time it was done. We made up our mind that it was going to be done letter perfect. Every plane flew a mission equal to the Hawaiian flight in advance. We checked the navigation on it and the communications, and General Landon [Truman H.] flew one of the planes.

            Now you were talking about--and on one of these missions where the plane was being flown from New England to March Field, the distance of the Hawaiian flight, we had our figures on what the power settings, engine settings were to be to develop a certain amount of power using a certain amount of gasoline, and the provision if we lost an engine, how you set the other engines up to develop the same amount of power. On one of those flights from New England to March, one of our smart boys lost an engine shortly after takeoff. He just got out his chart and set his engines exactly like they were supposed to be set and finished the flight in perfect condition. That was a great booster so we could say to the boys, "This can be done. This is how it was done."  We knew that.

            We didn't attempt formation flying where you may lose a leader. Every plane laid out its own navigation, did its own celestial navigation. As we were planning to the best of our ability, we guessed the day we would go. We went over to the planetarium in Los Angeles and had them display that night sky so the boys could look up and see exactly how the

sky was going to look that night. As it happened, we picked the exact day. There wouldn't have been much difference a day or two before, but anyway, the day we picked for the projected display did turn out to be the exact day that we went to Hawaii.

            As I remember we took 21 planes, and we took them off at 5-minute intervals.

            We made each crew do their own navigation. There were 100 minutes, 21 planes, from the first to the last plane, and there were 106 minutes between the arrival of the first and the last planes. That's how close it was, and every pilot was required, when he landed, to write down what his gas consumption was for the flight. Not one of them missed it 50 gallons.

            I just give that as an indication of the quality of training that we had developed within that unit.

A: This was the first time for this over-the-water----

E: Yes--had been done.

A: Was it scheduled for these airplanes to proceed on to the Philippines?

E: No. They were garrisoned for Hawaii. Later on in the summer when things got tougher in the Philippines, they did send one squadron of those planes from Hawaii to the Philippines. That was the 14th Squadron that Maj "Rosie" O'Donnell [Gen Emmett] had. Then a little while later, in the meantime we had moved to Albuquerque. Then we moved from Albuquerque to the Philippines, again by air. Rosie's squadron joined us in the Philippines.

A: In April 1941 Brig Gen Henry [B. ] Claggett went on a mission to the Far East and Harold George [Brig Gen Harold H.] went with him. Are you familiar--this was an inspection tour they took out there.

E: No. I think not. They were assigned to the Philippines, and General Claggett was the Air Commander in the Philippines. Evidently, he didn't get along with General MacArthur [Douglas] or something, and he was relieved and General Brereton was sent out there in his place. Col Harold H. George--see, we had two Harold Georges, Harold L. and Harold H., fighter George and bomber George--had gone out with him. They were there when we got there. I knew both of them very well.

A: You then came back on board ship. Of course there was no anticipation that you were going to go anyplace with your organization, was there?

E: Not at that time.

A: When did you first learn then that you were going to go out to the Philippines?

Moved to Albuqerque to open New Base

E: We moved to Albuquerque and opened up the base there.

A: Why did you move to Albuquerque from March Field?

E: Well, we were expanding and opening up new fields, and they wanted to put some other troops at March. I don't know exactly why, but we were organizing new groups.

A: Did it have anything to do with getting you off the west coast, away from the ocean?

E: No.

A: There was someone up at Salt Lake City.

E: They did the same thing. They moved the people from Hamilton to Salt Lake City.

A: Kirtland [AFB NM], that was a brand new base down there wasn't it?

E: Yes.

A: But you weren't down there very long.

E: No.

A: And then the word came that you were to----

Ordered to Philippines in Fall of 1941

E: Ordered to the Philippines.

A: Did this come as quite a shock to you?

E: No.

A: Could you see this war thing coming and coming?

E: Well, of course. General Emmons--I had heard everybody talk about that. We knew the situation was tight, and we weren't surprised that we were ordered to the Philippines. We wouldn't have been surprised if we had been ordered to Panama. We felt we were in a serious situation. As one of the top priority groups in the Air Corps, naturally we would expect that if anything happened we were bound to be part of it because we were one of the best-trained units.

A: You arrived out there in the Philippines on 4 November, as I have it noted here, and the 14th Bomb Group preceded you in September. That would have been----

E: The 14th Squadron.

A: Squadron. I've got bomb group. That was the one Rosie O'Donnell went with?

E: That's the squadron, and the 14th Squadron then became part of the 19th Group. We got to the Philippines 5 weeks to the day before the war started. I landed at Clark Field at daylight on Monday morning--probably 4 November, I don't remember--and 5 weeks later was the Monday in the Philippines that the war started.

A: Did you fly your ground troops over with you?

E: No. We sent them by boat.

A: And they got there?

E: They had gone ahead of us. I don't remember just when they got there, but they were there.

A: Was Clark Field ready to be a bomber base, do you recall?

E: Well, Les Maitland [Lt Col Lester J.] was in command of Clark Field, and he was one of the few people out there who had done anything about getting ready to fight a war. He had gone into the canebrakes and had built places to hide fuel.

            He had dug a lot of trenches that people could get in and had lined them with bamboo so they wouldn't cave in. I don't know how many lives that forethought saved that day the war started. All around the field we had these trenches that people could get in and protect themselves from actual bombing and strafing. I don't know how many lives were actually saved by Les Maitland's forethought and action there. He had been down to Malaysia and looked around down there. He was one of the good aviators. He had a drinking problem, but he did a lot of things well. He wound up an Episcopal bishop.

A: Is that right?

E: Yes.

A: That reminds me, were you brought up in a religious atmosphere at all, General?

E: I am an Episcopalian, yes, and Mrs. Eubank is a Catholic.

A: You came right under Brereton, didn't you? Far East Air Force.

E: I didn't do any staff work at all. They were downtown in Manila. Les Maitland was the base commander at Clark Field, and I had my troops up there. I was in command of the 19th Group.

A: Did you ever go down to Manila and work with MacArthur and Sutherland [Lt Gen Richard K.], or that was Brereton's job?

E: But General Brereton and I and two or three other people flew to Australia before the war to talk things over with the Aussies.

A: Oh, I didn't know that. When did you do this? You had to do it right away.

E: Yes, I would say, oh, after we had been there a couple of weeks--something like that. We went down just to talk things over with them and see what we would do when the war started.

A: It was assumed the war was going to start?

E: The Aussies were already in the war with the British, you know. We went down just to look over their facilities and see how things were.

A: Did they have much in the way of facilities or aircraft?

E: We weren't interested in their aircraft; we were interested in a place where we could move over to; could take our airplanes. We went to Darwin on the west coast; then we went over to Port Moresby; then we went up to Rabaul [New Guinea]

up in the other island up there.

A: I want to say the Solomons, but that isn't it.

E: New Britain or NewIreland. Then we went down to Townsville and Brisbane and on to Melbourne to the headquarters.

A: Did you go over to Sumatra or Java?

E: That was another trip we were going to make, but they started the war too quick.

A: Well, you got down there anyway. (laughter)

E: Yes.

A: What was your impression of the status of things in Australia then?

E: The officers were deeply concerned. Their good troops were in Europe, and they didn't have much.

A: Okay, you say they were plenty glad to see you then?

E: Yes. They certainly did treat us well.

A: Were their facilities such that they had good POL [petroleum, oil, and lubricants] facilities or hardened landing strips or any of this kind of thing, or was it pretty barebones yet?

E: I don't remember which field had hard strips and which fields didn't, but they were adequate fields that we could use. I don't remember, for instance, the service of the field at Port Moresby, but it was a usable bomber field.

Association with Gen Sutherland

A: Going back up to the Philippines, did you ever deal with General Sutherland at all?

E: No. I wouldn't have had any meetings with him. I know, by reputation of hearing people talk about it, Brereton and later on George Kenney, they had a very low regard for General Sutherland. General Sutherland interfered with the air commanders, General Brereton in the Philippines and General Brett [Lt Gen George H. ] in Australia, and until General Kenney got to Australia and got General MacArthur's confidence, Sutherland posed some problems. Once General MacArthur got confidence in General Kenney and let General Kenney run the air business, from then on they fought a fine war. There is no doubt about that.

A: Did you read Manchester's book, The American Caesar, about MacArthur?

E: Yes.

A: Of course General Sutherland turned out very poorly in that book.

E: He ought to. Well, I had a very low regard for him, and I was surprised that General MacArthur kept him as long as he did, but General MacArthur also kept another chief of staff up in Japan in the Korean war--Almond [Gen Edward M.].

A: Oh, yes, General Almond, the Army guy. This is what Manchester says: "MacArthur always seemed to have a little less staff around him than he should have had, like General Willoughby [Maj Gen Charles A.] and so forth, who were less than best, for example." Had you been able to do any flying in the Philippines to familiarize yourself with the area?

E: Oh, yes. We had been to Australia.

