By TSgt. Dan Heaton, 127th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 29, 2014
SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- This document, compiled by TSgt. Dan Heaton, contains almost every entry that mentions either Selfridge Field or a flying unit of the Michigan (Air) National Guard in the official Air Service Newsletter (later Air Corps Newsletter) from the inception of that publication in late 1917 through 1929, inclusive.
Excluded were passing mentions of Selfridge Field in articles primarily about other places and activities. Also excluded were lists of officer postings, as various Air Corps officers were assigned and transferred to various locations.
For the most part, spelling, capitalization and writing style discrepancies were not corrected, but left in their original form. One spelling note of interest: there are several entries in the early 1920s that refer to Maj. Carl Spatz when he was commander of the First Pursuit Group. In 1947, Gen. Spaatz would become the first chief of staff of the new Air Force. In the 1930s, however, he changed the legal spelling of his last name from the one "a" seen in this document to the two "a"s by which he is more commonly known today.
All entries below are in chronological order as they were published. Dates for items that appear out of order are dates that were provided by the writers of the Newsletter, which appear to indicate when the item was either sent from Selfridge or received at headquarters for inclusion in the Newsletter.
The headlines included are those that were in the Newsletter. In the earlier years, articles often were dated, but had no other headline.
Full copies of the Air Service/Air Corps/Air Forces Newsletters are available for viewing and download via the web site of the Air Force Historical Studies Office.
Air Service News Letter
Weekly newsletter, week ending Oct. 26, 1918
To complete their training and just before going overseas, students will be sent to Selfridge Field for a three week course in aerial gunnery. This includes firing at targets from the air, both stationary and moving, targets on land, on water and. in the air, together with combat work between airplanes with the so-called camera gun to train the student so that in case of a Hun attack he is able to defend both himself and his pilot. The facilities at Selfridge Field and the instruction is so arranged that this work is able to be finished in three weeks.
Week ending Nov. 23, 1918
In addition, orders nave been issued for the closing of the flying field at (Selfridge), Mt. Clemens, Mich., (Chanute) Rantoul and (Scott) Belleville, Illinois. Orders have also been issued for the abandonment of the Air Service Mechanics School at St. Paul (Minn). Candidates for commissions at balloon school till be discharged and commissioned in the Officers' Reserve Corps as rapidly as they complete their course of instruction. '
Jan. 10, 1920
Captain Harvey Wair Cook, A.S.A., D.S.C. with Oak Cluster, an American "Ace" who is officially credited with the destruction of four enemy balloons and three plans, has received his discharge and left Kelly Field and the First Pursuit Group to try his luck in the Texas Oil Fields.
Captain Cook has been in the service ever since the United States entered the war and even longer. He was with the French driving an ambulance when the United States declared war on Germany. At that time he resigned his former duties and joined the U.S. Flying Corps at Issoudun. After the usual protracted course of "Barrack Flying" he was sent to Tours and having completed his course there put on his wings. He was then sent back to Issoudun for advanced training, to Cozaux for aerial gunnery and then to Orly where he was engaged in ferrying ships to the front and from supply depots in France and England.
About the middle of July 1918 he was assigned to and joined the Ninety Fourth "Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron" and was with this squadron during the remainder of the war. He participated in the Aisno-Marne, Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel and Mouse-Argonne offensives and the Toul defensive. Captain Cool flew for one hundred and twenty hours over the lines.
With the Ninety Fourth Squadron, he went with the army of occupation to Coblentz where he was stationed during the winter of 1918 and 1919. He returned with the squadron to the United States, landing in New York on May 31, 1919.
He was with the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field last summer and moved with it to Kelly Field in September where as commanding officer of the One Hundred Forty Seventh Squadron he has contributed his full share to the rebirth of the new First Pursuit Group, helping to make it the live efficient organization that it is today.
The Air Service, the First Pursuit Group, the One Hundred Forty Seventh Squadron and above all that his numerous personal friends feel keenly the loss of a "Bon Comrade" and an efficient officer and wish him every success in the world.
Jan 10, 1920
First Pursuit Group
When the First Pursuit Group, comprising the 94th, 27th, 95th and 147th Aero Squadrons ceased operating overseas it did not return home as a unit. The 94th Squadron or "Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron" was the last to arrive in the United States, having served as aerial police in the American occupied territory. As far as the pursuit squadrons arrived in the United States, they were mustered out of the service. Some of the men were discharged while others were ordered to the Third Air Park at Selfridge Field, Michigan. At this time it was thought that no Pursuit units would be retained in the Air Service.
The re-birth of the Group was ably guided by Lieut. Colonel Davenport Johnson. Colonel Johnson commanded the Second Pursuit Group during its whole career at the front. Assisting Colonel Johnson in the formation of the New First Pursuit Group were the following officers:
Major Reed Chambers of the famous "Hat-In-The-Ring Squadron," Distinguished Service Cross, three palms, Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre.
Major J.J. Houghton, A.S.A.
Captain Arthur R. Brooks, former commanding officer of the Twenty Second "Shooting-Star Squadron," Distinguished Service Cross.
Captain Clayton Bissell, Flight Commander of the One Hundred Forty Eighth "Liberty-Head" Squadron," which did wonderful work attached to the Royal Air Force on the British Front, British Distinguished Flying Cross;
Captain Weir Cook formerly with the "Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron," Distinguished Service Cross and one palm;
Captain James A. Healy, 6 official enemy planes, Service from April to November 11m 1918 at the front, saq service at Toul, Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, Argonne Offensive, decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross, oak leaf, Croix de Guerre, three palms.
1st Lieutenant Samuel G. Frierson of the Ninety First Amry Observation Squadron.
The First Pursuit Group was transferred from Selfridge Field to Kelly Field in Semptember equipped with British S.E. 5 planes and since that time has been commanded by Major Reed Chambers vice Lieutenant Colonel Davenport Johnson who assumed command of Kelly Field. The above mentioned officers were placed in command of the various squadrons and Captain Frank S. Tyndall formerly of the Twenty-Second "Shooting-Star Squadron" was made the Group Operations Officer.
Several weeks were required to get the planes into shape for flying but sufficient arrangements had been made to give an exhibition of flying for Major General Joseph T. Dickman when he inspected the Post.
About half the officers in the Group are former overseas pilots and the rest have been doing the disappointing, though none the less necessary, duty of instructing new pilots on the home fields. The enlisted personnel is comprised of one third overseas service men, one third home service men and the remaining third are "Rookies." The last mentioned, however, have caught onto the spirit of the older men and are holding up all the old traditions of the Group.
Formation flights to points along the border where the First Surveillance Group squadrons are stationed are made almost every week, combat practice, gunnery practice and precision flying and dead-stick landings are part of te regular routine of the week and when the weather is clear night flying is sometimes done. Ground classes in liaison, radio, gunnery, etc., are also conducted by the Operations Officer.
Feb. 9, 1920
Selfridge Field Uses Lake St. Clair For Landing Field
Selfridge Field, for the past forty-eight hours, has been held in the grip of the severest storm of the winter, A fall of snow averageing twelve inches, and accompanied by high winds and a zero temperature, brought rememberances of the famous blizzard of January, 1918. Aside from drifted roads, no damage has been done and short work has been made of the drifts by an artillery tractor drawing a road scraper.
Although this winter has been consistently cold, and with the ground covered with snow mopst of the time the miscellaneous flying hours of this field are well up to the average of the warmer months. This is a fair indication of the rapid strides flying has made since the winter of 1917-18 when, owing to cold weather, all flying was suspended, Last week, Major N.J. Roots as pilot and accompanied by 2nd Lieut. J.E. Machle, observer, made many successful landings on the frozen surface of Lake St. Clair. This lake, adjoining as it does the field, adds several hundred square miles of landing space.
April 27, 1920
Ex Army Pilots Training at Government Flying Fields
The Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Michigan advises that since the Director of Air Service has granted authority to permit former Army pilots to fly and keep up their training at Government fields he is receiving an increasing number of requests from ex-Army pilots who reside in and around the state of Michigan to take advantage of the offer.
It is interesting to note the enthusiasm being displayed by in Aeronautics by former pilots. That these men are determined to keep up their training is indeed encouraging.
Recently a new club of ex-army fliers was organized in Detroit. Many of these members are taking advantage of the opportunity offered until they have fitted up their own field.
The call of the air is hard to resist and it is particularly hard to shake off after having spent several hundred hours aloft. It is extremely difficult to keep away from a flying field when the hum of a motor is heard overhead, especially at this of year when nature is just beginning to cover the earth with her natural wonders.
The majority of ex-army fliers since their discharge from the service have been engaged in the more prosaic things of life, but the lure of the air is so great that each day it is bringing back old faces to the Air Service flying fields where acquaintances are renewed, flights galore indulged in, endorses by smiles of contentment and happiness. The language spoken by these men is one which is understood only by air men.
April 27, 1920
The former personnel of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, will be interest to to know that one of their associates, former Lieut. Harry E. Slater, is one of the prime movers in the organization of the Detroit-Cleveland Aerial Transportation Company. This company is about ready to start operation between the above mentioned cities, using for this purpose a flight ofy flying boats, and all indications point to an immediate success.
One Tuesday evening, April 6th, 1920, Major N.J. Boots, Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, addressed a meeting of the Pilots' Club, an organization of student7s at the University of Michigan who were fiormerly in the Air Service. Major Boots was enthusiastically received and it is believed helped to create a better understanding between the Air Service and a part of its former personnel in regards to present policy.
May 10, 1920
News of the Squadrons
Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Michigan, was visited during the week by Major E.M. George, Inf., Assistant Department Utilities Officer, Central Department. Major George's visit was in connection with the maintenance and utilities work now under way at Selfridge Field.
The number of men applying for enlistment in the Air Service is increasing daily and the majority of the applicants are well above the average in intelligence and trade qualifications. Selfridge Field is handicaopped to some extent in thios campaign for recruits inasmuch as there are no medical facilities available, but this difficulty is surmounted by sending qualified applications to the General Recruiting Station, Detroirt Michigan, where enlistments are completed and assignment made to the Mechanics' School, Kelly Field, Texas.
May 26, 1920
Police Request Assistance in Locating Hold Up Men
The Commanding Officer ofy Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Michigan advises that he was requested by police headquarters of Detroit, Michigan to send a plane out over the territory surrounding Detroit to pursue a gang of hold-up men who held up and robbed a bank messenger and escaped in a high powered automobile.
A description of the car and the route taken were given but as it was raining hard at the time with a resultant soft field and extremely poor visibility, the pursuit of the hold-up men was not undertaken.
This incident tends to illustrate that Municipal Authorities are becoming alive to the possibilities on aerial Police Force.
An Aerial Policeman equipped with a high powered observation lens focused on a ground glass similar to the method of a photographic camera could locate an object on the ground without difficulty, while with his machine gun he could swoop down and wreck a motor car or kills its occupants with ease.
May 26, 1920
During the past week eleven reserve flying officers made practice flights at Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Michigan. In each case it was necessary to have them accompanied by either Major N.J. Boots or Lieut. J.B. Machle, the only pilots stationed here because none of these officers have been physically examined for flying since the first of the year. Considerably more than this number made applications for flights, but in view of the routine work to be performed it is impossible to accommodate all who have applied.
Recruiting activities constituted the major portion of the work done last week. Numerous flights and motor vehicle expeditions were sent out to neighboring towns, posters billed and literature distributed. It is believed that this work as it is followed up will bear satisfactory results.
Former Master Electrician Elmer J. Spencer felt the call of the Service after a year's absence and has re-enlisted.
June 2, 1920
News From the Squadrons
Selfridge Field, Mt Clemens, Michigan
Major N. J. Boots, commanding officer of Selfridge Field has been elected an honorary member of the Aeronautical Society of the University of Michigan. This organization is made up of former service pilots who wish to keep in touch with the game.
Captain Charles W. Stolze, A.S.A. and Lieutenant Karl DeV Fastenen, A.S.A., landed at Selfridge Field during the week in a DH-4 after making a fast trip from McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. The purpose of this trip was to enable these officers to make an inspection of Air Service activities in Detroit.
June 10, 1920
Lieut. J.B. Machle of Selfridge Field tested out a dreadnaught non-sinkable safety suit. This suit was designed for the use of aviators who are compelled to fly over water. Lieut. Machle jumped overboard into water registering 20(degree symbol) Fahrenheit and remained in the water for 35 minutes submerging himself many times. The result of this test was very satisfactory due to the buoyancy and water proofness of the suit. The required warmth is obtained by wearing the proper clothing underneath. The suit allows the necessary freedom of action for the pilot and its weaight and bulk are not excessive enough to detract from the usefulness of the garment. In view of the fact that the U.S. Irving parachute for airplane pilots is now available it is of interest to state that the parachute harness used in connection with said parachute may be worn over the suit which is another point in its favor.
June 10, 1920
News Of the Squadrons
During the week former Lieut. Harry E. Slater, now a reserve flying officer, accompanied by Pathe Weekly Photographer, visited Selfridge Field for the purpose of "shooting" a weekly news item for Pathe Weekly. This publicity was obtained in the interest of recruiting and as this picture will be widely shown it is believed it will be of considerable aid in the present recruiting drive.
June 10, 1920
News From the Squadrons
First Lieutenant George W. Rogers, pilot accompanied by Second Lieutenant Roy Brandi, flying a JN4HG landed at Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Michigan during the week. These officers are on recruiting duty from the Speedway, Indianapolis, Indiana, and report a successful trip.
Dr. Frank C. Anderson, formerly First Lieutenant, Medical Corps, and who served as flight surgeon at Selfridge Field prior to being transferred to Kelly Field, Texas, last fall, has been discharged from the service. Dr. Anderson has returned to Mount Clemens for the purpose of practicing his profession.