A: I mean yourself now. Had you flown up to, let's say, the northern Luzon there and down to Del Monte? Had you been able to do this kind of flying yourself?

E: I had done some around the Philippines. We had had relatively little time. I had made this trip to Australia, and we were familiar with the fields. The staff had gone out and looked at those I hadn't seen. Rosie had been there a month or so more, so we knew about what we were doing.

Conditions in the Philippines

A: Were there plenty of bombs and ammunition and guns and ordnance and spare parts and everything available there at Clark for you?

E: We were short of engines, replacement engines because some of our planes that had needed engine change, there was some difficulty in that, but as I remember it, that was the one shortage--a very serious one, I might add.

A: What about aircraft warning and airbase defense? Was there much of that in existence?

E: No.

A: Did that bother you that you were kind of vulnerable? Did you try to correct that? Again, you didn't have much time.

E: We didn't. We had sort of hoped that a war wouldn't start so quick. (laughter) I guess some of the people had figured it was going to start in April. The only reason, I guess, they had for that was the Spanish-American War and World War I had both started in April. Maybe they figured that was the only month you could start a war.

A: Yes, the spring of the year you can start a war. Where were you then, actually, when you first learned that the war had begun at Pearl Harbor?

Pearl Harbor Day

E: General Brereton called me early on Monday morning and told me that "a hostile act had been committed at Pearl Harbor." That was his exact words. We had been on war alert for 5 or 6 days before that, and he asked me to come down to his headquarters as soon as I could. I got in a B-18 and flew down to Nichols Field, and while I was there I heard him, two or three times, on the phone, presumably talking to General Sutherland, urging him to give us authority to mount a mission against the Japanese. The question was whether we would go up to Formosa, Taiwan, and bomb the airfields or whether we would go against Japanese ships. Of course that required a different type of bomb. You can't load for a bombing mission until you know the target. The worst thing you could do was have the wrong type of bomb on the plane and have to take it off. It's a lot more trouble to take bombs off a plane than it is to put them on there. So General Brereton, I would say two or three different times while I was there, was on the telephone, and I remember his exact words, "If we permit Clark Field to be attacked, we won't be able to operate."

A: Which says that Sutherland was saying, "We have to wait until"----

Permission to go on Bombing Mission Against Japan Denied

E: I don't know what he was saying, but anyway, we didn't get permission, and I didn't have authority to mount a bombing mission when I went back up to Clark Field. We were up there waiting for a word from headquarters on what the target was to be. Now remember, we had four squadrons. Two of them were already down at Del Monte, and we had two squadrons at Clark.

A: Did it bother you personally that these planes were sitting at Clark; there was no base defense; there was no early warning?

E: Certainly.

A: Did you call this to the attention of General Brereton?

E: I didn't have to. He knew it just as well as I did. That's what he was talking about when he was talking to General Sutherland.

A: But he could not say to you, "Move these planes down to Del Monte"? Or was there not room down there at Del Monte?

E: Did you want them to go to Del Monte, or did you want them to bomb the Japanese? That was the thing. If they had made up their minds they wanted them moved, we could have moved them, but we were waiting for a mission, for orders to go on a bombing mission against the Japanese in Formosa or in the sea between there and Formosa. We didn't think about taking them down to Del Monte. We were waiting to load them and go on a mission.

A: Here I have a note, General, that you had been on a full war alert since 15 November.

E: Probably, I don't remember the exact date.

A: Did you have any intel [intelligence] of the status of the Japanese forces in Formosa--air forces? Did you know much about what they had available?

E: We knew where their airdromes were. We would have been able to specify the target.

A: In the few weeks you had been in the Philippines before the war, were there any unidentified aircraft ever flying over the Philippines?

E: I think there was. I feel certain that there was.

A: Japanese recons [reconnaissance] and that type, but you did not ever pull any clandestine recon of Formosa?

E: No.

A: Where was this information about the Japanese airdromes in Formosa, where would that have come from?

E: It was bound to have come from General MacArthur's headquarters.

A: You don't know any specifics?

E: No.

A: Were you in constant touch now with General Brereton down at Manila during this time?

E: Oh, yes.

A: This was by----

E: Telephone.

Bombing of Clark Field; Aircraft Caught on the Ground

A: This gets on to what, obviously, the famous controversy of why those planes were all caught on the ground there at Clark. And it is your understanding it was just a case of MacArthur wouldn't give you permission to move?

E: Well, or Sutherland. General Brereton urged very strongly that we be authorized a mission. General Landon was enroute from San Francisco to Hawaii at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, and the planes that he was bringing in there were to come on down and join us in the Philippines. So if the war had been delayed, let's say, a week, he would have been there and been the 2d Group in the bomber command. I was both the bomber commander and the 19th Group Commander, because there wasn't anything there but the 19th Group. But I was also the Far East bomber commander.

A: They have General Brereton down as--he was the Far East Air Force Commander.

E: Correct, and I was the bomber command commander.

A: Did you personally have an airplane to fly?

E: Yes.

A: Even as the group commander, you were flying?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Now we have the morning of 9 December, and you were on Clark with your airplanes. What happened then as you recall?

E: Now wait. The Japanese bombed us on Monday the 8th.

A: That's right. I'm a day ahead. So the morning of the 8th you are sitting up at Clark with two squadrons and two down at----

E: Mindanao.

A: Were you all gassed up and bombed up or still waiting for bombload specifications?

E: We were gassed up. As I told you, we were waiting for instructions for the target before loading the bombs. The planes were all out, and the officers were assembled for briefing at the time of the attack.

A: That must have been a heartbreaker.

E: Well, we came out and looked up and there they were, coming over. As I remember, we lay down on the ground. I could see the boys out there getting in these trenches that Maitland had built. After the attack had passed on, I got in the car and went around and checked to see how things were going.

A: How many airplanes did you actually lose?

E: I wouldn't say. Shortly there after we got quite a few of them out and sent them on down to Del Monte.

A: MacArthur, in his memoirs and so forth, lays the blame on Brereton for letting those planes get caught on the ground up there. Have you reason to dispute that at all, General?

E: Well, I told you what I heard Brereton say, apparently talking to Sutherland.

A: Do you think it was a political thing, that they wanted to be attacked first in someway?

E: No, not at all.

A: That theory has arisen, too.

E: No, not at all. I think they were hoping the Japs would go down on the Asiatic side of the Pacific and pass us by. I don't think they were inviting an attack because we already had word that a hostile act had been committed at Pearl Harbor. To all intents and purposes, we had been told the war was on.

A: You have read this book, They Fought with What They Had?

E: Yes.

A: In a footnote in that book, the author claims that there is some belief that the Far East Air Force records were reconstructed after the fact and that Brereton's diaries were rewritten after the fact. Do you recall that at all?

E: No. I don't remember that, and I don ' t remember the thing being in there. I think I would have because I read the book before it was printed. But Brereton's diary, you see, was printed after the war so there wouldn't be any question of it being changed. He took his diary and prepared the book while he was in France at the end of the war.

A: The allegation is that Brereton rewrote his diary to fit a more favorable view of General Brereton. I was just wondering if you had ever heard this before. Did you fear an invasion eight away, or was it something you thought was going to happen?

E: I don't think so. I don't remember. That was not one of my worries. I had plenty of other things to worry about.

A: What was your reaction when they invaded? Was it obvious to you that you were going to evacuate to----

Evacuation of Philippines

E: Not right away. We moved the air headquarters out of the Philippines to Java on Christmas Eve. There might have been a few troops that had landed somewhere up at the upper edge of the island. I don't remember whether there were Japanese troops on the ground or not, but it was not part of an invasion at that time. General MacArthur declared Manila an open city, and we moved the air headquarters to Java, went out on a Navy PBY and landed at Surabaya in Java on Christmas Day.

A: Why did you evacuate so quickly in that sense, rather than, let's say, stay at Clark or move down to Del Monte? Why did you move so far south so quickly, General?

E: Well, we had moved the two squadrons that were at Del Monte, plus the other planes we had sent them down. We had already moved them down to Australia because they were in an exposed position. Then we moved our headquarters down to Java, and then we moved the planes over. After we looked things over at Java, I told General Brereton we could operate there. Then he said, "I will go on down to Australia and send the planes up to you."

A: Was there any doubt in your mind that the United States was going to win this war, or it was going to be a long war? How did you feel about things at this point?

E: I don't believe I was thinking that far ahead at the time. We had some airplanes; we were the only unit in the Far East that could take any offensive action against the Japanese. Down at Java we just loaded up, going and striking the best targets we could find. We did that until it was quite apparent that the Japanese forces were overwhelming. When they finally came--and it was quite apparent that sooner or later we would be forced to leave Java. So we just stayed there and did the best we could, and when we could no longer take offensive action against the Japanese from Java, we moved down to Australia and started again.

A: Let's see, General Brereton went up to India at the end of February, and that's when General Brett came over? Or was he down in Australia already with the----

E: General Brett and General Brereton were in Java together. And General Brereton, when we had to leave Java--I don't how they decided--took some people and went up to India, and General Brett went to Australia.

A: Had you known General Brett very well at all?

E: Well, I had known him all my service. I wouldn't say I knew him--I knew him but I didn't know him as a senior officer under whom I had ever served.

Gen Brett was Relieved of Command

A: You know General Brett got relieved out there. What was that problem in your eyes?

E: Well, again, I think it was General Sutherland. I think General Sutherland was interfering in the command and nobody would have looked good out there as long as General Sutherland could shade the picture. Until the time came when General MacArthur let General Kenney run the Air Force, they were in serious shape.

A: Did you see this problem when you were there on the staff of the Fifth Air Force, that General Brett just didn't have the ability to either get around Sutherland----

E: I wouldn't say it was lack of ability. I just think it was a bad situation, and that General MacArthur didn't have confidence in him, probably from his chief and other people like that.

Moved to Austrailia

A: You had lost Java, and you were down on the mainland of Australia.

E: We went down to Melbourne, way down in the southern end of it.

A: Was there talk about letting the Japanese have part of Australia in pulling back?

E: They had plans, if they had a Japanese invasion, where they would make a defensive line. I wouldn't call it thoughts. A good defense has a lot of plans: You will do this, that, or the other. The Japs had just been running over everything and without anybody stopping them at all.

            The first time they didn't have success was the Battle of the Coral Sea. I would say that that was a tie; then they went in to take Midway, and they lost that.

            That was about the time I came home. I came back to Washington to be Director of Bombardment. But then again, later that fall--I believe it was later that fall--they had the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, and they got a good whipping there. Never again were the Japs on the offensive. They were awfully tough on the defensive; we lost a lot of people, digging them out of those holes and islands, but never after the Battle of the Bismarck Sea were the Japanese ever on the offensive.

A: There has been much written about the ability to bomb shipping from high-altitude B-17s. Was there more confidence placed in that ability than actual practice proved out? Could you hit a moving ship from a B-17?

E: We hit some of them.

A: Was it commensurate with all the effort a lot of times? For instance, let's say attacking an airfield or a landing field or something, but send B-17s out against shipping, was that good practice?

E: We didn't get to do much of it. We did sink some Japanese shipping operating there in the area of the Philippines and Java. Ships underway on the sea, we dropped bombs and did some pretty good damage. We could hit them.

A: Before you left Australia, was the logistics pipeline starting to build up already from the United States?

E: Yes. I would say that it was.

A: This may be a good place to quit for the day, General. Why don't we give your voice a rest, and I'll come back tomorrow morning, and we should be able to finish up tomorrow afternoon.

E: All right.

Ordered to Washington as Director of Bombardment

A: When we left off yesterday, you had just left the South Pacific and returned back to the United States. Was there any particular reason they brought you back at that time, General?

E: After a short period of time in Albuquerque, I was ordered to Washington to the Chief 's office and assigned as Director of Bombardment.

A: What was this short stop in Albuquerque?

E: Just to visit the family.

A: I thought maybe you had an assignment there.

E: No.

A: Then you went up to the Directorate of Military Requirements of OC&R [Operations, Commitments, and Requirements].

E: Yes, and I was Director of Bombardment in that section.

A: This was to study the pluses and minuses of the air forces -- I am quoting here -- "to obtain proper results for bombing." One of the accusations was that the bombing was not as good as it probably could have been, "that there was a lack of authoritative and concise statement of Army Air Force doctrine and employment bombardment tactics." Do you remember this at all, that there was this accusation that we hadn't really gotten our heavy bombardment tactics and doctrine together, exactly what we were going to do with this?

E: I'm not quite clear what you are trying to bring out there.

A: In 1943 -- now this is some time after you arrived there. You arrived there in 1942 -- a Colonel Williamson [Raymond J.] in the Directorate of Bombardment said that our bombardment didn't attain the proper results or the best we could have because we -- when I say we, the Air Force -- lacked an authoritative and concise statement of doctrine of bombardment and employment of tactics for bombardment. Was this something you were studying there?

     (Pause)

A: Maybe I should go about it this way, exactly what was your first job when you got to the Directorate?

E: I had a staff, of course, and our responsibility was the supervision of everything included in the bombardment program. We were interested in the quality of training given to bombardiers, navigators, and pilots, to the kind of equipment they were being provided, and anything to improve the quality of bombardment. The crews were being trained in the Second and Third Air Forces and sent overseas either in units or as replacement crews to the air forces overseas that needed them.

            The previous question there about a lack of direction in bombardment, we had no control over their action after they reported to their commanders overseas. The overseas commanders were the ones who directed their activities and the methods as to how they would deploy. If we did anything in that connection, it was in an advisory capacity to the overseas commanders. If they requested help, we provided it.

A: When you came back, were you extensively debriefed by General Arnold?

E: Yes.

A: Did he appear to have had good information as to what went on over there? Or what you told him, was it news to him?

E: No. He was fairly well informed. People had been home ahead of me.

A: Who did you work for? Let's see, who was OC&R at that time?

E: My boss was General Fairchild.

A: Did you help write this Field Manual 100-20 which was titled, "The Command and Employment of Airpower," and it was published on 21 July 1943? This would have been a product of the Air Force Board. Did you get involved in that, do you remember, General?

E: You are skipping around so much for an old man; I don't know numbers that you call off there or dates that those kinds of things happened. If I had records that I could look at and follow---

A: I understand that, General, and I realize I'm trying to ask you things that happened over 40 years ago. If I'm going too fast, certainly you just say so.

E: It isn't too fast. Maybe I had better tell you.

A: Okay. Tell me and if I have any more questions about it.

Duties as Director of Bombardment

E: I was assigned as Director of Bombardment. That was one of the main divisions of the Directorate of Military Requirements under General Fairchild. We had a very wide range of interest in everything pertaining to the conduct of the war or the military requirements for the conduct of the war. The piece of paper that you spoke of Colonel Williamson's. He was one of the men in my section and a very able young officer, and he wrote that up. I don't recall the paper that you mentioned.

Worked for Gen Fairchild

            General Fairchild, some time after I got there, was reassigned to a responsible position in the War Department, and Gen Davenport Johnson [Maj Gen] took his place. Later General Johnson was given command of the Second Air Force, and Gen Barney Cites [Lt Gen Barney M.] came there in the spring of 1943.

            At that time they decided they would discontinue the Directorate of Military Requirements and handle that effort in a different manner. At that time I was sent out to the Second Air Force to be in command of the II Bomber Command, which was charged with the training of bombardment crews for duty overseas, crews and units.

Purpose of Director of Bombardment

A: Going back to this Bombardment Directorate, you say you were more concerned in the training of crews, trying to establish a common thread of training. You said you made sure the crews were trained before they were sent overseas, and then there was in-theater training of some kind.

E: I don't think you have any conception of what I am trying to tell you. (laughter) I really don't. The Directorate of Bombardment in the Directorate of Military Requirements in the Office of the Chief was for the purpose that it said: To set the standards for the qualities of the crews, the units, and the equipment that were to be sent to combat.

A: Did you. then work very closely with the Training Command?

E. No.

A: The information that you would develop in your office, how was that disseminated then?

E: Let's cut off this talk and let me -- the Training Command, going back to the combat crew thing -- trained individual pilots, navigators, bombardiers. Let's just go through and take a crew. They trained these various individuals -- and let's take the Second Air Force which was in charge of crew training and unit training for heavy bombardment. It was under the command of General Olds [Maj Gen Robert], Bob Olds, a very, very capable person. The individual would be assembled and units would be established out there. A bombardment group going overseas, the group commander would be selected, his staff, then brought on down to squadrons. The crews would be given training, day and night. As they completed their training, which generally took around 3 months, the group was sent overseas. After we had reached

the number of groups that we were committed to send overseas, we were also training crews, individual crews, who were to go overseas as replacements.

            In Washington, we tried to set the standards, both for organizations and units, and to give some supervision of moving them to combat.

A: Well, this goes back to the question that I asked then. Like the II Bomber Command, which was a ZI [zone of interior] unit training crews and units, would you in the Directorate of Bombardment be in close contact with these people by sending them requirements that they had to meet? Were you the one that would tell them, the II Bomber Command, "This is how good your crews have to be before they go overseas; they must be capable of this type of navigation and"----

E: Anything like that would have gone to the Second Air Force Commander. We wouldn't have gone below him.

A: I mean, the Second Air Force Commander would be talking to you in that sense.

E: Yes. He would be talking to the Director of Military Requirements under whom I worked.

A: Okay. That's what I was wondering. Whether he had another layer of command between him and you or your office or OC&R, but you say the II Bomber Command would be very, very aware of what you people were doing.

E: Oh, yes. For instance, we were always on our toes to give them the help they needed to bring back qualified people from overseas to assist in the training and to do that sort of thing for them, to correspond with the bomber commanders overseas on an informal basis to get their thoughts. There was a whole lot of rather personal correspondence that went back and forth between the Directorate and the various individuals overseas with whom we were well acquainted.