June 25, 1920
During the week Major J.N. Boots and Lieut. J.B. Machle of Selfridge Field Mt Clemens, Michigan, accompanied by mechanics, flew in DH-4's to Dayton, Ohio, making the trip in two hour's time. After a short inspection of the General Supply Depot at that place, the trip was continued to Speedway, Indianapolis, Indiana, where an interesting inspection was made ofy the General Repair Depot. The return trip to Selfridge was made direct in one hour and fifty-five minutes on Wednesday. Flying conditions were good, with the exception of very low visibility on the return trip.
July 16, 1920
News From Selfridge Field
Harry E. Slater and Royal B. Woodleton, formerly pilots in the Air Service at Selfridge Field, were hauled into court in Ypsilanti, Michigan, during the week by reason of a forced landing made in a grain field near that town. The owner claims a trespass, but as the court was without precedent in the matter, the case was taken under advisement.
Colonel W.E. Gillmore, A.S.A., Chief of Supply Group, made a trip to Selfridge Field during the week for the purpose of making an inspection.
Four enlisted men, Air Service, were transferred during the week to McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, bringing the Air Service enlisted personnel of this field to its authorized quota of four.
July 20, 1920
There has been a noticeable falling off in the number of applications received from reserve flying officers for practice flights at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Michigan. This is due in part to the closing of the universities and colleges in the vicinity, especially the University ofy Michigan. Many of the students were ex-service men and availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by Selfridge Field in keeping up their practice this spring and early summer.
Aug 3, 1920
During the last week between fifteen and twenty farmers have been harvesting hay on the field and according to a rough estimate of the crop it is thought that the Government's share of the hay will be between ninety and one hundred tons. This, according to the present price, $36.00 per ton, will net the Government approximately $3600.
Selfridge Field is visited almost daily by some reserve flying officer for practice flight and examination in compliance with instructions from the Chief of Air Service.
There has been a noticeable falling off in the number of applicants for enlistment. This is due in part to the high wages paid for mechanics in this vicinity.
Aug. 10, 1920
Major C. B. Hodges left Selfridge Field on Monday after making a three day inspection of the field. Major Hodges expressed himself as being very well pleased with conditions in general. Brig. General William Mitchell is expected to arrive at the field within a few days for the purpose of making an inspection of the Field.
The City of Charlotte, Michigan, has asked the Commanding Officer of - Selfridge Field to cooperate in the laying out of a municipal landing field at that town. When constructed this field will be the only one worthy of note between Selfridge Field and western Michigan towns. .It will also be favorably located on the Detroit-Chicago aerial route.
Co-operation has also been requested by the City of Detroit in the framing of a city ordinance governing flying over that city. The Commanding Officer has been asked to attend a council meeting to be held some time next month, when this matter will be gone into fully.
On Wednesday of this week Captain St. Clair Street, A.S.A. Flight Commander on the New York to Nome flight, landed at Selfridge Field, The other three planes of this flight getting an earlier start from Erie, Pennsylvania, did not land at the field, but continued on to their destination for the day, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Captain Street had lunch with the Commanding Officer, whom he discovered was his flying instructor while at Dayton, Ohio, in 1917. Exceptionally good flying weather has been encountered so far on this trip.
Aug. 17, 1920
Brigadier General William Mitchell arrived at Selfridge Field on Tuesday, on a tour of inspection. General Mitchell also paid a visit to the Packard Motor Company, Detroit, Michigan, inspecting their airplane division, and while there flew a Fokker equipped with the new Packard "8" engine. After the flight, he stated that the Fokker so equipped was a distinct improvement over the standard Mercedes installation.
Victory Medal applications have increased during the past week, due to the publicity recently obtained by Selfridge Field in the columns of the Mount Clemens Leader.
Two D.H.'s from Camp Perry, Ohio, where the National Rifle Competition iis to be held this month, landed at the field Thursday afternoon. The Commanding Officer, Captain N.J. Boots, A.S. expects to accompany one of the pilots, Captain H.M. Gallop, A.S. in a flight to Dayton, Ohio.
Sept. 20, 1920
Detroit a Progressive City. Other Cities Will Do Well to Follow Her Lead.
The City of Detroit, determined to maintain its lead as a progressive aeronautical center, intends establishing its second municipal landing field. At the request of the Commissioner of Parks and Boulevards, the Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, Capt. N.J. Boots, flew over the proposed site and after making an additional ground inspection will recommend its establishment at the next meeting of the city council. The field will only permit one-way landings to be made, but in the event of a strong south wind the other municipal field, located several miles away, will be available. The new field is situated along the Detroit River, very close to the heart of the city, and its water frontage makes it particularly adaptable for use by seaplanes. In fact, it is already being used by the United Aerial Express Company as a home base for its seaplane flying between Detroit and Cleveland.
The Commanding Officer has conferred with the officials of the City of Detroit relative to the framing of an ordinance governing flying over that city. The opinions of the Chief of Air Service in this matter were given and the city authorities agreed that legislation governing aerial traffic should be enacted by the federal government in order that such regulations will be universal throughout the country. They realize that haphazard legislation by separate municipalities will only result in a confusing tangle of laws. This matter is being held in abeyance for the time being.
November 9, 1920
Major William E. Gillmore, Chief of Supply, spent two days here during the past week. Major Gillmore's visit was in conjunction with the purchase negotiations of the field.
Second Lieutenant Morris L. Tucker, Air Service, has been ordered for duty at this field from Camp Funston, Kansas. Lieutentant Tucker , it is expected, will arrive within the next few days.
Captain Charles Van Buren, I.G.D., who has been making an audit of the property loan records of this station for the past 10 days left yesterday for Chicago, Illinois. While here, Captain Van Buren received his permament appointment as Captain in the Quartermaster Corps.
Temporary Storage Depot, Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Mich.
To date fifty carloads of bituminous coal have been receieved at this station for storage purposes. This coal was in transit from the mines to Camp Custer, Michigan, when the abandonment of that camp was announced, making it necessary that shipments be diverted to another station. The unloading of this coal has taxed the capacitities of our small personnel, but so far it has been accomplished without any great delay. It is expected that ten more carloads will complete the shipment.
The Motor Transport Officer at Fort Wayne, Michigan, has received authority from the War Department to utilize vacant hangar space at this station for the storage of motor vehicles. It is expected that four hangars will be used for this purpose and that vehicles will arrive during the coming week.
Dec. 29, 1920
Selfridge Field, Mt, Clemens, Mich.
Mr. Joseph F. Bass, civil engineer, Construction service, Quartermaster Corps, Sixth corps Area, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, reported at this station during the week, on temporary duty in connection with our various construction projects. Mr. Bass is to look over the ground and make necessary recommendations to the Construction service. .
The Township of Harrison is putting in a drainage ditch a short distance west of this field in order to carry off the spring overflow of the Clinton River. This ditch, when completed, will further eliminate the possibility of the Field beig flooded each spring.
Jan. 5, 1921
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
In compliance with orders received from Headquarters, Sixth Corps
Area, Staff Sergeant Elmer J. Spencer, Supply Detachment, this station, has been attached to the Staff of the Recruiting Officer, Detroit, Michigan, on temporary duty in connection with Air Service recruiting. It is believed that this plan of having a representative of the Air Service in the Detroit office will greatly augment the number of Air Service recruits obtained in that city.
In anticipation of freezing weather the water transportation at this field has been removed from the water and properly housed for the coming winter. In view of the great weight and general unwieldiness of the Hickman sea-sleds this undertaking presented many difficulties, but these have been overcome and the boats are now protected from the rigors of Jack Frost.
Jan. 24, 1921
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
Mr. Homer R. Scoville of the Real Estate Branch, War Department, is on temporary duty at this station in connection with negotiations to secure a right of way for the railroad leading to Selfridge Field. It is expected he will be here for several days.
A surveyor has been working for several days at this field checking the boundary lines. This is a matter which had to be settled satisfactorily in order that the purchase negotiations might be concluded.
Jan. 29, 1921
Mr. J. V. Swanson, Secretary of the Seventh Civil Service District, with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, was a visitor at the Field on January 28, 1921. Mr. Swanson's visit was a timely one, as several vexatious Civil Service matters were cleared up during his stay.
Major N. J. Boots, A.S., formerly Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, but now stationed at McCook Field, Ohio, arrived here in a. DH-4B on Friday afternoon January 28,1921. The flight was made from Dayton, Ohio, in the fast time of one hour and forty-five minutes. Major Boots trip was for the purpose of attending to certain important business transactions in Detroit, Michigan.
Feb. 5, 21
The annua1 ice supply for the Field was harvested and stored during the past week. Despite the unusually mild weather experienced so far this winter, the ice yield averaged eight inches in thickness, a size best suited for handling.
The survey of the boundaries of the field disclosed only a few discrepancies from the original figures. The new description has been forwarded to the proper authorities and it is believed that the last hitch in the purchase negotiations of the field has been removed.
Feb. 19, 1921
An effort is being made by the Detroit Automobile Association to secure for exhibition purposes at the coming Detroit Auto Show the Verville-Packard airplane, winner of the last Pulitizer Trophy race, general public interest in things aviation is soaring.
Exceptionally good flying weather was experience during the past week, and the three flying officers, taking advantage of it, got in considerable flying time.
Feb. 28, 1921
Message Sent Out By Carrier Pigeon Returned After Three Years
From the Commanding Officer at Selfridge Field comes the following interesting story of a message sent out from that station by carrier pigeon in 1918 which has just been returned from Ogden, Utah, where it was, perhaps, lost by the bird in its flight.
"It is a far cry from the 1918 war-time activities of this Field and the city of Ogden, Utah, but the two linked up in a strange manner recently by means of a carrier pigeon. During 1918 carrier pigeons were trained at this station for the purpose of carrying messages from airplanes, and it occasionally happened that a pigeon failed to return to its loft after being released from a plane. The other day the chief of police, Ogden, Utah, forwarded to this station a metal message container, with the original training message inside, stating that the container had been picked up in the business section of that town. The only plausible explanation that can be offered is that a pigeon, upon being released from a plane in training, decided to go A.W.O.L. and set out for parts unknown, finally losing the message container over the distant Western city. The vicissitudes and incidents of this modern Odyssey are a sealed book, but though the feathered messenger failed to come home to roost, its message did, even if three year's time and a journey of several thousand miles were required for the final delivery."
Feb 28, 1921.
First Lieutenant James T. Hutchinson, A.S. reported for duty at this station from Mitchel Field, N.Y. on February 5. His arrival is welcomed by the other two officers of the field, as it will serve to relieve them of some of their many duties. Among Lieutenant Hutchison's details are those of Aero Supply Officer, Engineer Officer, Personnel Adjutant and Officer in Charge of Flying.
March 5, 1921
The weather man has again presented this Post with its weekly snowstorm, a fall of two inches coming on the night of Friday, March 4. The only drawback to these weekly visitations - coming as they have so late in the season - is a tendency to leave the flying field soggy and wet. However, with the robins flitting about and with the wild geese honking northwards, good weather can be expected shortly.
A Thomas-Morse scout, equipped with a LaRhone motor, was set up by the hangar crew in the past week. This plane will afford the flying officers of the Field a little variation from the usual JN4HG and DeHaviland flying.
The warehouse personnel is busily engaged in taking the inventory called for by the War Department. While the force available for the work is small, it is expected that the inventory will be completed by the designated date, March 31.
It has been 'announced by the Detroit Aviation Country Club, under whose auspices the Pulitzer Trophy race will be held next September, that rules governing the race will be issued shortly by the Aero Club of America. It was also stated that over one hundred and fifty airplanes will be entered in the preliminary events and that the Pulitzer race itself will have in the neighborhood of sixty entrants.
March 19, 1921
Major H. S. Brinkerhoff, U.S.A., retired, of the office of the Inspector General, Washington, D.C., spent several days at the Field during the past week. Major Brinkerhoff's visit was in connection with the claims of property owners of the right-of-way of the railroad leading to Selfridge Field.
March 26, 1921
Major William C. McChord, A.S., Air Officer of this Corps Area, arrived at Selfridge Field, March 24, 1921, for the purpose of making an inspection of this activity. Upon completion of the inspection Major McChord left for Fort Wayne, Michigan.
The plans and specifications covering the changing of the water intake pipe at this station have been returned approved, and bids are now being requested on this work from various contractors in this vicinity. As soon as this detail is arranged the undertaking will be rushed to an early completion.
April 2, 1921
Captain John H, Jones, A.S., Commanding Officer, Selfridge Field, left the station today on a leave of absence of one month and fifteen days. Captain Jones expects to visit Meridian, Miss., and other southern points during his trip.
April 9, 1921
The weather during the past week has been of the midsummer variety, it having been exceptionally warm and bright for this time of the year. The change from the rain and cold of the preceding few weeks was welcomed by the pilots, the flying field having dried out sufficiently to permit the first flying time a nearly a month.
May 7, 1921
Second Annual Race for Pulitzer Trophy to be Held in Detroit, Sept. 8, 9, 10
The major airplane event in the United States for the year 1921 will be the annual contest for the Pulitzer Trophy, a three days' meet to be held in Detroit September 8, 9 and 10. This will be the second race for the trophy donated by Ralph Pulitzer, owner of the New York World, the first having been flown at Mitchel Field, Long Island, on Thanksgiving Day, 1920, with 35 entrants. Lt. Charles C. Moseley, A.S., flying the Verville-Packard being winner, with an average time of 178 miles an hour, Captain Harold E. Hartney, A.S., flying a standard Army Thomas-Morse with a 300 h.p. Wright motor coming second, with a time only 2 minutes and 30 seconds behind that of Lt. Mosely.