A: I wasn't making myself clear. This is what I wanted to find Out. This contact with the field and so forth, at the time you were in the Directorate of Bombardment, were the units in the Pacific and Europe, England, were they for the most part satisfied with the crews they were getting and the units they were getting, the training that these people had that were coming over?

E: I would say so.

A: Now I would imagine there was a lot of in-theater training as to--like in England. I have read that a unit would come over there and, because of the weather, it would have to learn to fly in a lot of bad weather to get them acquainted with European weather and so forth. I understand that. Now there was in Northern Ireland -- the B-17 crews would come over, and they would land in Northern Ireland, and they would tend to train up there a little bit before they would go down to the UK [United Kingdom]. Do you remember that at all General?

E: No. I never heard of them being in Ireland.

A: This was Northern Ireland, obviously not the Republic. Then you went out to the II Bomber Command.. Where was that at?

To II Bomber Command Spokane Washington

E: Spokane, Washington.

A: But you weren't there very long.

E: No. General Saville [Maj Gen Gordon P.], who was president of the Air Force Board, was sent overseas, and I was sent to Orlando to take that assignment.

Air Force Board was Coordinator of AF School of Applied Tactics

A: You went down there, then, in September 1943. I will read you a note I have here, General. "In 1943 the Air Force Board became the coordinator of the Air Force School of Applied Tactics in Orlando and the Proving Ground over at Eglin."

E: Correct.

A: Now I may be wrong; this is just what I read. Did a lot of what was formerly done in OC&R go down to Orlando to be done by you people down there? In other words, for example, in the directorate did you find yourself, the board, the Proving Ground, and the school down there doing things that you used to do in the Directorate of Bombardment in Washington?

E: I don't think so. The board was, as you said, the supervisory body for the School of Applied Tactics and for the Proving Ground at Eglin Field. The projects were developed at the board and were sent to the Proving Ground, if it was materiel, to be worked out there, and the School of Applied Tactics conducted training for the unit commanders who were going to go overseas. We are getting into something here that goes back a long time, and I don't remember the details of it as well as I should. I'm not at all satisfied with the progress we are making.

Reorganized AF Board

A: That's the way oral history goes, General. Don' t get too discouraged or upset with the way things are going here this morning. Those things happen. I realize I'm asking you to go back 40 years, and that's a long time to go. For example, I have a note here that in October 1943, you reorganized the Air Force Board, and the Board became an agency of the Headquarters Army Air Force and was empowered to develop tactics, techniques, and doctrines to determine all military requirements for the Army Air Force. Board members were the Assistant Chief of Staff of OC&R, which was a Col William McKee [Gen William F.], then you had the Commander of the Air Force Tactical Center as a member of the Board, the Commander of the Proving Ground was a member of the Board, and you were the Executive Director of the Board. Let's see, Gen Home Peabody was on the Board. Is that correct?

E: Correct. He was head of the organization at Orlando.

A: There was a Dr. Robert Stearns. Do you remember that name? He was the civilian educational advisor at the School of Applied Tactics. Seeing his name there, I was just wondering how many civilians you had working for the Board or with the Board down there?

E: I don't recall. There was a number of qualified civilians, both at the Board and at the School of Applied Tactics at Orlando, specialists in certain things. I remember some communications people especially.

A: When you were on the Board, did you talk to General Arnold very much at all?

Duties of AF Board

E. No. We were under -- our entry in the Air Force Headquarters was under General Craig [Lt Gen Howard A.] in OC&R, and we worked through him. He sent us projects to be developed, tests to be made, and the actual testing, of course, was done at Eglin Field. For instance, trying out the buzz bomb; we got a buzz bomb and had it over at Eglin Field where we could test its effectiveness. It was a German buzz bomb. That is an example of what we did.

            The Board, as you said, began to get more influence because we were bringing back people from overseas who had been in combat and who had some personal knowledge of what it took to do certain things in combat. The kind of people I speak about was "Spike" Momyer [Gen William W. ] who later became the head of Tactical Air Command [TAC], one of the top people. He had a fine career in North Africa. When he came back, he came to the Board and later on became the number two man on the Board. I don't remember his title. We had supervision of various projects that, well, maybe General Arnold had thought up and wanted or some of his staff thought it up, and we just put them in and worked them out. We sent people overseas; we developed and tested new formations and made suggestions to overseas -- we never sent any directives to overseas commanders, but we would send somebody over to tell him what was going on. If he looked like he was interested in it, why, we did some more work for them.

A: I have a note here that by September 1944, the Air Force Board had liaison officers in all of the combat theaters, and you also started printing in November 1944 this "Air Operations Brief" which was a newsletter or whatever to disseminate combat lessons throughout the Air Force. Do you remember publishing that, General?

E: No.

A: Also, my note shows that you developed these combat boxes for B-17s to give them the good firepower. There were some studies down there that suggested that one of the best ways to attack the Japanese cities was the use of incendiary bombs. That study came out of down there. Another thing the history books show, General, is that you strongly believed that the Air Force Board should become more of an advisory board to Arnold rather than a projects board for OC&R. This is what the history books shows. Is that in anyway a fair assessment of----

Organizational Channels for the AF Board

E: I think you are emphasizing too much the difference between General Arnold and OC&R. OC&R was one of the main subdivisions on his staff in Washington. Anything he wanted done he told OC&R, and OC&R told us. General Arnold didn't direct the Board to do things, but OC&R was right on the next level below General Arnold and his Chief Assistant.

A: Like I say, though, in reading about this time period, and this is the thing I want to try and clear up, is that there seems to be in Florida, in these days, to get a little more autonomy for yourself down there and kind of be a direct reporting thing to Arnold rather than work so much for OC&R, of is that not true?

E: We worked completely under OC&R, and of course, we were working for General Arnold. But no, I think you don't get the difference in the command control thing. General Arnold was the boss of the whole thing, and he was a great man to parcel things out to his subordinates, and once they got going well to let them run it. We did not feel that we were working for General Arnold rather than for OC&R.

A: As you would do a project then, you would publish the results of this finding and disseminate it. Would you send the report up to OC&R, and they would disseminate it, or would that come directly out of your office down there? Did you have the authority to make these publications down there?

E: I don't remember the details of that. There was never any thought of undercutting OC&R and going directly to the overseas commanders unless we were directed to do so.

A: Did you find it difficult to attract good people and keep good people down there during this wartime situation? In other words, you mentioned General Momyer. Was he restless in the sense that he had come from a very operational situation in Europe and now he was in this more academic type or research type thing? Was it difficult to keep a man like that there? Was he trying to get away from you all the time and get back to----

E: No. He had done a grand job overseas. He came back, and he was typical of a lot of them. He came back to an important position where he could see that he was making great contributions toward the successful conduct of the war, and I would say he was proud to be there and worked well. That was what we tried to develop. One or two officers were restless there and wanted to get out, but that was not the general feeling.

A: Do you remember reviewing field manuals down there, rewriting a lot of Air Force field manuals and Army field manuals dealing with air training and air doctrine and this type of thing?

E: I don't remember it, but I am sure we did it.

A: One of the projects I remember reading about, and this took place over at Eglin, was the testing -- of course this may have been before you were there -- of the P-47 and the P-51 versus the Spitfire. Apparently there was a group of officers in the Air Force who were very convinced that the Spitfire was a superior airplane. That testing took place down at Eglin.

E: I presume that was done before I got there.

A: Yes. That was a little earlier in the war.

E: I am sure if you read it, it was done, but we had the P-47 and the P-51 and had them in production and, well, we hoped they would be as good or better.

A: How were you able to swing an assignment over to the ETO, General ?

Doolittle Got Him Assigned to ETO

E: We developed a project for dropping flares and lighting a target for night bombardment such as troop movements and things like that, and I went overseas with that to show it to the Commander of the Ninth Air Force. While I was there -- I had known General Doolittle a long time -- I asked him if he would like to have me come over, and he said he would. I was anxious to go over because I thought I had something to contribute.

            Looking back on it now, I realize that I was a little late in going overseas. I was a bombardment expert in the early days of the war, but by the time I got to Europe, got to the, Eighth Air Force, there were many younger officers there who knew as much or more than I did. I can see why I was not given an active combat position. I think General Doolittle, although he didn't say so to me, I had expected to be a combat commander of bomber units against targets in Europe. Looking back on it now and being fair, he had a lot of people there who had developed over there and who knew more about heavy bombardment than anybody else in the world. So I was assigned as liaison officer, Eighth Air Force liaison officer with the units in Europe, both Army and Air Force. I stayed most of my time with General Vandenberg's headquarters in the Ninth Air Force as the direct liaison between the Eighth and Ninth Air Force.

A: Was this a case of physically traveling between the two a lot?

E: Yes. I had my own airplane, went back and forth regularly and frequently. I attended most of the morning briefings with General Vandenberg's and General Bradley's [Omar N.] headquarters. I saw those people almost daily. But the war was beginning to go our way then. That was after the Battle of the Bulge, and as you know, never again after the Battle of the Bulge were the Germans on a real offensive.

A: Were you able to fly any combat missions at all?

E: I didn't fly any combat missions.

Became 3rd Air Division Commander

A: It shows that you stayed over there until, well, you ended up when the war was over, they then made you the 3d Air Division Commander. Where had the 3d Air Division settled down? Where were their headquarters at?

E Their headquarters was up in what was known as East Anglia [England] at Elveden Hall, which is just east of Cambridge. This command was being -- the war was over, and it was just an administrative command clearing things up and getting ready to come home.

A: Were you able to travel over to Germany?

E: Oh, yes. I was many places.

A: Toward the latter part of the war in Germany, of course, the British bombing, and then our bombing in Japan, we really weren't after, a lot of times, military targets per se, but we simply were bombing cities. Of course it was referred to as terror bombing sometimes. How did you feel about this type of bombing versus the very precision bombing of a military target? Did it upset you that we had bombed out these cities like that at all?

E: No. The area bombings, as you talk about it, it was the British way of doing things, and when we ran out of precision targets, I guess the most effective use of our heavy bombers was against anything that would destroy the morale of the German people. You must remember, towards the end of the war, we were almost unopposed. I remember standing in the streets in Heidelberg [Germany] and watching a stream of American bombers heading down into southeastern Germany, fly over for well over an hour and completely unopposed. I saw Germans standing in the streets looking up at them with tears in their eyes. But the Germans were defeated, and they had little opposition to this, and I guess you might say, the

idea was just to keep hitting them until they quit.

A: In this after-the-war time period, they had this United States Strategic Bombing Survey with Frank D'Olier [Franklin] and they were over there to study the effects of bombing. Did you participate in that?

E: I did not. I knew of it, but General Arnold, looking ahead as he always did, quite early saw the necessity of evaluating the results of what we had done for our future use and future plans. He got some outstanding peoples like the head of the Prudential Insurance Company , Mr. D'Olier, people of national importance and who were not in any way connected with the Air Force, to evaluate what we had done. He did assign officers to that as advisors, but it was completely civilian and impartial.

ULTRA Secret in WW II

A: Were you aware, in World War II, of this ULTRA secret, that the Allies were reading the German classified messages, in the Pacific, we were reading the Japanese codes via MAGIC? Were you aware of that during the time period?

E: Yes.

A: Do you know of any time this really had a specific effect at the time you were in the ETO [European theater of operations] over there?

E: No. I was briefed by General Vandenberg [Hoyt S.] and his staff about our breaking of the communications code and was told that before any of that information was used, we would have some aircraft in the air. For instance, if we were going to bomb a target about which we had learned from this secret code, before we did that we would have observation planes in that area which would give the impression that we had discovered this, not by secret code but by a photograph of the target or something in that manner. We would not get information from our breaking the code and using that immediately to pick out the next target. We would give the impression that this had been discovered by surveillance. I'm thinking of the rocket business at Peenemunde.

A: Oh, sure. They were still firing V-2s into London at this time when you----

E: Yes.

V1's and V2's; ME262

A: Did you ever see any of those come across, General? Do you remember -- V-2s or V-1s?

E: No. I had seen the V-1 fired at Eglin and was familiar with it. They had some over there, and we were to see what was there, and did we want it! But we at the Board couldn't see any targets that would be available for us to use the V-1 against; therefore, we didn't recommend that it be procured. We made quite a few of them in this country for test purposes, but we couldn't see any application of it. It didn't look like there was any enemy target that we could get close enough to to use this weapon.

A: The development and use of the jet plane, did it surprise you that the Germans had this aircraft? The ME-262 aircraft was a jet aircraft; the first combat jet fighter plane. Do you know if we were aware that the Germans were developing this plane ?

Our First Jet -- The P-59

E: I am sure we were. We were developing it. Our first jet airplane was the P-59 powered by one of the British jet engines, the Whittle design. We had that. I flew that plane at Muroc Lake while it was being tested. That was, I guess, in the summer of 1944, and while I was there, while that plane was being tested, the P-80, the Lockheed jet airplane, was there and being flown by the test pilots. I remember the P-80. I thought at the time that it was the most beautiful plane I had ever seen. We didn't get our jet aircraft into combat, but we had them coming along. I don't remember -- the P-59 was made by the Bell Aircraft Company. I remember one thing particularly about it, it was so secret that they had a dummy propeller.

A: Oh, to make it look like it was a regular plane.

E: Yes. So they wouldn't know. (laughter)

A: How would it be that you would have been out there at----

E: As president of the Board.

A: Did you do a Lot of this going to manufacturers or flying?

E: Well, General Gardner [Maj Gen Grandison], who was the head of the Proving Grounds, and I were at Muroc observing some tests that were going on up there, and I guess one of them was bound to have been the P-59 because I and one of the officers from the board were out there observing the thing, and General Gardner and I went out to see it. We made various trips like that.

A: Was World War II, for our Air Force equipment -- I have read where the attitude was, or the Air Force leadership decided to go quite a bit with what we had rather than do radical development like rush the P-59 or the P-80 into production. Was that kind of the general attitude, do you recall? Over here at the Proving Ground, not to approve radical design or stick with what we had type thing?

E: I think you are saying -- the Proving Ground didn't have that position to decide whether or not. We ran tests at the Proving Ground and sent them in, and they were studied by the various people. I wouldn't say we had decided to go with what we had. We had a tremendous production of the P-51 and the P-47, and we were doing very well with them. While it might have been nice to have had jet aircraft in combat, it was not physically possible to produce them in numbers to make any particular difference. By the time, for instance, the P-80, which was a magnificent airplane, was being test flown there in the summer of 1944, we couldn't possibly have gotten many of them into combat in less than a year's time if even that soon. So you see we went with what we had; it wasn't the fact that we didn't want to develop new aircraft. The P-51 and the P-47 were doing a magnificent job in Europe and, toward the end of the war, were almost roaming at will.

A: From this job at 3d Air Division, you went back to the Air Force Board down at Orlando, and you were down there from, according to the sheet here, October 1945 to June 1945. So there is a misprint there.

E: That was June 1946.

Deputy Commander of AF Proving Grounds

A: Then it also shows you had the additional duty as Deputy Commander of the Air Force Proving Ground over at Orlando. Is that correct?

E: Essentially correct. The command at Orlando and the command at Eglin had been consolidated, and I was president of the Board and was the deputy to General Wilson [Maj Gen Donald] who was the commander. I don't remember the name of it. He was Commander of the Proving Ground at the Orlando activity.

A: This was Maj Gen Don Wilson.

E: Donald Wilson.

A: He retired out of that job, as I recall. Did you make any recommendations or studies as to if the Air Force Board should be kept in existence of what its job should be now? Did you get into that type of thing at all, General?

E: I don't remember.

A: There was, during World War II in Arnold's offices, a Committee of Operational Analysis. It was Guido Perera [Col Guido R.] and [W.] Barton Leach. This was a think tank that Arnold created within his office up there. Did you ever work with them as a president and executive director of the Air Force Board?

E: I don't specifically recall that unit; however, again I say it is typical of General Arnold to get smart outside people in to give him advice or to criticize the way things were being done.

A: Were you aware that General Arnold had a heart attack during World War II, in 1944, that he had become seriously ill and went down to Florida?

E: Oh, yes. I believe that was after I left.

A: It probably was.

E: Because he did live on the base there at Orlando, I understand. That was after I had gone to Europe.

A: The Air Force Board and the School of Applied Tactics, that all went up to Maxwell in November 1945. Did you move with them, the Air Force Board and everything, to Maxwell then?

E: I did not go to Maxwell. General Fairchild was the moving force to get what is now the Air University, the whole school setup operating again. The place to begin to assemble then was from what was at Orlando, Florida, and they moved a great deal of the records and equipment from Orlando to Maxwell, but I stayed, the Board stayed at Orlando until I went overseas in the summer of 1946.

AF Board Recommended a Research section be established at Air University

A: The books I have read note that, at your suggestion, a research section should be established at Air University, and one of the things that came out of this was the Air University Review Journal. Do you remember having any responsibility for getting this thing on the road, General?

E: I don't recall, but I am sure you are right because it was a thing that naturally would have been done.

Assigned to 13th AF in the Phlippines

A: Had you asked for this Thirteenth Air Force assignment to go to the Philippines?

E: I had not asked for it. General Whitehead had become the Commander of the Far East Air Force after General Kenney came home. General Whitehead and I had known each other well for many, many years. General Whitehead's chief of staff at that time was Gen Clements McMullen, and General McMullen and I had been dear friends and close associates all of our service. The Philippines were getting their independence, and the idea was to maintain the best of relations with the new nation, and the policy was to assign officers in a commanding position in the Philippines in the Army, Navy, and the Air Force who had served in the Philippines and who had had Filipinos under their command who were right and respected by not only the Philippine military but by the Philippine civilians. So that was the reason I was given that. I had been there and had Filipino units under my command and such and had a little prestige, you might say, among the Filipinos. They got Gen George Moore [Maj Gen George F.]; you know he was the Army commander who had surrendered Bataan. Whether General Whitehead asked for me or whether General McMullen, both of them I knew very well. Maybe they asked if I was available, or maybe my dear younger friend, Fred Anderson [Maj Gen Frederick L., Jr.], who was Chief of Personnel in Washington, suggested to them that I could be made available for the job, but anyway, a combination of a number of my friends, I am sure, is why I got the job.