Realizing the importance of this annual event to the future of aeronautics in America, the Aviation Country Club of Detroit, with Colonel Sidney D. Waldon as head of the race committee and Henry B. Joy heading the finance committee, is making plans for the greatest air tournament that has ever been held in this country.
Four events have been scheduled, the first, second and third for commercial planes, the first and second for transport, and the third for observation planes carrying two passengers.
Selfridge Field, adjacent to Mt. Clemens, is to be the starting point for the triangular course which will touch Packard Field and the Aviation Club's Field at Green Lake. The distance which is being surveyed and mapped is to be identical with the course flown over the Gordon Bennett Airplane trophy at Paris.
The Aero Club of America under whose auspices the contest is to be held, has ruled that the club owning the winning plane is to obtain the race for the next event thereafter.
Full particulars with regard to the event and entry blanks may be obtained from the Aero Club of America, 11 East 38th Street, New York City, or from the Aviation Country Club of Detroit.
Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot, Wilbur Wright Field, June 4, 1921
Lieut. Hutchison and Sergeant Spencer, mechanic, from Selfridge Field upon their return from Indianapolis, where they attended the races over the weekend, stopped at this Field for a new motor and a new set of wings for a DH-4B, it being impossible for them to make this replacement at Selfridge Field, due to the lack of personnel.
Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot, Wilbur Wright Field, June 25, 1921
Two SE-5's are making their way through the shops now. When completed they will be flown to Selfridge Field.
Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot, Wilbur Wright Field, Aug. 1, 1921
First Lieut. George V. McPike, in addition to his duties as Utilities Offer and Quartermaster, found time to rebuild an SE-5, and hast tested it himself. Three other SE-5's have been flight-tested, one of them ferried to Selfridge Field and two to Chanute Field.
Death of Lieut. Ulric L. Bouquet
A cablegram was received from the Commander General, Hawaii Department, announcing the death of 1st Lieut. Ulric L. Bouquet, Air Service, on October 26th, at Luke Field, as the result on an airplane accident.
At the outbreak of the wear in April, 1917, Bouquet enlisted at Fort Slocum, New York, and served in the 2nd and 19th Cavalry. He was detailed as a candidate to attend the Officers' Training Camp at Fort Myer, Va., in August 1917, and was committed as first lieutenant, Field Artillery, on November 27, 1917, when he was assigned to the 313th Field Artillery, at Camp Lee, Va. In April, 1918, he was detailed to take the course of intrsuction for aerial observation at Post Field, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, graduated therefrom on June (??) 1918, assigned to the Air Service on June 21 and then transferred to Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., for the purpose of pursuing the course of instruction in aerial gunnery at that station. Upon his graduation from the gunnery school, he was transferred to Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, and assigned for duty as observer with the 109th Aero Squadron.
In October 1919, while serving on the Mexican Border, Lt. Bouquet completed the required tests and was rated an airplane pilot. He was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant, Air Service, Regular Army, effective July 1, 1920. On March 21, 1921, he was transferred to the Hawaiian Department, where he served until his death.
The Air Service deeply regrets the loss of this young officer.
March 1, 1922.
(Synopsis from a larger report)
It is estimated that 5,710 man miles were flown in cross country flights that originated at Selfridge Field in 1921. This is well below the average for most fields. These estimates do not include local training flying. By man miles, it is meant the number of miles flown by each man in any one plane.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., July 15, 1922
The First Pursuit Group was ordered on June 17th to move from Ellington Field, Texas, to Selfridge Field, Michigan. Fourteen Spad XIII's, two SE5A's and five DH4B's were transported by air; the balance of the personnel and equipment proceeded by rail.
Lieutentant E.C. Whitehead, with Sergeant Fryman as passenger, set out in his "Pathfind" DH4 on June 23d to pick out "soft places" for the Group to land enroute. Since SPADS have a limited gas capacity of two hours, the route selected contemplated ten tops of approximately 160 miles each. Stops were made at the following cities: bryan, Texas; Dallas, Texas; McAllister, Okla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Pittsburg, Kans.; California, Mo.; Belleville, Ill.; Rantoul, Ill.; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; and Selfridge Field. Major Spaatz, leading the Group, with Lieut. S.G. Frierson, left Ellington in two SE5A's during the afternoon of June 24th and flew to Bryan to arrange for the servicing of planes on their arrival early on the morning of the 25th. Major Spaatz preceded the Group by approximately one hour throughout the remainder of the trip.
The Group, divided into 3 flights, pushed off at intervals of fifteen minutes, beginning at 6:00 A.M. on the 25th. Pilots assigned to flights were as follows:
"A" Flight - Capt. D. O'D. Hunter, Capt. G.C. Tinsley, Lieuts. G.P. Tourtellot, H.R. Yeager, R.B. Mosher, in SPAD XIII's and Staff Sgt. Newcomb and Anderson in DH4B
"B" Flight - Lieut. T.W. Blackburn, Capt. O.W. Broberg, Lieuts. D.F. Stace and J.D. Summers, Staff Sgt. E.L. Preston in SPAD XIII's and Pvt. Mitchell and Sgt. Ogden in DH4B.
"C" Flight - Lieut. T.K. Matthews, Capt. H.M. Elmendorf, Lieut. R.W. Camblin and W.H. Reid in Spad XIII's, and Corporal Pomeroy, Sgt. Heidenreich and Johnson in two DH4B's/
The distance of approximately 1,500 miles was covered in an average time of 17 hours, with a total elapsed time for all planes of 383 hours.
Several bad rain storms were encountered on the trip but were successfully flown through or circumvented. On two occassions an entire flight was forced to land short of their objective on account of rains. Three forced landings were made by SPAD's, but on each occasion they were pulled out by the mother DH4 accompanying each flight. The First Pursuit Group feels that a new record has been set in the history of aviation in bringing this large number of delicate and erratic planes this great distance without the loss of a single plane. We are confident now that the entire the entire Group could start moving by air to either coast one day after the receipt of orders, and arrive at destination on schedule time.
The Officers wives are beginning to arrive on the post and it is planned when they all arrive to have a very large formal dance at the opening of the Cluib.
Lieut. Doolittle and Andrews passed the night at Selfridge on their flight from Washington to Kelly Field. They planned to make the flight to Del Rio, Texas, and return to Kelly in one day.
An inspection and aerial review by the Commanding Officer was held Saturday, July 15th, in honor of the retirement of Master Sgt. Albert Olsen. This was the first Group flight since arriving on the post. Eighteen SPAD's were put into the air. We expect to have twelve more set up and ready by the end of the week.
We regret exceedingly to announce the death of Capt. George C. Tinsley who was killed in a SPAD XIII on July 6th. Capt. Tinsley had taken off and had gained about 75 feet of altitutde when his motor cut out. In attempting to turn back into the field his plane stalled and side slipped into the ground, catching fire on impact.
The regular tactical flying for the Group will start about the 20th, and continue through the Fall. General Mitchell has promised to come to Selfridge frequently and participate with us.
July 24, 1922
Group tactical training began on Monday, July 17th, and will continue throughout the summer and fall, The First Group is working out a set of brand new tactics which is expected to change the whole scheme of the disposition of forces in pursuit attack and defense. General Wm. Mitchell has promised to participate with us in maneuvers during his spare time during the summer, and by fall we expect to spring it on the powers that be with every assurance that they ,will be unable to "shoot it full of holes."
In addition to pursuit tactical flying a considerable amount of cross-country flying is being done by Officers of the Group, in SPAD, SE5A and DH4B planes. Cities visited during the last week end included New York, Cleveland, Buffalo, Dayton, Fairfield, Chicago and Grand Rapids. Total flying time for this type of flying during the week was 56 hours and 15 minutes.
The ladies are arriving one by one and, with the arrival of Mrs. T. K. Matthews and daughter today, only one officer, Lieut , E. C. Whitehead, is still enjoying his nightly "Pass."
The floor of the Officers Club is now being sanded and polished in preparation for the opening dance the date of which will be announced later.
The Officers of the First National Bank of Detroit have invited the Officers of the First Group (Pursuit) to a luncheon at the First National Bank Building on July 26th to be followed by an inspection of their new building. This invitation is not intended as a business getting affair but is planned as an opportunity of a social meeting with the business men of Detroit.
July 26, 1922
Record Breaking Cross Country Flight
Cross country airplane flights from Kelly Field were smashed to smithereens when Lieut. Delmar H. Dunton, of Kelly Field, alighted from his plane at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., having completed a journey of 1,350 miles in 15 hours and 5 minutes. Lieut. Dunton's average flying time was 103 miles per hour. The route followed was via Dallas, Tulsa, Belleville, Ill., and Selfridge Field. One stop was made Tuesday night, June 20th, at Belleville, where Scott Field is located, for rest and replenishing gas and oil.
Lieut. Dunton's trip was made for the purpose of studying air currents and securing information to be used by army aviators in other long cross-country trips. The type of plane used by Lieut. Dunton was the regulation DeHaviland 4-B, with a larger gas tank. The tank capacity was 110 gallons, while the the ordinary DeHavilland 4-B carries only 80 gallons.
Lieut. Dunton has been stationed at Kelly Field for over a year, and is recognized as one of the most expert pilots in the Air Service.
July 26, 1922
(Synthesized from larger report)
After bombing exercises "attacked" a target schooner off the coast of Galveston, Texas... The First Pursuit Group expects to have more of this sort of thing at Selfridge Field, the unused shallow portions of Lake St. Clair offer a convenient location for either (bomb) practice or demonstration.
Aug. 16, 1922
(Synthesized from larger report)
Orders have been issued creating a new group in the organizations of the Air Service, to be known as the 10th Group (School), to be located at Kelly Field, Texas. ... With this is view... The 1st Group (Pursuit), formerly at Ellington Field and lately transferred to Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., is transferring some 10 officers and 100 enlisted men to form the nucleus of the new 39th Squadron.
Aug. 16, 1922
Some Cross Country Flying
Lieut. Delmar H. Dutton left Selfridge Field Mt. Clemens, Mich., for his return to trip to Selfridge Field on Thursday, July 6th. He arrived at Dayton, Ohio, on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday he visited the Air Service Engineering School. He left Dayton Saturday morning enroute to Tulsa, Oklahoma, making a stop at St. Louis. He was forced to remain at Tulsa Sunday, having flown the last four hours before landing in a driving rain. He flew from Tulsa to Dallas, Texas, in two hours and ten minutes, gassed at the latter place and arrived at Kelly Field two hours and twenty minutes later.
Aug. 16, 1922
Preparing for Pulitzer Race
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., is to be the scene of the next Pulitzer Race, to be held on October 12, 13 and 14. The officers of the 1st Group (Pursuit) are preparing for an attendance of about 100,000 people, and are of the opinion that the event will undoubtedly surpass anything that has ever been done hitherto in races.
Sept. 6, 1922
Messenger Planes at Selfridge Field
MESSENGER PLANES AT SELFRIDGE FIELD
The First Group (Pursuit) at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich.; has received recently a new plaything -- a Sperry Messenger -- and is looking for a shipment any day of five additional planes for assignment to the squadrons.
The one now at the field has a gas capacity of five hours and was flown from :Fairfield, Ohio, to Selfridge Field in 2 ½ hours against a 12 mile per hour head wind. This time is only thirty minutes greater than the average DH4 time for this trip. All pilots are trying their hand with the Messenger and are delighted with its remarkable performance.
Aug. 7, 1922
Tactical flying has continued full tilt all week, two mornings being devoted to demonstrations for General Mitchell, who arrived Tuesday evening and remained with the Group until Thursday afternoon, departing for Chicago to remain over the weekend. We expect him to spend a few days with us again this week.
Pilots are flying to McCook Field as fast as planes are available for individual equipment and fitting of parachutes. All pilots, when equipped, will be required to use parachutes in pursuit tactical maneuvers where combat is involved. Irving type seat packs are being supplied.
Unless gasoline shipments are received immediately, all flying will cease, as the supply found on the field when the Group aiirved is completely consumed. Extraordinary efforts are being made to obtain sufficient quanitities locally to keep up training and cross-country flights.
The following account contained in the San Antonio Express of August 1, 1922, is reported with pride and, we hope, without undue modest for the consideration of other Air Service organizations:
"Ellington Transfer Sets Aviation Record"
21 planes, including pursuit ships, cover distance at big saving to Government.
"A saving of $6,000 to the Government was put in effect early in July when a successful cross country trip in changing station was made by the First Pursuit Group of the Air Service from Ellington Field, Houston, to Selfridge Field, Mich., according to a report received here by Air Service officials.
A distance of 1,600 miles was covered with 21 planes in 16 hours and 10 minutes flying time. The speedy pursuit planes, not built for long cross-country flights, were used and, except7 for minor troubples, the big jump was completed by every plane.
A total ofy 5,155 gallons of gas and 732 gallons of oil, costing $1,471, was used. Air officials estimated the cost or the move by air was $2,340. The same trip by rail would have cost the Government $8,789, or $6,448 more.
Six days were taken to complete the flight. Stops were made art Bryan, Dallas, McAllister, Okla., Tulsa, Okla.; Pittsburg, Kan.; California, Mo.; Belleville, Ill.; Chanute Field, Ill.; and Fort Wayne.
Crossing mountain ranges, encountering tornadoes and thunder storms in Oklahoma, and literally logging a route with 21 planes built for short flights is what the aviators did on the trip. The report shows that a few of the planes gave trouble and fliers had to topple down in cotton and hay fields for repairs, but in these cases only a few hours were lost. Lieut. T.W. Blackburn, flight leader of "B" Flight, encountered a bad storm north of Urbana, Ill., landed and took lunch with a farmer, and continued the flight when the storm subsided. Another plane landed in a soft cotton field at Kiowa, Okla.