A: You replaced Maj Gen Paul [B.] Wurtsmith.

E: Yes.

A: He died shortly after that, didn't he?

E: He was killed in a crash.

A: Oh, is that what happened? I notice that it was noted that he died, but it didn't state----

E: He was killed in a crash after he came back.

A: Did you go to the Philippines by boat this time, or were you able to fly over?

E: I flew.

A: Were you able to take your wife and family with you?

E: Mrs. Eubank came later on by boat.

A: Because apparently there was a tremendous housing shortage there at Clark Air Force Base for the enlisted personnel.

E: Well, for everybody. We established, for bringing families over, a priority on how long the individual had been separated from his family, how much service away from the continental United States this individual had done, and that determined his position on the priority list to bring dependents over. I went on the list just like anybody else, but I had had some previous overseas service, you know, there in the Philippines in the early days and then in Europe, so I took my position on the list the same as anybody else. Mrs. Eubank came over in turn. I don't remember exactly when. Our daughter was in college at Vassar, so she got to come over after she graduated.

Conditions in the Philippines

A: Was there anything really left much up at Clark Air Force Base, or had there been a lot of building going on? What was the physical----

E: Clark Air Force Base adjoined Fort Stotsenburg, and there were quite a few good quarters left at Stotsenburg. They hadn't been destroyed. We had the old commanding general set that had been there for years. There were other constructions of Filipino type, officer housing. For instance, the house in which Mrs. Eubank had lived as a girl, when she was in the Philippines with her father along in 1913-14-15, was still there being used.

A: You had a lot of kind of "cats and dogs" at Clark Air Force Base there; you had a lot of engineering units and fighter squadrons and a lot of AC&W [air control and warning] units. Was your job as much sorting all of this out as to rebuild an effective Air Force now that peacetime had come? What did you see as your immediate job over there, General?

E: I guess my immediate job was to transition a war status to peace status over there. My headquarters was down at old Fort McKinley in Manila in the earlier days, and as we deactivated units up at Clark Field -- there were B-29 units that had come over from Guam after the war, and other fighter units -- we gradually phased those units out and moved everything up to Clark Field-Stotsenburg area. After we gave

things to the Philippines -- we gave the Philippines Nichols Field and Fort McKinley and closed out the depot down at Nichols and moved the remaining equipment up to Stotsenburg, giving various things to the Filipinos. We had units down in the southern islands when I got there, and those were gradually phased out.

A: Did you have a morale problem in that sense that "the-war-is over; let-me-go-home " type attitude ?

E: I don't recal1 it. I know we had no serious problems. The people who were there who had been there during the war were gradually being sent home and were being replaced with troops from the States. I don't recall any incident of serious morale problems along that line. I think the transition went off in a very orderly manner.

A: Your chief of staff was Brig Gen George Acheson [Maj Gen George R.].

E: Yes. Would you like to meet him? He is right here.

A: About that. Was that someone who was assigned there, or had you asked for him?

E: I had not asked for him. I had known him all of his service.

A: He is right here in the building. I'll be darned. You got the first jet aircraft out there in September 1946 already. Was there any problems of maintenance and tactics and everything, getting this unit organized as an effective unit?

E: That was the new P-80s that were coming out there. No. We had a nice fighter unit. We put them in, and they had no problem.

A: Were you tasked at all in training a Philippine Air Force? Did this in anyway become your job in the Thirteenth Air Force?

Relationship with Philippine Government and Military

E: My relations with the Philippine Government and with the Philippine military were very cordial. We did lots of things for them, informally. I took some of their people and gave them additional flying training; we did lots of things for the Filipinos on a nice commander-to-commander relationship.

            I knew the President of the Philippines well. I was always included in any official function that he had, and we had the most cordial relationship. As a result, they gave me their Legion of Honor when I left and things like that. But our relationship with the Filipinos was, you just might say, delightful.

A: Did you travel at all into the Far East, let's say, Hongkong or China or Japan?

E: Yes. Of course I went to Japan a lot of times and to Okinawa and Taiwan. I went way back up in China to Chengtu where Chiang Kaishek's headquarters had been. I went to Bangkok; I went to Shanghai; I was invited down to Java as a guest of the queen, and to Australia, so I would say I went a lot.

A: Did you in anyway retrace your World War II experiences in there? Did you make any attempt to go down and look at the Del Monte Field and Batchelor Field and down into Java or any of that type of thing, General?

E: I did. I went to Java, and while I was there I went to a number of places. I was a guest of the Netherland Government while I was there. I was allowed to do anything I wanted to do. I was assigned an officer, a Dutch officer that had been with me at Morong during the war. He was sort of my host, I guess, a Dutch officer named Bettink, B-e-t-t-i-n-k, Peter Bettink. I got the red carpet treatment.

A: In Thirteenth Air Force were you in anyway supporting, logistically or otherwise, the Chinese Nationalist in China with their war against the Chinese Communists?

E: We furnished them some aircraft which we flew up and delivered to them on Taiwan.

A: As Thirteenth Air Force Commander, did you have to do a lot of reporting up to FEAF [Far East Air Force] and that type of thing, or were you pretty easy going as to however you wanted to do things, you could do them?

Relations with Gen's Whitehead and McMullens while in the Far East

E: General Whitehead and I had a close personal relationship, and I knew what he wanted, and it was done that way. He came to visit me quite often. We had known each other; we had served together. For instance, we were 5 years together at Dayton; we went to the Tactical School the same year; we were both selected to be on General Andrews' staff when he organized the GHQ Air Force. We went to the Command and General Staff School the same year, and with General McMullen, who was his chief of staff, my relation was even closer. We had been on border patrol together. People had known each other intimately all of our service, so there was a relation there not only of General Whitehead being my boss, he was a long-time friend. Our children had grown up together and things like that.

A: This General McMullen, is he the one who became the Deputy Chief at SAC [Strategic Air Command] under General Kenney?

E: Yes.

Gen McMullen's feelings about SAC Personnel being Rated

A: I read one time where he thought everyone in SAC should be rated in some way, that SAC should never ever have any nonpilot or nonnavigator rated people. Did you ever hear that story, General?

E: No, but I'm not surprised. General McMullen set a very high standard for himself and required that of other people. General McMullen and I were on border patrol together in 1919, and we had known each other all of our service. We were at Dayton together 5 years: we were at Maxwell Field together; we went to General Andrews' staff together. My relation with him was about like it was with General Whitehead. I would say even a closer personal relationship because the McMullens and the Eubanks played bridge together and that sort of thing. We had gone to the same schools and been together and always we had an affection and a respect for each other.

            General McMullen -- well, we had grown up in an Air Force that didn't have any nonrated officers, and I guess General McMullen had not adjusted to the fact that there were lots of jobs that nonrated officers could do and that we didn't require a trained rated officer to do that job. As I said yesterday, the Air Force in the years between World War I and World War II, up until, well, we will say about 1939, we had practically no nonrated officers, had just a very few outstanding specialists in photography or communications or armament. I would say certainly less than a dozen in the whole Air Corps. That was all right, see, because it gave the experience to the younger officers who were coming on that stood them in such good stead when they got high commands later on.

A: Did you, even in a casual way, meet MacArthur up in Japan in this time?

E: Yes. I was invited to lunch with him and things like that. I knew him; I had been in his office in the Philippines. In fact General Brereton and I went in to see him before we made the trip to Australia to get his ideas on what we should do.

A: Was it thought that Clark Air Force Base was going to be a permanent Air Force installation in the Far East?

E: I would say so.

A: There wasn't any talk about closing it down or anything like that?

E: No.

Returned to States as Chief of Manpower, HQUSAF

A: From Clark you came back to the United States, and in October 1948 you became Chief of -- now the Air Force had been born by this time of course -- Air Force Manpower in Headquarters US Air Force, and you were there about 1 year. What exactly was this office responsible for, General?

Became Deputy Inspector General

E: This was after the end of the war. It was a supervision of the proper use of manpower and renaming all of the organizations, and my job was to make studies and to inspect and visit the units and see where our tables of organization, for instance, were right or where they were wrong and that sort of thing. This activity, as you will see, was later combined and put into the Inspector General's office, and at that time I became the Deputy Inspector General.

A: It was that clear that that was where it belonged. Who were you working for in this Office of Air Force Manpower?

E: Looking back on it, I believe I was directly under the Chief.