The pursuit flyers encountered two very bad thunderstorms in the vicinity of Atoka, Okla., attempted to circle around the boiling clouds but found the electrical storm directly in their path and had to go throu8gh it in close formation. No a mishap was experienced, however.
Leaving Ellington Field several days in advance of the Pursuit Group of 21 planes, Lieut. Ennis C. Whitehead, traveling in a DH4B plane, was the pilot pathfinder, and made arrangements with the Chambers of Commerce at each stop for convenience and supplies, such as gas and oil and water.
Each plane carried sufficient spare parts and tools for making repairs in case of forced landings.
Capt. Frank O. D. Hunter was flight commander of Flight No. 1 and 1st Lieut. T.W. Blackburn led Flight "B" and Lieut. Thomas K. Matthews Flight "C".
Never before in the history of aviation in the United States had as large a number of planes taken to the air together for a cross-country flight."
Cross country flights during the week total 110 flying hours. Five flights were made to Dayton, three to Chicago, one each to Clinton, Iowa, Toledo and Grand Rapids and two to New York.
Sept. 27, 1922
Nov. 9, 1922
The Pulitzer Race
America's aviation classic, the Pulitzer Race, passed into history carrying on its achievements surpassing anything that had heretofore been accomplished either in this country or abroad. Aviation enthusiasts in the United States can now boast that in airplane performance this country leads the word, for with the passing of the Pulitzer RTace the speed record was added to the two we already hold - the altitude and endurance records. And these honors rightfully belong to us, since America is the birthplace of aviation.
Lieut. R.L. Maughan, Army Air Service, winner of the race, set up a new record for speed over a closed circuit, when he covered in five laps of the race course, totaling 250 kilometers of 155.34 miles, at an average speed of 205.8 mile an hour. He piloted one of the two Amry-Curtiss Racers, equipped with a super-compressed Curtiss Model D12 engine, developing about 460 h.p. Second place was drawn by Lieut. L.J. Maitland, Air Service, piloting the same type of plane, who average 198.8 miles per hour. Lieut. Maitland made the fastest lap of the race at a speed of 216.1 miles per hour. Navy entrants won third and fourth places in the race, Lieut. H.J. Brow making an average of 193.8 miles and Ensign A.J. Williams 188 miles per hour. Both of these Naval Officers piloted Navy-Curtiss Racers. Other entrants finished in the following order:
Pilot Plane MPH
Leut. E. H. Barksdale, A.S. Verville-Sperry 181
Lieut. C.C. Moseley, A.S. Verville VCP 1 179
Lieut. F.B. Johnson, A.S. Verville-Sperry 178
Lieut. E.C. Whitehead, A.S. Loening 170.2
Lieut. L.D. Schulze, A.S. Loening 160.9
Lieut. C.L. Bissell, A.S. Thomas-Morse 22 155.5
Capt. F.O.D. Hunter, A.S. Thomas-Morse 22 149.3
It will thus be seen that the race was a triumph for the Curtiss racing machines. It also proved a triumph, however, for the Air Service Engineering Division at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, since the Verville planes which finished 5th 6th and 7th were designed by Mr. Alfred Verville, Aeronautical Engineer and Designer at that station. Furthermore, the Verville piloted by Lieut. Barksdale eclipsed the speed of the Nieuport Delage airplane, piloted by the French airman Lasne, who won the race for the Deutsch Cup recently held in France, when he made an average speed of 179.7 miles per hour.
The Detroit Aviation Society, which conducted the Pulitzer Race under the regulations of the Aero Club of America as representing the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, received 25 entries for this event. Among these entries were eight Thomas-Morse MB3's and one Dare variable camber airplane. The last named plane was ruled out by race officials because the specifications of the plane were not furnished by the Contest Committee. Two MB3 airplanes (Nos. 61 and 62) did not start and six, piloted by officers of the 1st Group (Pursuit) stationed at Selfridge Field (Nos. 51 and 56) had a race all by themselves over a four-lap course, approximating 124 miles, for a trophy donated by Brig. General Wm. Mitchell, Assistant Chief of Air Service, and named the "John L. Mitchell Trophy" in honor of his brother who was killed in the late war. The contestants finished in the following order
No. 1 Lieut. D.F. Stace Average speed 148 m.p.h.
2 Capt. A. Guidera "" 136.1 m.p.h.
3 Captain O.W. Broberg "" 135.3 "
4 Lieut. B.K. McBride "" 134.6 "
5 Capt. H.M. Elmendorf "" 124.7 "
6 Capt. J.D. Summers - forced to land at the end of the second lap.
Sixteen contestants started in the Pulitzer Race proper, and eleven of them finished the course. Four Navy pilots and one Army pilot (Captain St. Clair Streett) experienced trouble with their planes and were forced to land before completing the entire course. Captain Streett, piloting a Verville-Sperry, covered four of the five laps at an average speed of 164 miles an hour when his plane developed engine trouble.
The race was conducted in two heats of five planes and one heat of six planes, so as to afford the racers as great a degree of safety as possible. That the pilots exhibited rare skill in the handling of their ultra fast planes was indicated by the fact that there were only two crashes during the race, one by Captain Streett and the other by Lieut. Sanderson of the Navy, both so manuevered there planes that the escaped injury. In this connection, it must be taken into consideration that the majority of the planes in the race were completed only a few weeks prior to the day of the event and embodied a number of radical departures in construction. Then, again, the Verville-Sperry, the Thomas-Morse and the Loening machines had only been flown but a few hours before they were subjected to the crucial test.
Officers of the meet declared that the daring manner in which Lieut. Maughan turned the pylons was the most spectacular they had ever witnessed. One of the judges of the race declared that the wonderful piloting of Lieuts. Maughan and Maitland contributed in no mean way towards their success, and that words are inadequate for describing the masterl manner in which they handled their ships, which were rushing through the air at the rate of almost 3 ½ miles a minute without the least intention of detracting from Lieut. Maughan's wonderful performance, mention must be made of the handicap under which Lieut. Maitland labored shortly before the first lap was finished, when trouble developed with the gasoline pump of his plane. Thereafter, and until the conclusion of the race, he was only able to use one hand tyo pilot the pl;ane, using the other to work the hand pump and shifting his hands from time to time to relieve the strain. As a result, Lieut. Maitland's right hand was badly blistered and had to do all of his hand-shaking with his left hand.
Detroit was the mecca of all aviation enthusiasts during the prior Octover 7th to 14th, for aside from the principal event (Pulitzer Race) on the last day, there were a number of aviation contests which served to key up the interest of the visitors. The Curtiss Marine Trophy Race, held on October 8th, was a competition between eight Navy pilots. The course was a closed circuit of 20 miles, which was required to be covered eight times. Each contestant had to cover the first four laps in flight, then on completion of the 5th 6th and 7th laps to taxi on the water for a distance of 1200 feet on a course laid out, with a hairpin turn around the starting barge, take off again and finish the eighth lap in flight. Only two contestants finished the race, Lieut. A.W. Gorton, the winner, piloting a TR1 Navy-Curtiss, equipped with a Lawrence J1 engine, making an average speed of 112.65 m.p.h., and Lieut. H.A. Elliott, the runner-up, piloting a Vought VE7H, equipped with a Wright E3, 220 h.p. engine, making an average speed of 108.7 m.p.h.
The "Detroit News" Aerial Mail Trophy Race on October 12th, was held under very adverse weather conditions. The race was limited to multi-engined large capacity airplanes capable of carrying a payload of 800 lbs. or over, having a speed of over 75 miles an hour. It was originally intended to fly the L.W.F. "Owl" in this event, but this entry was withdrawn, so that the race narrowed down to four Martin Bombers and one Martin Transport, all piloted by officers of the Army Air Service. Lieuts. C.B. Austin, C.M. Cummings, G.E. Ballard and Phillips Melville piloted the Bombers, while Lieut. Erik H. Nelson, the winner of this event, piloted the Martin Transport. The course comprised of a total mileage of 257.7 miles, ten laps of 25.77 miles. Lieut. Nelson's average speed was 105.1 m.p.h. Lieut. Phillips Melville finished second at an average speed of 103.2 m.p.h. Lieut. Cummings finished third with an average speed of 101.5 m.p.h.
Following this event came the race for the Aviation Country Club of Detroit Trophy, a competition for light commercial planes over the same course as the preceding event, for which six contestants were originally entered and only four started - a LePere, entered by John L. Burns, and a Bristor "Tourer", entered by the Southwest Airplane Company, being withdrawn. The four entries were:
Lieut. R.G. Worthington, Air Service, Army Transport Monoplane T-2, 400 h.p. Liberty engine.
J.M Johnson, Vought VE7 Special, 200 h.p. Hispano Suiza engine.
C.S. Jones, Curtiss Oriole, 160 h.p. Curtiss C6 engine.
Lt. Harold R. Harris, Army Air Service, DH4B "Honeymoon Express," 400 h.p. Liberty engine.
Lieut. Harris, whose plane it was apparent, was the fastest ofy the lot, won an easy victory, his average speed over the course being 134.9 miles per hour. Jones finished second, average speed 109.4 m.p.h., and Lt. Worthington, third, average speed 90.7 m.p.h.
Friday, the 13th, furnished an interesting race in the competition for the Liberty Engine Builders Trophy. This event was open to 2-seater observation type airplanes, having a speed greater than 90 m.p.h., and was competed for over a course of 10 laps, totaling 257.7 miles - 25.77 miles to the lap. Eleven contestants, nine from the Army Air Service and two from the Navy, were entered. Subsequently, the two Navy entries were withdrawn, leaving the contest one of keen rivalry between the Army pilots alone. Of these nine entries, Major Follett Bradley, Lieuts. B.R. Morton, J.D. Givens, W.R. Carter, W.L. Boyd and Geo. W. Goddard piloted D.H.4 B planes; Captain L.L. Harvey and Lieut. Dale V. Gaffney piloted XB1A planes, and Lieut. T.J. Koenig, the winner of the race, a LePere. The XB1A, piloted by Captain Harvey, appeared to have things its own way until it was forced down after the sixth lap, due to engine trouble. Lieut. Gaffney was delayed in starting, and dropped out of the race after the first lap. Lieut. Koenig's average speed was 128.8 miles per hour; that of Major Bradley, who finished second, 126.5 m.p.h., and that of Lieut. Carter, who finished third, 118.1 m.p.h.
The following Monday furnished a new sensation in the matter of speed records. Press dispatches stated that Lieut. Maughan, piloting the same plane with which he won the Pulitzer Race on Saturday, covered a one-kilometer course at the astounding speed of 248.5 miles an hour - more than 4 miles a minute. This record was made during the test of speed planes at Selfridge Field, and was electrically timed by officers from McCook Field. The fact that no representatives of the Federation Aeronautique International were present to time Lieut. Maughan's flights prevented his record from standing as an official world's speed record.
Two days later, on Wednesday, Octover 18th, General William Mitchell established a new official world's speed record, when he flew over a kilometer course at Selfridge Field at an average speed of 224.05 miles an hour. Altogether General Mitchell made four speed trials, two with Curtiss airplane No. 43 (the plane piloted by Lieut. Maughan) and two with airplane No. 44, the Curtiss Racer piloted by Lieut. Maitland.
The following official report on these speed trials was submitted by Colonel J.G. Vincent, of the Packard Motor Car Co., Detroit, Michigan, who acted as observer and supervised the entire affair.
SPEED TRIALS CONDUCTED AT SELFRIDGE FIELD OCTOBER 18th.
These speed tr8ials were conducted for the purpose of determining the average straightaway speed of the Curtiss high speed pursuit airplane which won the Pulitzer Trophy Race on October 14th and which was known in the race as Number 43.
The preparation for these trials was carefully carried out in exact accordance with F.A.I. regulations. A course exactly one kilometer in length was laid out in the center of Selfridge Field extending substantially in a northwest and southeast direction. The northwest end of the course was designated as station number one and the southeast end as station number two. The course was accurately surveyed and rechecked during the forenoon of October 18th.
Timers sights were erected at each end of the course in exact accordance with the diagram shown on page 142 of the Aero Club of America rule book. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway electric timer was used to time the Pulitzer Trophy Race was set up and properly wired to enable its operation from both sets of timers' sights. The Chronometer forming part of this electric timing device was calibrated by the Bureau of Standards just before the Pulitzer Trophy Race. Timers and observers were stationed as follows:
Fred H. Hoover, acted as observer at the 500 meter point before station number one.
Raymond Ware acted as the observer at the 500 meter point before station number two.
Harry H. Knepper acted as Chief Timer with O.A. Porter assisting at station number one.
Lionel M. Woolson acted as Assistant Timer and operated the switch at station number two.
B. Russell Shaw acted as observer at station number two.
J.G. Vincent acted as observer at station number one in addition to supervising the entire job.
The tests were conducted between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., at which time the atmosphere was approximately 45 degrees Fahr., with a northwest by north wind having a velocity of approximately 18 miles per hour. Two complete trials were made, the detail results of which are recorded on the attached report and certified to by Harry H. Knepper, Chief Timer. As shown on the timer's sheet the average speed obtained on the first trial was 353.715 kilometers or 219.78 miles per hour, and the second trial was 361.28 kilometers or 224.38 miles per hour. The two tests were completed in continuous flights in the order shown on the detail sheet. The plane was piloted by Brig. Gen. William Mitchell, and all flights were made and timed in exact accordance with F.A.I. regulations as certified to by all observers. In each flight, the plane came down to an altitude of less than 50 meters before passing the 500 meter station in front of the course, and the flight was horizontal from this point until the course had been passed over.
Aero Club of America Local Representative Contest Committee
From the above it will be noted that General Mitchell's fastest lap was 243.94 miles per hour, which, in the parlance of the day, is "going some".
Feb. 20, 1923
Airplane Saves Life of Marooned Boy
Chalk up another achievement for the airplane! Here was a case where a young man who was severely injured in an accident and required immediate medical treatment was in an unhappy predicament of being marooned in an inaccessible spot, due to ice conditions rendering it impossible for physicians to reach him - except by airplane. To put it briefly, the airplane was equal to the emergency.
On February 7th, Jesse Cole, a woodsman, sustained a fracture of the skull while working in a log jam at a camp on Beaver Island, near the village of St. James, Mich., a pole supporting a jammer slipping and striking him on the head. At first it was believed no medical aid could be obtained, the wind having carried out much of the ice between the island and the mainland. His friends cared for him and trusted to his hardy condition to aid in the fight. A temporary ice jam enabled a fellow worker to cross to Charlevoix, Mich., to obtain aid. Hardly did he reach the mainland when the ice broke up, and physicians were unable to cross on foot. The ice floes made a boat trip too hazardous.
Cole's father in Chicago sent an "S.O.S." call over the long distance telephone to General Patrick, Chief of Air Service, who advised him to get in touch with the commanding officer ay either Selfridge Field or Chanute Field. The next morning a plane from Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., piloted by Lieut. Russell Meredith, Army Air Service, with a mechanic, "hopped" off in a DH in a blinding snow storm for Beaver Island, about 20 miles north of Charlevoix, in Lake Michigan. He landed in the harbor at Charlevoix, picked up Dr. R.N. Armstrong, flew across the channel in a snow storm and landed on the ice near the island. Arriving at Cole's cabin, the doctor performed an operation on the injured man and later reported that the patient will undoubtedly recover.
March 5, 1923
Selfridge Field, Mt Clemens, Mich.
General Mitchell completed an inspection of the post on January 29th. His tactical inspection included four problems. The first problem was an attack by the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, which was assumed to be an enemy airdrome. The second problem was a movement of an advance flight to establish an airdrome at Port Huron and prepare it for occupation by the Group, which was to follow immediately. This operation contemplated the movement of personnel and material necessary for the resumption of intensive action immediately upon arrival. The Fokker Transport piloted by Lieut. Boyd was used for the movement of personnel and supplies.
The third problem consisted of high altitude patrols for the protection of the airdrome from hostile observation. It was during one of these patrols that Lieut. James D. Summers became unconscious at 19,000 feet, regaining his sense when 500 feet from the ground, landed near Chatham, Ontario, got his bearings and returned to Selfridge Field.
The fourth problem consisted of the bombardment of Pontiac with Pursuit protection.
March 5, 1923
Pursuit Airplane Now Equipped for Long Flights
An MB3A airplane at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., has been equipped with a releasable gas tank containing 37 gallons of gasoline. This tank is suspended from the bomb rack under the fuselage. The releasing device is controlled from the cockpit. This added supply of gasoline will increase the flying radius of an MB3A to about 400 miles. The tank was designed by McCook Field.
March 5, 1923
Airmen Use Lake As a Landing Field
Yes, it's a fact, and they don't use seaplanes either. Jack Frost has made it possible for the pilots of the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, to enjoy an unlimited landing space at the present time. They have used all ofy Lake St. Clair successfully as a landing field. The personnel at Selfridge Field have been treated with an abundance of cold weather, snow and ice, during the winter months.
March 12, 1923
Five Thousand Miles by Airplane!
After many adventures in the frozen north, landing in five feet of snow and breaking the propeller of his ship, and having the unique experience of testing army airplanes in the summer heat and winter snows within a week, Brigadier General William Mitchell, Assistant Chief of Air Service, accompanied by Lieut. Clayton Bissell, his aid, recently returned to Bolling Field after completing a 5,000 mile ,inspection trip of Army Air Service stations in the United States.
The General left Washington on January 21st by airplane under very adverse weather conditions and. flew to the Army Air Service Engineering Division at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. At the Experimental Station, General Mitchell flew the new supercharged fighting plane which is equipped with an air compressor to enable the motor to function at sea level efficiency at altitudes of over six miles. He also flew a new type of training machine with an innovation for seating the pilot and student side by side. He supervised the testing of night flying equipment including landing and signaling lights which are expected to have an important influence on the development of commercial aviation.
From Dayton, he proceeded to Selfridge Field, Michigan, where intensive training maneuvers were, conducted by the 1st Pursuit Croup. This Group has recently developed a new gasoline tank to be carried in the bomb rack of the machine, which will increase its gas supply and allow it to be operated twice as far as a similar machine without this device.
After inspecting activities at Selfridge Field, General Mitchell proceeded to St. Louis, where he looked over the Balloon School at Scott Field. The Army Air Service recently completed a huge dirigible hangar at this field. General Mitchell made a 30-minute flight in one of the Army dirigibles in testing out the equipment at this station. The 1923 Pulitzer Race will be held at St. Louis. He inspected Lambert Field, which is about 20 minutes out of the heart of the city, went over the organization with the advance race committee and made several addresses to prominent civilian organizations.
The "Osprey", General Mitchell's plane, was used to save the life of a man on Beaver Island, Michigan. A serious accident occurred at that place, resulting in a fractured skull. No medical attention was available and the ice froze in the Lake and made it impossible to reach the island by boat. All communication except radio was cut off. This plane, piloted by Lieut. Meredith crossed the Michigan Peninsula from Selfridge Field to Beaver Island, accompanied by a physician, who gave first aid and saved the man's life.
From St. Louis, General Mitchell went to San Antonio, Texas where he inspected the Army Air Service Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, the Air Service Supply Depot at Kelly Field, and the First Attack Group. . He carried out tactical maneuvers, with the Attack Group, based on Kelly Field. A theoretical enemy was outlined along the Mexican Border, 150 miles from Kelly Field. The enemy consisted of a truck train, composed of cardboard trucks, placed in a ravine. This was attacked with machine guns and bombs and literally shot to pieces. This was the first time that aviation has been so employed against ground targets. As a result of these experiments, it is believed that where aviation is properly employed, it will be impossible for any troops to move on the ground within a hundred miles of such air units. The development of this type of aviation since the war has been very great. DeHaviland planes, equipped with eight guns each and GAX airplanes carrying nine guns each were employed in the problem. The GAX airplanes are huge bi-motored ships covered with armor and may be equipped with small cannon,
After inspecting the Air Service units at El Paso, Texas, General Mitchell flew along the frontier. Jumping directly across the continent, he was flying within three days on the Canadian Border.
Upon the invitation of the Canadian Government, General Mitchell made a visit of courtesy to the Governor General of Canada at Ottawa. He then flew from Detroit to Camp Borden, Canada, being accompanied on this trip by Wing Commander Christie, Air Attache of the British Embassy. At Selfridge Field, where the plane took off there was less than an inch of snow on the ground, while at Camp Borden the snow was five feet deep in some places. The American DeHaviland planes, equipped with wheels, sank into the deep snow up to the wings, breaking the propeller.
No material damage was done to the ships, and they were used to continue the trip. At the University of Toronto, Toronto Canada, General Mitchell inspected the laboratory of Dr. McLennan, the first man in the world to reduce helium gas to a liquid form. He also inspected the Canadian Militia at Toronto.
From Toronto General Mitchell proceeded to Ottawa, the headquarters of the Air Force, where he carefully went over the Canadian Defense Organization and was shown every courtesy by the Canadian authorities. The splendid spirit of esprit existing between the two countries made General Mitchell's visit very pleasant. A great deal was learned regarding winter flying conditions in the far North. When airplanes are equipped with skis, it will be possible to land any place in the Northland, as with the advent of snow, nature provides a wonderful airdrome - smooth as a carpet.
March 29, 1923
New Pursuit Planes for Selfridge Field
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., has recently received several of the new PW5 Fokker Monoplane Pursuit planes. These are now in operation, being given daily service tests. Their value as Pursuit ships has not yet been determined.
March 29, 1923
Some Fast Traveling
Army Air Service pilots from Selfridge Field, Mt Clemens, Mich., set up a new speed record traveling between that station and Dayton, Ohio, one pilot just falling short of a 3 mile per minute mark. This high speed record was obtained on the occasion of a cross-country flight on March 8th of a formation of five PW-5 pursuit ships, led by Major Spatz, from Selfridge Field to Fairfield, Ohio. Lieut. E.C. Whitehead accompanied the formation in an MB3Am equipped with a detachable gas tank. All ships successfully landed at Fairfield about noon, and departed at two thirty. The MB3A made the return trip about 206 miles, in one hour and ten minutes (2.94 m.p.h.) and the Fokkers in about an hour and twenty minutes (2.575 m.p.h.)
March 29, 1923
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., March 13, 1923
Two Loening monoplanes have been received from McCook Field. These planes have not yet been given tests at this field, but from the general condition after a cross-country flight from McCook Field they do not promise to be very valuable as Pursuiters.
Lieut. Blackburn has been called to his home in Arkansas on account of the illness of his mother.
The Group had a very successful dance at the Officers Club on March 3rd and we were glad to have with us Lieut. Cummings from Langley Field and Lieuts. Boyd, Reid and Stace from McCook Field. Several airmen from the Border Cities' Aero Club, Windsor, Canada, were present.
Major Wm. E. Hall, who has been with us since the Pulitzer Races as Post Surgeon has been transferred to Camp Sheridan, Ill. We regret that he is leaving.
Lieut. J. Thad Johnson, who reported from Hawaii, has been assigned to duty with the 95th Squadron.
Lieut. Leland C. Hurd, who reported from the Philippines, has been assigned to duty with the 27th Squadron.
The Selfridge Field basket ball and pugilistic teams, having won the district championship by defeating Fort Wayne, have gone to Fort Sheridan to compete for the Corps Area championship. A-No. 1 teams have been developed during the season in all athletic contests and we expect the Corps Area championship trophies to find a home at Selfridge Field.
During the winter months airplane heaters have been used in addition to large heaters in the hangars. Considerable difficulty has been encountered with these heaters, culminating in an explosion of one of them, setting fire to an MB3A in one of the hangars. This ship was damaged beyond repair, but prompt action on the part of the post fire department and the hangar crew in extinguishing the fire and moving the ships out of the hangar prevented further damage.
Tactical formations of MB3A's have been conducting maneuvers over Pontiac, Mich., for the purpose of stimulating recruiting. This work is attracting considerable attention among the citizens of Pontiac and is receiving favorable newspaper criticism.
April 4, 1923
Major Carl Spatz has been called to Washington on temporary duty as a member of a board of officers in connection with the selection of personnel and the organization of service squadrons for the Air Service. Captain V.B. Dixon has temporarily assumed command during his absence.
Lieut. Donald F. Stace returned to Selfridge Field, having completed a course of instruction in airplane maintenance at McCook Field.
May 2, 1923
All Metal Commercial Plane Tested at Selfridge Field
The "Air Sedan," a Stout all-metal monoplane built for commercial purposes, is being tested out at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., and is attracting considerable attention in and about Detroit. It is a three-passenger craft equipped with a Curtiss OX5 motor, and is showing up very satisfactorily.
May 2, 1923
Pursuit Training for Reserve Officers
Three Reserve Officers of the Air Service recently reported at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., for training covering a period of two weeks, the course consisting of pursuit tactics, ground work, supply, administration, and aerial tactics. These officers were 1st Lieut. Henry M. Paynter and 2nd Lieuts. Leon M. Abbey and Carl R. Berglund.
June 4, 1923
The Fox Island Relief Expedition
The readiness of the Army Air Service to cooperate in times of emergency to relieve distress was recently demonstrated when word was received of the plight of a party of eleven persons marooned and reported to be starving on South Fox Island, some 20 miles off the coast of Northport, Michigan. Word of the predicament of this little colony was brought to the mainland by three men from the island who had started out in a boat to secure provisions. Their craft was crushed by the floating ice, but after 48 hours of effort and exposure they finally managed to make their way to Northport across the ice floes. They first reported that the South Fox islanders were starving, but later admitted that conditions were not that serious, only that food supplies were running low.
A relief expedition, participated in by Army planes from Selfridge Field and Chanute Field, a U.S. Mail plane, piloted by Hamilton Lee, a French Breguet, piloted by John Miller, and two planes belonging to a Chicago newspaper started for Fox island to drop food supplies to the marooned colony.
The official report of the participation of the Army Air Service in this relief expedition, make by 1st Lieut. Ennis C. Whitehead, of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., is given below, as follows:
"The first flight was started by the undersigned at 9 o'clock, April 19. The only airplane available for this flight was Curtiss Training Airplane No. 22541. Harold V. Wilcox of the Detroit News, was carried as passenger. A landing was made for gasoline and oil at Bay City, Mich., at 11 o'clock. At 12:45, the pilot left Bay City for Northport. A few minutes before leaving Selfridge Field a telegram was received from the managing editor of the Grand Rapids Herald, stating that the ice was two feet thick on Grand Traverse Bay and solid enough for landing. Upon reaching Northport, at 2:45 p.m., the pilot landed without delay on the ice. After rolling about one hundred yards the landing gear broke through the ice and the airplane nosed down into the water. At the time the airplane broke through it was traveling approximately four miles per hour, ground speed.