AF Becomes Separate Service

A: Of course during World War II, for all intents and purposes, the Air Force really was a separate Air Force in so many ways. Was there a lot of trauma or difficulty when we became a separate service?

E: You remember that happened while I was in the Philippines, and I did not see it done actually at the time. Now, as you said, to all intents and purposes we had been a separate Air Force since they had called it the United States Army Air Forces and made General Arnold the head of it. We had everything there except the Army still did lots of things for us, supply and those sorts of things. It was very wise that we didn't change over while the war was going on and take on all of those responsibilities. That came about only by the very close relationship between General Arnold and General Marshall.

A: Was there a reluctance in the new Air Force to take pilot rated people and make them supply officers and personnel officers and engineering officers? Were there people in the Air Force who thought this was somehow wrong and that a pilot rated man should not be doing these things? Do you remember that argument ever developing or the problem ever developing?

E: I can't say that I did. I think people were assigned to duties according to their ability. As I say, we had to use pilots on pilots' jobs, and if they had capabilities and were needed elsewhere, they could do it but not to the detriment of their use as combat officers.

A: I mean to say, there was not this throwing up of hands and saying, "Hey, he is a pilot. He should be flying airplanes, not handling the base commander's job or something like that"?

E: Most of the base commanders were flying officers.

A: There was nobody saying, "Hey, this should be done by nonrated people," or something like that?

E: No. The opposite was true; nonrated officers were used where they could be properly employed, and flying officers were given command responsibilities, both as pilots and in command positions.

A: Did you find that the Air Force table of organization and use of manpower had been done well, and when you went out and checked these things over, in effect, the manning was appropriate for the different jobs and different organizations and different commands, or did your office see a lot of areas where things could be better organized manpower wise?

E: Well, I guess you would say, you could always, at an inspection, find ways to do things better. That's what the inspection was for and to correct deficiencies both in the tables of organization and in the quality and training of the people who were assigned to fill the slots. So I would say that was what it was for.

A: There had been a lot of people come in in World War II, young people. Was there a fear that what was going to happen now was what happened in the 1920s and 1930s, that a man would be a first lieutenant for 15 years and that type of thing, and consequently, there was a push to try and get rid of the older members of the Air Force? Were these kinds of upheavals taking place?

E: I don't think so. There were, on a percentage basis -- the old-timers who were around at the end of the war were such a small proportion of the whole that I don't think that number made any difference at all.

A: When you went under the office of the Inspector General, was this at your own suggestion, or was this just another one of those periodic kind of reorganizations one finds?

E: I was in complete accord with it. I don't remember whether I was -- I think I was overseas in Germany looking at the airlift to Berlin. At the time it was done, General Edwards [Lt Gen Idwal H.], who was Chief of Personnel, wrote me and told me it was going to be done, and I wrote him back and told him I thought that was where it belonged, or something like that. I don't remember whether we had discussed it before I had gone to Europe or not, but I concurred. I thought it was the proper place for it to be.

Status of Ocupation AF in Europe 1948-49

A: Of course this was still an Occupation Air Force in Europe at this time. What was the status of our Air Force in Europe in this 1948-49 time period when you went over there on an inspection tour?

E: In Germany, everything was fine. The people in England thought they were not near as fortunate as those who were in Germany. I remember General Johnson, I believe, who was in England said, "It is just a different world." (laughter) The people in Germany were so much better off than the people in England.

A: Yes. I had heard that. Housing was just -- weather, if nothing else, was better in Germany.

E: I don't think the weather was the thing, but I think the facilities, the way they were treated and everything. Of course, in England we were visitors, and in Germany, we were conquerors.

A: That makes a lot of difference.

E: Oh, yes.

He had no Letdown after WW II

A: One thing I wanted to ask you, after World War II was over, was there kind of a let down? Here you had fought this big war and, boy, everything had to be done, and there was very much a purpose to everything. Was there kind of a let down for you after the war in the sense that things became a little anticlimactic?

E: No, not for me. I knew we were going to have a separate service, and I was very much interested in how that organization was going to be and who was going to be selected to head it and our position and things like, the new Department of Defense. I had no letdown; I looked forward to it.

Comments on First Chief of Staff of Air Force

A: Were you satisfied with General Vandenberg as Chief of Staff of the Air Force? Or would you have preferred to see maybe somebody else selected?

E: Van was a very able man. There were two or three others who could have done the job. The people I would have thought, General McNarney for instance, who had been a pre-World War I aviator who had always held four-star rank, and General Kenney, but General Vandenberg was a very capable man. He was all right.

A: Do you know whether General Eaker had kind of expected to replace Spaatz as Chief of Staff?

E: General Eaker was very able and a very ambitious man, and I am sure he had been thinking about the top job long before. He had done things and done them well that justified his being considered for the job. I am sure, you realize that the top job like that, when there is only one top job and a half dozen people thoroughly qualified to do the job, it is sort of in the laps of the gods who gets this. (laughter) There was Vandenberg, the nephew of one of the most powerful Senators in the United States, a Republican who was cooperating completely with the President in his policies and helping him in every way, and so that may have had something to do with it, but still Van was thoroughly qualified to take the job. And the other people, as you mentioned, McNarney and Kenney and Eaker, all had had the experience and had the

qualifications to do the job and do it well. One thing you haven't asked me that I should bring up.

A: Sure, go ahead.

Was in Far East when the Korean War Started

E: I was in the Far East as Inspector General inspecting the Far East Air Force when the Korean war started.

A: That I didn't know.

E: It was there I had my team of inspectors, a number of capable staff officers, and General Stratemeyer was the Commanding General of the Far East Air Force. I told General Stratemeyer I would just make these people available to him to use until he could get replacements. I told him I was available to do anything to help him. His chief of staff had just left so I sort of pinch-hit for him in that capacity.

A: What was the status of the Far East Air Force as a combat organization, the Fifth Air Force, and Thirteenth Air Force at the start of the war? Of course, FEAF was just a command. Had they kept their combat readiness up and all this, or was it more of an occupation air force?

E: Sort of in between. The Thirteenth Air Force had one, as I remember, combat unit, the fighter outfit down there, and over in Guam the 19th Bombardment Group was there, and there were quite a few bomber groups in Japan and Korea under General Partridge.

A: Okinawa.

E: Yes.

A: For example, General Partridge tells the story of this one group of pilots who came over to the Fifth Air Force in 1949, right out of pilot training. He literally had to ground them and go back and train them how to fly. They were just literally incapable of flying an adequate profile of the airplanes they were using over there. This is why I asked what the status was of the commanding general.

E: I'm a little surprised at that. The quality of pilot training at the flying school I don't think had deteriorated. General Partridge was probably discussing the qualifications to fly on new or different type of aircraft that they may not have been checked out on, but I don't think we ever relaxed the standards of the actual pilot training in our flying schools. I think that that was from the very earlier days when we decided that nobody was going to get through the flying school unless they were a fine pilot. Right on up to this very day I think the pilot training in our corps, from the old days of the Air Service right on down to the Air Force, has probably been the best in the world.

Technical Training AF in 1951

A: Let me talk a little bit about this -- were you involved in the establishment of the Tech Training Air Force in 1951? Did you do any of the studies or any of the determinants that this should be done ?

E: No. My dear friend, Gen Charlie Chauncey [Maj Gen Charles C.], was at Scott Field [IL] and was in charge of all training in the Air Force except the flying training, that is the technical training----

A: Electronics, mechanics----

E: All technical training, basic training, technical training, OCS [Officer Candidate School] and OTS [Officer's Training School] and preflight training, all of the training except the flying training, and he was at Training Command Headquarters in charge of that subdivision. After the expansion at the time of the Korean war, flying training was also under the Training Command at Scott. Both flying training and tech training were increased so much that it was decided the proper way to do it was to separate the commands. So they separated the Training Command into three subdivisions: Flying Training Command; Tech Training Command; and Crew Training Command, which was a command which took the recalled Reserve people in and assembled them into combat crews.

A: General Combs [Maj Gen Cecil E.]was involved in that Crew Training Command a little bit at one time.

E: Yes.

A: 1954 to 1956. But you say this was all being done before you were----

Commander of Tech Training Air Force

E: They made it a separate command, and they decided to move it out of Training Command Headquarters at Scott Field. So the command was organized and was moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and they leased an old military academy there and put it in it. This was done by General Chauncey. He organized it and brought it down to Gulfport. At that time General Chauncey was within a few months of retirement age, and at his retirement, I was given that command.

A: Those buildings they bought down there; they bought that old military academy, and of course, that's not too far from Biloxi, Keesler [AFB MS]. Was it just a matter of space that they couldn't put it on Keesler?

E: Yes, Keesler was being expanded; all of the schools were being expanded, and they couldn't put a headquarters -- you needed the spaces to train technicians. They didn't have the spare space to give to them. As I remember, the Flying Training Command was taken out of San Antonio here and moved to Waco to get them away. Physically, you can just have so many subdivisions, and if you get more than that, you have to break it down into another subunit.