The airplane floated fairly high, only the front cockpit being filled with water. Immediately upon landing three rescue parties, each pulling a boat over the ice, started for the airplane. The airplane was about 800 yards out in the bay from the docks. Two of the boats broke through the ice and sunk without reaching the airplane. The third one reached the plane about forty minutes after the landing. A line was placed on the plane and the return trip started to shore. After breaking through several times and pulling the boat out by means of planks and ropes, the ice gave away at a point about 200 yards from the shore. At this point the boat was lost. During the rescue the citizens of Northport had been building a plank bridge out towards the plane. The bride extended to within fifty yards of where the boat was lost. The rescue party, passenger and pilot were pulled in the remainder of the way by lines from the shore.
Report was made to the Commanding Officer, Selfridge Field, immediately upon reaching shore, and another airplane was requested. A landing field was located before dark and the information on this field sent to Selfridge Field. At 11:30 a.m., April 20th, 1st Lieut. Russell L. Meredith, A.S., arrived at Northport in DH4B No. 22587, with Mr. Schuman, of the Detroit Times, as passenger. The pilot, fearing soft ground, pancaked slightly. The landing gear crumpled on landing and the plane was damaged beyond field repair. It was my opinion that a faulty landing gear strut caused the crash, as the airplane was dropped from the height of approximately 3 ½ feet. The landing was not hard enough to justify the breakage.
After this crash, I wired the Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field not to send another airplane until further information had been received from Fox Island. The reason for this was that a civilian plane from Chicago had left Northport for the Island and Lieut. Woolridge, Army pilot from Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill., was en route to Gaylord, Mich., which he planned to use as his base for carrying food to the people of Fox Island. One the night of April 20th, Lieut. Woolridge called me over the telephone and told me that he had dropped several hundred pounds of food near the lumber camp on Fox Island. He also stated that he had landed near the civilian plane from Chicago, which had landed on the south end of Fox Island, but had been able to receive little information from the Chicago Herald & Examiner representatives who were with the civilian airplane. An Air Mail plane arrived at Charlevoix, Mich., that night and proceeded to Fox Island the next day. This plane left two hundred pounds of food. At this time, additional information tended to show that the ten persons on Fox Island were not starving but short of certain items of food, including sugar, butter, grease and coffee. This information, coupled with the fact that several hundred pounds of food had been delivered to these people convinced me that the mission had been accomplished.
Upon my recommendation to the Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field that both Army airplanes at Northport by disassembled and returned to their station by rail, I received orders to remain at Northport and complete this work. It was necessary to hire a tug boat to salvage the Curtiss plane from Grand Traverse Bay. Captain Edd Middleton, of the fishing tug Eagle, effected the rescue. This work consumed two days' time. The citizens of Northport cooperated readily with me in the work of saving this airplane. Captain Middleton endangered his boat to a considerable extent in making the trip through the ice field to the airplane.
Before the work of loading the planes had been completed I was approached by a committee of citizens from Northport, who desired to locate an emergency landing field at that point. This landing field was located and marked on April 24th. The Chamber of Commerce of that city has leased the landing field for a period of one year. The location and other data on this field has been reported to these headquarters on Air Service form designated for that purpose.
On April 27th, the Chamber of Commerce from Traverse City, Mich. Requested me to stop en route to Selfridge Field and aid them in picking a landing field. This field was chosen and marked on April 28th. The data on this field has also been turned in to headquarters.
The attitude toward the Air Service of the business men who whom I came in contact, from both Northport and Traverse City, was very friendly. All of them expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by the Air Service to carry food to Fox Island. They sincerely regretted the seemingly false reports first made by the three men who came across the ice from Fox Island to Northport, Mich., on April 18th. Several of these men stated that the needs of the Air Service had been brought home to them more by the rescue flights than any other incident.
From these statements and the friendly attitude shown by everyone with whom I came in contact, it is my opinion that these flights have done a great deal to bring the needs of a greater Air Service home to the people of that vicinity."
July 10, 1923
Lieut. Crocker's Border to Border Non-Stop Flight
The official report on the non-stop flight from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Border, made by Liet. H.G. Crocker, Army Air Service, on May 26th, discloses several interesting facts. Lieut. Crocker took off from Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, at 5:20 a.m. Central Time, flew to the Gulf, and then turned northward. He states that while passing Middlefork, La., the clouds became so low that the plane just cleared the tree tops. At this time also the engine began to miss and splutter for about five minutes, due in all probability to some foreign substance momentarily clogging the gas line. This was soon cleared, however, and the engine never again faltered during the remainder of the flight to Selfridge Field.
Lieut. Crocker's report is as follows:
"Having been selected to make the Gulf to Border flight, different routes were studied and test flights were made in the DH-4B-1-S plane A.S. No. 22-353 which was to be used. Weather maps were consulted daily.
The course decided on was from Ellington Field to the waters of the Gulf, thence to the Border just below Detroit, Michigan, landing at Selfridge Field. This distance was greater than from other cities on the Gulf, but owing to the fact that a large, smooth field was necessary for the take off, Ellington Field was selected as the starting point.
In preparing the map used, the course was marked on each State traverse, and the desired sections were mounted on a linen strip one foot by twelve feet, the ends of which were attached to two small rollers eight inches apart in an aluminum frame. This map, showing from fifty to one hundred miles on each side of the course, was found quite necessary, especially when varying from the original course in storm areas. The total distance to be flown was divided into fifty miles sections and the total mileage was distinctly marked on each division. This map could be placed in the lap, on the side of the seat or hung on the side of the fuselage.
The plane was equipped with a long coil spring attached to the left rudder the tension of which could be adjusted to eliminate the constant slight pressure usually necessary on the right rudder. A small folding desk for a pad was placed on the right side on which to make notes. Two thermos bottles, one for water the other for coffee were carried. With a main tank capacity of 240 gallons and a reserve of 28 gallons of gasoline, with 24 gallons of oil, the plane was ready for te flight.
There being no supplies at Ellington Field, a flight was made to that station Wednesday, May, 23, to arrange for the servicing of the plane, receiving the latest weather forecasts and securing accommodations for the proposed flight. Because the gasoline capacity was only sufficient for thirteen hours and the minimum distance to be travelled was approximately 1200 miles, the winds and their velocity were the most important items to be considered in determining the favorableness of the weather predictions.
The weather map for Friday, May 25, showed fair conditions over the country to be covered and the predictions for Saturday were more favorable. The plane was serviced and flown to Ellington Field Friday and reserviced there with 70 gallons of commercial gasoline and 4 gallons of oil. Col. John H. Howard, Commanding Officer of Kelly Field, Capt. Chas. B.B. Bubb, Lieuts. George Roberson, Leland S. Andrews and R.D. Biggs arrived to witness and assist in the take off.
The following weather forecast was received from Washington D.C. at 9:30 p.m. Friday and it was definitely decided to take off the following morning:
'Observer, Houston, Texas.
'Partly cloudy sky with possibility of widely scattered thundershowers Saturday in Louisiana and eastern Texas. North of Louisiana to Detroit there will be cloudy skies with local rains and scattered thundershowers. The winds will be gentle to moderate variable over south portion and gentle to moderate east to southeast farther north up to two thousand feet.
Signed - Mitchell,
Forecaster, Weather Bureau'
The take off was made at 5:20 a.m., central time, shortly after dawn. After touching the waters of the Gulf, the course then taken was 20 (degrees) with a west wind and a visibility only fair. R.P.M. 1500; temp 85 (degrees); oil pressure, 48 lbs.; altitude 1800 ft.; speed 97 M.P.H.
The R.P.M. for the entire flight was kept at 1500 while the oil pressure varied from 48 lbs. at the start to 25 lbs. for the last 500 miles. As the gasoline supply diminished the air speed increased from 97 M.P.H. at the start to 103 M.P.H. at the end.
In order that a check could be made on the plane's flying, the performance of the engine and all instruments, and a double check on the course as taken, Lieut. Andrews, who had assisted in the plans and preparations for the flight, escorted the plane for about 150 miles.
At 5:30 a.m. the sun rose and seemed to bring with it a haze that covered the earth. Near the Sabine river at 7:05 a.m. clouds began to gather. The logging railroads of this territory were quite confusing.
While passing Middlefork, La., the clouds became so low that the plane was just clearing the tree tops. Also at this time the engine missed and sp[uttered for about 5 minutes due, it was thought, to some foreign substance in the gasoline line. This soon was cleared and the engine never faltered.
A climb of 2000 ft. thru the clouds gradually increasing to 3000 ft. Gliding through the clouds a ceiling of 500 ft. was found. A deviaton of five miles to the west had been made during this compass course. The wind had swung to the south and the course was changed to 30 (degrees).
From then on for about 800 miles between 20 and 30 rain storms were encountered taking from 3 to 20 minutes to fly thru them, but those more severe were flown around. This made it more difficult to check on the course, especially with a low ceiling, poor visibility and flying at 150 to 500 ft. altitude. Due to storms there was at one time a deviation of 30 miles from the course.
Starr City, Ark., was passed at 9:15 a.m.; Forrest City, Ark., at 10:15 a.m.; Mississippi River was crossed five times, the first at Carruthersville, Mo., and the last at Belmont, Mo., between 11:30 a.m. and 11:50 a.m.; the Ohio River was crossed at Metropolis, Ill., at 12:05 p.m.; and the Wabash River five miles near its mouth at 12:50 p.m.; Washington, Ind., passed at 1:25 p.m.; Spencer, Ind., at 1:50 p.m.; Indianapolis, Ind. At 2:20 p.m.; Muncie, Ind. At 2:55 p.m., Delphos, Ohio, at 3:20 p.m.; Toledo, Ohio, at 4:25 p.m. The Canadian Border was touched about one mikle from Gordon, Ontario, across from Trenton, Mich., at 4:49 p.m. central time, taking 11 hours and 29 minutes from Gulf to Border. The main tank supply gave out at 4:55 central time and the reserve was used for 20 minutes. Both mentally and physically fatigued, a landing at Selfridge Field was made at 5:15 p.m., making 11 hours and 55 minutes in the air.
The wind on this flight varied greatly, with a west wind at the start thru Texas and Louisiana; a south wind in Arkansas; a southeast wind in southern Indiana, and an east wind in the eastern part of this State. While approaching Toledo, Ohio, and on to Selfridge Field, head winds from the northeast were encountered.
It was found upon draining all tanks that there were 19 gallons of gasoline and 7 gallons of oil remaining, making an average hourly gasoline consumption of 20-3/4 gallons, while the oil showed 1.42 gallons per hour. A sample of the oil was taken to McCook Field for test.
On the return trip, stops were made at McCook Field, Ohio; Scott Field, Ill.; Muskogee, Okla.; the flight finished at Kelly Field, Texas, at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, June 2, 1923."
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., July 3, 1923
During the past week, there has been great aerial activity between Red and Blue forces at Selfridge. The Reds were usually the enemy invading the United States from Canada or being invaded. One side is represented by pilots flying out of the 27th and 95th and the other by the 94th and 17th. Each day some pilot is assigned the problem for the following day. He acts as umpire. Many valuable points are being developed. The activity in the air is totally eclipsed by the brilliant linguistic frats on the ground at the critique. Who shot down whom and why and the framing of alibis furnishes much conversation, and someone has to buy the drinks at the PX. Whoever pulls the biggest "boner" is elected.
The Grosse Pointe Horse Show attracted the attendance of several members of the Group last week, largely because General Mitchell had several entries.
It has become customary since the advent of the boat to take a trial run of about a mile each afternoon. The officers of the Group who so desired would go out for a swim in deep water. It was a delightful surprise to find that the water, which had about eighteen inches of ice all winter, could become as warm as it is.
Fishing continues to be not so good. Great hoards of May flies furnish too much natural food for any sensible fish to be attracted by artificial lure. Capt. Skeel saw a bass jump the other day. He cast and caught him. He fished hopefully for three more hours in the same spot, but no more fish.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., July 16, 1923
And the battle still rages. At that, though, Lieut. Tourtellet was mighty lucky. He and Lieut. Summers were returning from Minneapolis, where they had gone in a couple of MB3A's. In landing at Bryan, some of Turk's baggage jammed the elevator controls. Fortunately he was almost on the ground and in a stalling position. Result - landing gear spread open, ship turned somersault - complete washout. Pilot bumped his knees and received gasoline bath, which reminds us that Lieut. Matthews cracked up a Jenny at Bowling Green, Ohio. Said he tried to zoom a fence without enough power. She wouldn't zoom.
Speaking of enlightening experiences it behooves the writer to tell one on himself before someone else does. Proceeding along the road the other night with a fair companion we noticed a little beastie in the road ahead, stopped and identified same as one very young black and white "Polaris kittenensis." He, or it might have been she, looked very cute. Leastwise that was opinion expressed. The writer got out. The skunk looked very small and inoffensive. He appeared to want to back up instead of run away. His lack of fear inspired me to admit frankly that I was afraid of him. I feared also the mother might be about. I suspected perhaps he wasn't so young and innocent as he looked. Still, I had read somewhere that they were harmless when very young. Then was when we should have climbed in the car and made a wide detour. I thought maybe we could take him home, so nothing would do but to try him out. He behaved pretty well up to a certain point. Then all at once he forgot himself. We fled the scene. The scene - or should I saw the scent - followed us. We slipped by the sentry at the gate (I don't know if the sentry was scenting that well that night or not!) I stopped in front of my quarters to change clothes. There was a dog across the street which was well known to me and which had always been friendly. She failed to recognize me, the hair rose along her spine, she growled, tucked her tail between her legs and showed unmistakable signs of hostility. And all this from away across the street! Even after changing clothes it was hard to reconcile another dog into being friends. And the party we rejoined were not above passing nasty remarks about us, but he was "terribly cunning," she said!