Had Plenty of Enlisted Men who were Well Trained Technical Specialist in 1950's

A: Was there a problem of getting qualified enlisted men during this time period?

E: No.

A: We are talking now right in the middle of the Korean war here. I was just wondering if there was a problem of getting qualified enlisted men or men qualified to be trained in all of these technical specialties.

E: The reverse was true. We had more than we could handle. Our basic training bases were literally swamped. We had a very forward-looking person in the training business in Washington; General McNaughton [Maj Gen Kenneth P.] had stepped up the recruiting program and had gotten more people than we could handle. We had to start two new additional basic training units. We took over a unit in California.

A: Yes. That was Parks?

E: Parks, and another one up in New York State, up near Syracuse.

A: Was that Sampson?

E: Yes. We literally had more people than we could handle. They were just running out of our ears at the basic training schools.

A: Yes. I have seen photographs and read stories that you had them in tent cities and didn't have enough uniforms for them.

E: Right here at Lackland Field [TX] they ran the mess hall 24 hours a day; at a certain place they would stop eating breakfast, and they had started eating dinner, and right on around the clock. I was here. The field office of the Inspector General and I, as Deputy Inspector General, was located at Kelly Field [TX] in those days, so I was right at Kelly Field when they had this great influx of recruits coming in here. We knew when we got a lot of new ones in. Some, you know, would get measles and things like that. They had a big problem; I was here and saw it. I thought they did a magnificent job.

Changes in Training Personnel after World War II

A: Going back to World War II, training for an individual became quite narrow. In other words, they trained them to be on a very specific job or a very specific piece of equipment. Did this attitude in training stay in the Air Force, or did you find yourself trying to train an electronics technician to work on a wide range of equipment, or did the training stay kind of narrow? Do you remember what the attitude was in those days ?

E: I would say that we went into a rather narrow training. We went from thinking of the old crew chief idea, a non-commissioned officer, a senior sergeant who was absolute boss of all maintenance on an aircraft to where he had people from the central shop come down and do certain things. A propeller expert would come and help him on this, that, and the other.

            Back in the old days, the crew chief was literally -- it was his airplane, and he did everything to it. He didn't think he needed any help, and he didn't want any help. But we did, as things got more complicated, the airplanes got bigger, and there had to be more things done centrally and then moved out, we changed. We went to the more specialized training, and I think the bible of the Training Command was known as the TPR, Trained Personnel Requirement. They decided -- well, for instance, when you got a new piece of equipment, what training was going to be required to maintain that equipment. You couldn't wait until that equipment was in use in the Air Force and then start training people.

            The man that maintained that had to start his training some time shortly after the manufacturer started making it. Theoretically, they arrived at the unit at about the same time, so as things became more complicated and more specialized, you couldn't have people who knew everything; you had to train specialists to do certain things.

Thoughts on Contracting Outside Services

A: Did you make much use of private schools, training schools?

E: We did contract for certain things. That was in the big expansion at the time of the Korean war. Of course they had done that when they were getting ready for World War II by subletting pilot training.

A: Were you in favor of this kind of contracting out, or would you have liked to have kept it within the Air Force?

E: Well, I guess my thought was if we could do it, we did it; if we didn't have the facilities to do it, we hired it done elsewhere. The idea being that in an expansion you hire these extra things done, and when the requirement ceases or lessens, then you can cut out the contract schools, and to use these facilities rather than try to build permanent facilities to do all of your training.

A: Like you say, there was a tremendous buildup in the Air Force at this time to keep ahead of this. Were there problems that just almost were beyond solving?

E: We stayed right on it. I think the Tech Training Command that came on right at the time of the Korean expansion was a fine command. I enjoyed my service there thoroughly. I had a fine staff, and the base that--we had 10 bases in this Tech Training command: 3 basic training bases, and 7 tech training schools, and they were all commanded and staffed by experienced, capable people.

A: You were at Keesler, Amarillo [TX], Sheppard [AFB TX], Chanute [AFB IL], Lowry [AFB CO], Scott, Warren [AFB WY] -- now what is at Warren?

E: Fort D. A. Russell [TX] and Cheyenne.

A: That's eight, an old Cavalry post up there. Did you have to do a lot of traveling then?

E: I did a great deal of traveling. I visited these bases regularly and frequently.

A: Did you know at the time you took the job that this would probably be your last command in the Air Force?

E: By all means. I could look at the calendar and see when 2 December 1954 would be. As the law said, 62 years was the age.

A: How many years of service did you retire with then, General?

Oldest Pilot in AF when he Retired

E: Well, 37 1/2 years. At the time I retired, I was the oldest pilot in the Air Force. There used to be saying among the young aviators: "I don't want to be the best pilot in the Air Corps; I want to be the oldest one." Whether I said that or not, I did get to be the oldest pilot.

A: What's that old expression? "There are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots."

E: I would say there were a few.

A: You look back over your career and you can remember a lot of good things that happened, but what was probably the worst thing that happened to you in the Air Force? I mean something that really discouraged you or made you unhappy. Do you recall anything like that?

E: I would have to say no. I was always an optimistic person. I had good luck. I look back on it; I got to do almost everything that there was to do. I enjoyed my service. For instances I had many people who went out of their way to do things for me. I would say that I would have a hard time to think of anything like that.

F Trubee Davison

A: Did you ever work with F. Trubee Davison?

E: Oh, yes.

A: Where had you known him?

E: I knew him when he was selected for his job. Assistant Secretary of War for Air I believe was what they called him. He was out there when I was stationed at Dayton, and Dayton being one of the interesting places in the Air Corps, he came out there quite often. I knew him; I saw him there; I saw him in his office in Washington, and I knew him from the time he took the job.

A: In World War II he came back in and worked in the Pentagon. He was in a special projects office during World War II. One of the things he planned, for example, was the demobilization plan. Did you ever deal with him in World War II then?

E: Well, I knew him all the time. He was a very valuable man to the Air Corps. In the time that he was there as Assistant Secretary, he did lots of things to make it run better, and he was a well-connected man; I mean, everybody knew him, but didn't anybody push him around. Then he came back in on duty during the war, got a commission and I believe served, as I remember, with General Emmons. I think he has died recently. I think all of us have a considerable debt to Mr. Davison. I think he did us a lot of good.

Gen Walter Weaver

A: Had you known Walter Weaver [Maj Gen Walter R.], Gen Walter Weaver?

E: Yes.

A: He was sometimes referred to as "Trotsky" Weaver, is that correct?

E: Yes.

A: Why was that?

E: I don't know why they called him that. There was a Russian by that name, as you may have heard, and maybe he did some things that they considered was the way Trotsky had done them. (laughter) He was a man who could get things done; he didn't do them in the orthodox manner, and any base that he had, he always improved it. For instance, he was down at Maxwell Field, and when they were building all of these new temporary barracks around, you know, what did he do? He took that money and built better buildings than they had. He got into a lot of trouble, but that's the kind of guy he was. He built buildings that we are still using down there instead of those -- do you remember those small barracks type buildings? That was his idea. He went over on the river there, went through the base and got the sand to make the concrete and all those sorts of things and built them cheaper than they could have built those wartime barracks. And they have still got them. That's the kind of guy he was.

Worked in Bank after Retirement

A: When you retired from the Air Force, did you go to work in private industry or anything, General?

E: I had lived in Gulfport 3 years, and we had made many friends there. Shortly after I retired, one of my golfing companions, who was a director of a bank, discussed with me going with his bank. He and I went down and talked to the president of the bank, and I told them, "Yes, I would like to have something to do," but I said I did not want to take on a lot of responsibility. As I remember it, I told the bank that, first, I wanted to make it clear that I didn't have to live off the job, and second, I had no ambition to be president of the bank, and third, I didn't want the job to interfere with golf or bird hunting. (laughter) If they wanted me on those terms, I was available at a modest salary, and that was the basis upon which it was agreed.

A: How long did you stay there then?

E: I resigned as chairman of the board of directors when I came to Air Force Village.

A: So you were there a few years then? And this idea that you weren't going to take any responsibility?

E: Well, I didn't take actual banking responsibilities within the bank. I was elected to the board of directors, and then I became chairman of the board of directors, but I was not the chief executive officer of the bank.

A: But you stayed with them, then, for what?

E: Twenty-seven years.

A: When did you come to the Air Force Village in this year?

E: 1 February 1982. There is some advantage to retiring where you have been the boss. You are already an established member of the community. You have a relationship that would take a long time to build up if you moved upon retirement to a new community.

A: Is there anything I haven't covered that you want to address or talk about, General? I have pretty well gone through what I wanted to know in my questions here. Is there anything you would like to add at this point?

E: I am sure there are many things I should say but I don't recall them right at this time.

A: One thing I will point out; I will send you a copy of this transcript, and you can make any changes you want to of any additions. If there is something you want to add at that time, you will be perfectly free to do it. If there is nothing more, then we will just throw the switch here, General.

 

            (End of Oral History Interview # K 239. 0512-1345)