Sergt. Pomeroy made a successful cross-country trip to Rochester, N.Y. and return in the Loening monoplane.
Major Royce and Lieut. Chauncey stopped over for a couple of days on the way to Brooks Field. The Group escorted them as far as Ann Arbor.
An informal dance is scheduled the evening of the 17th to welcome the incoming Reserve Officers. An intensive course of instruction has been mapped out for them, and it is intended to solo them all on MB3A's as soon as possible.
Wilbur Wright Field, Fairfield, Ohio, June 25, 1923
A squadron of four Martin Bombers, en route from Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Mich., to Kelly Field, Texas, stopped at Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot on Friday last. Three of the Bombers remained on this Field over Saturday, while the fourth continued on its way. The Squadron was commanded by Lieut. Peter Skance of Selfridge Field.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clements, Mich. July 24, 1923
Tuesday evening an informal dance was given to welcome the following class of Reserve Officers who arrived for summer training: 1st Lieuts. Carl N. Gess, John B. Copeland, Francis G. Barlow and Wm. A. Munn, and 2nd Lieuts. John E. Runchey, Jr., Bartholow Park, Theodore S.K. Reid, Carl N. Olson, and Geo. H. Helwig. Quite a number of people came out from town and apparently everyone had a good time.
The decorations deserve mention, especially the heating stove. Lieut. Stace has adopted the novel idea of wrapping it up in a disguise of bull rushes. (We have lots of bull rushes.) These give the stove the appearance of an overly plump maiden in Hawaiian grass costume and evoked various moth eaten remarks (garbled) mosses, etc.
Over the week end, a number of the Group, including one bachelor, drove up to Oscoda on a fishing trip. Major Spatz, it is said, drove fifty miles and walked ten to catch eight or nine smallest fish resembling sardines, but assuredly brook trout. Lieut. Frierson drove nonetly miles from the base for the same purpose and caught about half as many. Lieut. Hunter, whose return to the Group we now herald, stayed within a hundred yards of camp and caught the largest fish. Draw your own conclusions.
Dec. 21, 1923
Lieut. Hunter Suffers Fractured Back in Crash
Lieut. Frank O'D. Hunter, noted war pilot, with eight German planes to his credit, who is attached to the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mt, Clemens, Mich., is spending the winter in the General Hospital at Buffalo, N.Y., after suffering from a fractured back and a badly cut face. Hunter was returning to Selfridge Field from the flying carnival at Mitchel Field. After a number of narrow escapes and thrilling experiences, which included flying through snow storms and fog in the Alleghenies and flying above the clouds with a missing motor, Hunter was finally forced to seek a landing field expeditiously when his motor quit completely. In trying to effect a 90 deg. turn to land in an open space his airplane fell in a spin, resulting in the injuries. His spinal cord was uninjured, and the surgeons at Buffalo are confident of complete recovery.
Dec. 21, 1923
Condensed from article "Chicago Gives $15,000 to Army Relief Fund
Lieut. Benjamin A. McBride, flying at the Army Relief Society air carnival at Ashburn Field on Nov. 11, 1923, a member of the First Pursuit Group from Selfridge Field, lost his life early in the meet in a short tail spin from which he could not recover. Stunting at low altitude, he lost flying speed and fell. It is a pity. His crash took the edge off the Carnival, although no let-up was apparent to the spectators.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., Nov. 27
Mrs. B.R. McBride, widow of Lieut. McBride has left Selfridge Field and for the next few months will be with her parents at (address) Dallas, Texas.
Lieut. Russell Meredith whose leg was badly fractured last summer by the propeller of an airplane he was attempting to start, is gradually recovering. It is hoped that he will be moved from the Robinwood Hospital at Toledo within a week or so to the more congenial atmosphere of a military post.
The third annual 20-mile relay race was held on Thanksgiving Day. In this race, each organization of the group entered 80 men, each man running ¼ of a mile. The race was won in 1921 by the 95th Squadron, time 1 hr. 45 min., and in 1922 by the 95th Squadron, 2 hours, 10 minutes.
Mr. E.M. Haight, formerly with the Group, who resigned recently, purchased a Breguet airplane and has entered the field of commercial aviation.
The Group has been having considerable motor trouble recently, of which Lt. Hunter's was an instance. The carburetors fail to function in cold, damp weather, inasmuch as practically ever pilot while on cross-country has been forced to find a landing field hurriedly. This in a fast landing ship, under weather conditions permitting of only 500 feet altitude, presents quite a problem.
The 27th Squadron won the Group football championship this fall. The athletic year starts Thanksgiving Day and ends the Saturday before the following Thanksgiving Day. Each organization of the Group competes with teams in basketball, baseball and football. First place in any of these is awarded 1,000 points, second place, 500 points; third place 250 points. In addition, there is a track meet on Organization Day and a 20-mile relay race on Thanksgiving Day. In both of these events first place is awarded 500 points; second place, 250 points; and third place, 100 points. The 57th Service Squadron won first place in baseball and basketball, and second place in football, track and relay thereby winning the Group Athletic Championship for the 1922-23 athletic year with a total of 3,000 points.
Major Fred Coleman, formerly with the Group at Ellington Field, landed here last week on airways from Langley Field.
Jan. 19, 1924
Reserve officers at Selfridge Field recorded 35 hours, 35 minutes of flying time in November 1923.
Feb. 21, 1924
(Condensed from story: "Mechanics Chosen for World Flight"
Staff Sgt. Henry H. Ogden 57th Service Squadron, Selfridge Field, is one of four aviation mechanics selected for the Round-the-World Flight, to start from Los Angeles, March 15th next. They have been ordered to report immediately to Langley Field, Va., for intensified training in their respective duties.
Four other mechanics will soon be designated for the same training. From the eight, four will be chosen to accompany and care for the four planes to be used on the world-encircling flight, the remaining four being held available as alternates in case of sickness or accident.
Feb. 21, 1924
Reserve officers at Selfridge Field recorded 3 hours, 5 minutes of flying time in January 1924 and zero time in February 1924..
Jan. 30, 1925
The Dedication of Ford Field, Mich. By Tech. Sgt. X.L. Horn, A.S.
Henry Ford saw his first aerial circus on January 15th last, when a flight of Curtiss pursuit ships, piloted by Major T.G. Lanphier, Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, Lieuts. Hurd, Johnson, Bettis, Lyons, Mathews, Minty, Rich and Warner and Staff Sergeants Wasser, Manning and Wiseley, also a DeHaviland plane piloted by Lieut. Whitehead with Eddie Stinson as passenger and a "Jenny," piloted by Lieut. Ellis, with Mr. William Mara of the Detroit Board of Commerce as passenger, visited him at Ford Field, Dearborn, Michigan and were his guests at a luncheon.
"That's wonderful; I never saw anything like it before," the host remarked after the thrilling performance had been concluded and the fast pursuit ships had started into the mist on the return trip to Selfridge Field, Michigan.
The visit was in the nature of a dedication of the new field, which was opened several months ago, but on which no Army fliers had ever landed. It was also in the nature of an introduction of Army and Commercial aviation and of Army pilots to those in civil life who are vitally interested in the welfare and future of air commerce.
Harvey S. Firestone, Ford's intimate friend; William B. Mayo, his chief engineer; Ernest G. Kanzier, Second Vice President of the Ford Motor Company; W.H. Smith, Ford Research Engineer; William J. Cameron, Editor of the Dearborn Independent; William B. Stout, Stanley E. Knauss, George Prudden and George Hoppin, all of the Stout Metal Airplane Company located on the field, were the other guests at the luncheon served in the dining room just back of the new experimental laboratory at Dearborn.
After the luncheon the Army fliers, Ford and his guests inspected the Stout Metal Airplane factory where quantity production of the Stout Air Pullman type of all-metal plane is in progress. At the luncheon the conversation was decidedly in the air. It was pointed out to Mr. Ford and his guests that the total number of fighting pursuit ships now available for the defense of the United States is regrettably small. In discussing the standing of the United States in aircraft, Ford was told that other countries have hundreds of such ships as those with which the First Pursuit Group is now supplied.
"I know," he said, "but the brains are over here and they are all working." And who is there to deny him?
One of the Curtiss ships was equipped with skis, exciting much curiosity and discussion. During the luncheon Mr. Ford turned to Mr. Firestone, who was seated near him, and laughingly remarked: "Well, Harvey, these wooden skis are going to hurt your business unless you think up a formula for a hard rubber one." Which facetiousness caused Mr. Planck, of the Detroit Free Press, to remark somewhat later on after an expansive sigh, "Well, Mrs. Ford certainly is a good cook."
Mr. Ford proved to a a very congenial and entertaining host and insisted upon having his picture taken with the generals, as he called the visiting pilots. "You see," said Mr. Ford, "I don't understand all those little funny things you wear on your shoulders and collars, so by calling all army men generals and all Navy men admiral, I am forgiven."
Mr. Ford is deeply interested in aviation, both civil and military, and has extended a personal invitation to all Army pilots to land on his field at any time.
The building of Ford Field was but a matter of days. It is said that Mr. Ford with his chief engineer, Mr. Mayo, were one day looking over the ground when Mr. Ford suddenly remarked: "Well, Mayo, we'll have an aviation field here next week." There was. The next day men, tractors, graders and other necessary machinery were hard at work, and within a week the whole field was practically completed. The field is smooth and large enough to accommodate any type of ship and its facilities are excellent.
Aviation, both civil and military, belongs to the same great family and it is essential that between the two there be created an esprit de corps, unbreakable and lasting through the ages. Flights like this will do much to establish this esprit de corps by impressing upon a rather thoughtless public the dire need for the best and greatest air service in the world.
Jan. 30, 1925
Australian Air Force Officer Inspects Selfridge Field
Wing Commander Richard Williams, of the Australian Air Force, recently paid a visit to Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich. According to our Correspondent, Commander Williams, with round and speculative eyes, gazed and admired the wonders of the Air Service and the First Pursuit Group. He unofficially inspected the hangars and equipment and was much impressed with the new Curtiss Pursuit ships, type PW-8, which he said are very similar to those now used in his department.
In commenting on the visit of this officer from the far distant land of Australia, our Correspondent, no doubt referring to the absence in this publication of news items pertaining to Selfridge Field, states that although the field has long remained silent, modesty has proven a virtue. We believe "It pays to advertise" is a better slogan.
Jan. 30, 1925
The Joys of Service at Selfridge Field
It is quite some time since we heard from Selfridge Field. We started looking over back files of News Letters to find out when the field was last mentioned in its columns, but gave up the job in despair. We were surprised to receive at this time a contribution to our columns, which we assure our Correspondent, Technical Sergeant X.L. Horn, 17th Pursuit Squadron, is, indeed, welcome.
Sergeant Horn starts off his contribution with some comments on the joys of living at Selfridge Field, and states:
"To the average onlooker who stands enthralled while some careless, yawning son of the Air Service plunges downward through space, a nose dive is spectacular. So it is with this literary dive, so to speak, of ours. Its advent should be spectacular, but to those of you who have long contributed, you'll find in it little of the exceptional. Therefore, gather around all ye, the uninitiated, and hark ye well to the songs we sing and the tales we tell -
Tales of a place where one may know the joys and sorrows of the frozen North; the tropic lethargy of the Polynesian Islands; where in the quiet of an early morning one may grin as a duck comes tumbling down or feel chagrin at a clumsy miss where one may feel the exultation that comes only with the sight of a well filled trap; where one may swim in soft blue water or ride its surface in motor boat and canoe, above fish that have no enemies and beg for your hook and a place on your table; where in the winter all the sports of St. Moritz are yours for the asking, skating galore and ice-boating that brings a thrill equaled, when one skims over the ice with the speed of a comet, by nothing else in the world; where the whole year through every sport is played and fought in season. Hark ye well and envy."
Now that our Correspondent has broken into print, we hope we will hear from him often.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., January 7th:
Desiring a relief from office routine and formation flying, the Commanding Officer, Major Lanphier, with five of his intrepid flyers, Captain Tillinghast, 1st Lieuts. Hunter, Johnson, Bettis and 2nd Lieut. Minty, hied themselves to the hangars and iin a few minutes were roaring through the foggy space in Curtiss Pursuits bound for McCook Field for test purposes. They left Selfridge on Jan. 5th and returned on the 7th.
The Post basket ball season was opened on January 5th with a game between the 17th and 27th Pursuit Squadrons, the 17th emerging from the chaos breathless, smiling and with the big end of a 32-8 score. The next night the 27th played the 95th Pursuit Squadron and lost again, 32-11. At least the 27th are consistent in holding their opponents to the same number of points. On the 7th, the 17th and 94th Pursuit Squadrons played a hard and fast game and it was not until the final whistle that the 17th could feel the least satisfied with a two point margin, the final score being 22-20.
This year's schedule calls for 15 games. Five games are played each week in Post gymnasium and are refereed by Mr. George Cobb of Mount Clemens, who gives perfect satisfaction.
The teams represented are the Headquarters, 57th Service Squadron, 17th, 27th, 94th and 95th Pursuit Squadrons. One may always expect plenty of action when soldier teams get together for inter-squadron fray, for they play hard and think nothing of barrel-rolling an opponent or of losing a few yards of their own or someone else's epidermis.
No stars of exceptional brilliance have as yet made their appearance on this year's horizon with the possible exception of "Bloody Ike" Blodika, the big husky fighting center of the 17th team. As a scoring machine, he is in a class by himself, being of such strength that he often makes seemingly impossible baskets with opponents hanging pendant-like from each well muscled arm.
Yet we fear for his safety - some day he is liable to get mad and fling an opponent and ball together through the basket.
Feb. 14, 1925
Airplane Delivers Mail to Isolated Communities
As we have had occasion to remark at various times previously, the airplane is ever equal to the emergency. Two towns in Michigan, located on the extreme points in that part of the state known as the "Thumb" were snowbound and had not received mail for about ten days. Port Huron, Mich., sent an S.O.S. call to Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., requesting that a plane be sent there equipped to carry mail to Bad Axe and Harbor Beach, the towns in question.
Lieut. Johnson received the assignment, and with Sergeant Dwyer of the 57th Service Squadron as a passenger, flew a D.H., equipped with skis to Port Huron and landed on the St. Clair River. Here the plane was loaded with some 400 pounds of mail, which was dropped at the towns mentioned, the airmen returning to Selfridge Field the same evening.
To the pilot and his mechanic the trip was nothing unusual, except that it meant work and discomfort from the cold weather. To Port Huron it was the salvation of civic pride, and to the fortunate and unfortunate of Bad Axe and Harbor Beach, who received "Lots of Love" or "Please Remit" missives, that ship was an Angel from Heaven.
Feb. 14, 1925
Selfridge Pilots Photograph Eclipse
The First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., played a very important part in the photographing of the eclipse of the sun on Jan. 24th for Detroit papers. Two DeHavilands, one piloted by Lieut. Johnson, with Mr. H.V. Wilcox of the reportorial staff of the Detroit News as passenger, and the other by Lieut. Rich, with William A. Kuenzel, staff photographer of the same newspaper as passenger, were used as the mediums for obtaining permanent views of this phenomenon. Atop a cloud bank 19,000 feet above Lake Huron, the total eclipse of the sun was viewed and photographed.
From a seat some four miles above the mist-hidden water of Lake Huron the airmen saw a hurricane of shadow sweep from the west at the rate of 200 miles an hour and the sky suddenly became a majestic velvet dome of deep blue, in which myriad of stars twinkled with cheerful radiance. During the minute and a half of total eclipse it was not totally dark above the clouds. The universe seemed blue rather than black, clouds could be traced and the planes were visible to each other because of the flame darting from their thundering exhausts. During these same 90 seconds of total eclipse the planes had become drenched with dew. On the return trip to Selfridge Field, as the pilots plunged downward into the clouds, this moisture froze and partially clogged the controls with ice, and it was only b exerting their utmost strength that they were able to guide their ships back safely.
After two hours of frozen solitude, part of which time one was seldom conscious of the roar of the motor, land was again sighted and the pilots found themselves, due to irresistable winds of a terrific velocity, sweeping in contrary directions and different altitudes over a point in Canada north of Georgian Bay.
Gasoline was running low and there was approximately 75 miles to be flown to reach Selfridge Field. The home stretch became a desperate race to avoid forced landings in the deep snow and uncharted wilds of Ontario. Lieut. Rich, more fortunate than his brother officer, won his race by a breathless margin, while Lieut. Johnson was forced down near Camlachi. Here he was given swift and generous help by the farmers, who supplied him with all gasoline available, about 20 gallons, which allowed him to glide to safety at Selfridge just as the last drops trickled into the good old Liberty.
Feb. 14, 1925
Society of Automotive Engineers Discuss Commercial Aviation
Major Lanphier, Captain Tillinghast and Lieuts. Hurd, Johnson, Ellis, Mathews, Minty and Rich were guests of the Packard Motor Company at the aviation session of the Society of Automotive Engineers in the General Motor Building at Detroit, Mich., on the afternoon of January 20th.
Mr. L.M. Woolson, of the Packard Motor Company, read a very interesting paper on the new Packard 1500 and 2500 Motors, using slides and parts of the motors to illustrate his talk.
Mr. Stout, of the Stout All Metal Airplane Company of Detroit, then discussed at length the commercial air possibilities in America, stressing the point that aviation must be made self-supporting and independent of all government aid or subsidy.
At the conclusion of the session the Selfridge Field officers were given the opportunity of examining the all-metal airship now being built in Detroit. After this inspection they were furnished complimentary tickets and were escorted to the Detroit Automobile Show.
There is growing up a wonderful relation between the commercial and military air interests in this section of the country, due in great measure to the untiring efforts of Major Lanphier, who is doing everything in his power to foster interest in the Air Service in general and to bring about hearty cooperation between its many and varied branches. The trip of the officers to Detroit was made upon voluntary invitation of the Packard Motor Company, they having sent closed Packard cars with chauffeurs to Selfridge Field and placed them at the disposal of the officers for the day.
Detroit is very much interested in the retention of Selfridge Field at its present site. The Detroit Chamber of Commerce is doing everything in its power to make it a permanent field worthy of housing the flower of Uncle Sam's air fleet, as our Correspondent puts it, and hardly a week passes that the officers do not receive invitations to Detroit as guests of commercial and civil organizations.
Feb. 14, 1925
Lieut. Warner Dies From Injuries Received in Crash
Into hangar nine at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., between two lines of rigidly saluting officers, was borne a flag-draped casket containing the remains of 2nd Lieut. Duane G. Warner, United States Air Service. Slowly the organizations of the field filed in and stood with uncovered heads while the last sad words that marked the parting of a soldier, friend and gentleman were said. Then over the casket a bugler blew taps and, borne back by winter winds, the echo, faint but distinct, murmured G-o-o-d B-y-e.
The casket was carried away by loving hands, and to those of us who remain to carry on the work that must not cease remains only the treasured memory of another martyr to the fickle Gods of Flight.
Second Lieutenant Duane G. Warner, attached for duty with the 27th Pursuit Squadron, died at Saint Josephs Sanitarium, Mount Clemens, Michigan, Friday, January 23rd, from injuries received when his plane, a Curtiss Pursuit PW-8, crashed on the ice of Lake St. Clair on January 19th.
Lieut. Warner was born in Hampton, Conn., March 8, 1899. He enlisted as a private October 8, 1918 and on October 7, 1921 was sent as a cadet to Carlstrom Field, Fla., for training. He graduated April 17, 1922, and was sent to the First Pursuit Group, then at Ellington Field for advance training. Lieut. Warner graduated as a pursuit pilot on December 21st of that year and on July 8, 1924, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field.
Lieut. Warner loved to fly and, at the time of his death, had 974 hours and 20 minutes flying time to his credit.
Feb. 14, 1925
Selfridge Field Talent Before the Microphone
Without a doubt Selfridge Field is finding its place in the sun. The Selfridge Field Minstrels, presented by Chaplain Charles O. Purdy, Group Athletic Officer, and directed by Mr. L.A. Ruttan of Detroit, broadcasted several of their numbers from the new station of the Detroit Free Press, located on the 30th floor of the new Book-Cadillac Hotel.
"Rather incredulous," states our Correspondent, "we all tuned in and waited. That they surprised us is putting it mildly, for they gave us the best entertainment on the program. Sergeant Leffingwell sang 'Who Cares' and was promptly made a Colonel by the announcer. Frankly, we were very skeptical and expected the whole thing to be a grand fizzle - but it wasn't. Below is an excerpt from a letter written to Colonel Leffingwell by ex-Staff Sergeant Arthur Beals, now with the State Troopers in Lansing:
'When some one announced that you were going to sing, I picked up my radio in my arms to throw it through a window, then, for old times sake I decided to listen in. I am glad I did. You and the bunch were excellent and I wish you all the success in the world with the minstrels.'"
Feb. 14, 1925
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., Jan. 31st
On the night of January 30th the Selfridge Field Minstrels gave their first presentation in the War Department Theatre. The show was warmly received by soldier and civilian alike, and we predict success. Sgt. Williams more commonly known as BayRum Bill, gave us many laughs as the Irish comedian but the evening's prize must be presented to Private McDonald, of the 27th Pursuit Squadron, who in a character of a somewhat goofy aspect caused us continued merriment. The show is to be presented in Mt. Clemens and surrounding towns just as soon as a few of the high-brows get the kinks out of their respective equanimities.
Immediately after the minstrel, the post basketball team played the Board of Commerce team from New Baltimore. The final score was close and, due to excellent guarding on both sides, was rather small, same being 17 to 10 in favor of Selfridge. The game was fast and replete with thrills. Hangar nine was crowded to the doors with soldiers and civilians for the first time this winter.
April 2, 1925
The Selfridge Field Flight to Miami
The most outstanding feature of this flight was the fact that for the first time in the history of aeronautics twelve planes flew 2900 miles at an average speed of 130 miles an hour.
Major Thomas G. Lanphier, Commanding Officer of the Flight, submitted a brief story of the flight, many features of which were overlooked by the press, owing to the much published dawn to dusk features of the flight. Major Lanphier states that while in Washington the Chief of Air Service expressed the desire that the flight should again be attempted and a second attempt may be made in April so that it would not interfere with any part of the training program of the First Pursuit Group. As the days are becoming longer it is believed that with favorable weather no difficulty would be experienced in getting the planes through in one day.
The pilots participating in the flight, in addition to Major Lanphier, were Lieuts. Thomas K. Matthews, T.E. Tillinghast, Cyrus Bettis, J. Thad Johnson, Alfred J. Lyon, Sam L. Ellis, Russell L. Meredith, Leland C. Hurd, E.V. Whitehead, Clyde K. Rich and R.J. Minty.
The total lapse of time for the flight was eight days. The planes were in the air four days of this time. There was one day's rest at Macon, Ga., one at Miami, Florida, one at Langley Field, V.a, and one at Washington D.C.
Never before in the history of aeronautics have so many planes undertaken such great distances and accomplished them in such a short space of time. The total flying time for the twelve planes between Detroit and Miami, a distance of 1300 miles, was 9 ½ hours, showing that had the proper facilities been provided at the stopping points the trip could easily have been made during the daylight hours of one day.
One of the remarkable facts demonstrated by this flight was the reliability of the modern airplane. The planes used in this flight were the latest type Pursuit plane which this Government owns. They are called the Curtiss Pursuit plane, built in the summer of 1924 and delivered to the Government in August last.
Major Lanphier's story of the flight is as follows:
Twelve planes of the First Pursuit Group stationed at Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Mich., completed at four o'clock Monday afternoon, March 9, 1925, the longest flight ever made by that number of planes. The total distance covered by these planes was 2,840 miles. The distance was covered in 21 hours and 55 minutes flying time.
These plans took off from Selfridge Field on the morning of February 28th just before dawn and landed at Wilbur Wright Field, Fairfield, Ohio, over 200 miles distant, in 1 hour and 30 minutes. The only serious mishap of the flight took place at this field when in landing the landing gear of Lieut. Whitehead's plane struck a road and the plane was so damaged it was necessary to send for replacement in order for him to continue the trip.
Some delay was experienced at Dayton in getting the planes started owing to the extreme cold weather, the temperature being at that time 16 degrees above zero. The departure from Dayton was made at 10:55 and the flight was headed for Macon, Georgia, over a new route connecting Dayton with the South.
After leaving the Ohio River the country over which the planes flew became very rough and in Tennessee very mountainous. The route chosen by the flight took it around the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee through passes on both sides of which high mountains extended far above the altitude at which the planes were flying. The atmosphere on this part of the flight was very hazy due to low barometric pressure and dense smoke which was caused by numerous forest fires in the mountains in that vicinity. The flight on this part of the trip was blazing a new trail. None of the pilots had ever flown over that section of the country. Georgia from the air presents one of the most forbidding landscapes for an aviator than practically any State in the Union. There is very little level country in the northern part of the state and practically all of the land is heavily wooded. Landing fields between the Ohio River and Macon, Ga., were so rare as to be almost negligible. Owing to the fact that distinctive landmarks, for instance railroads, were very few in that section of the country the compass course was flown almost exclusively. The last real check which the flight had was on the Tennessee River. After leaving that river it was necessary to rely upon the compass almost entirely until reaching Macon, Ga.
When the vicinity of Macon was reached no distinguishing landmarks appeared which could give the pilots assurance that they were near Macon. Therefore, in order to make certain that no time would be lost, the Flight Commander landed and found that the flight was within 40 miles of Macon and practically on its course. Some twenty minutes was lost on this account. While the Flight Commander was on the ground the remainder of the flight circled in formation overhead. The flight was immediately resumed and landed at Macon at four o'clock.
During this entire leg of the flight head winds were encountered at all altitudes up to 8,000 feet. For a great part of the flight it was found that between 6,000 and 8,000 feet the head winds were not so strong and therefore, that altitude was maintained until the haze became so thick it was necessary to descend to a lower altitude in order to keep in contact with the ground.
Owing to the lateness of the hour of landing at Macon and the fact that the field at Miami was unknown to everyone except the Flight Commander, and also in view of the fact that heavy rains were reported in southern Georgia and northern Florida, it was decided to remain over at Macon and not attempt to continue the flight, which would have necessitated flying at night during the last part of the flight and landing at a strange field after dark. This decision was arrived at by the Flight Commander after considering the above facts and feeling the responsibility that the lives of the men who were with him rested in his hands and that he could not excuse himself for any undue risk that they might undergo by landing at Miami after dark.
The next day, being Sunday, was employed in tuning up the planes and getting them ready for the remainder of the trip. The flight took off from Macon at 9:30 a.m. Monday, March 2nd, and made excellent progress owing to the fact that a strong north wind was blowing at 3,000 feet. In fact, the first hour out of Macomb the flight covered 215 miles.
At Jacksonville, Florida, the weather began to get thick. The course of the flight from Jacksonville led over St. Augustine to the Atlantic Coast, thence down the coast to Miami, At Daytona a severe rain was encountered, forcing the planes down to an altitude of 200 feet, and from that point to Palm Beach the planes were flying continuously in a heavy tropical downpour. At Palm Beach the weather cleared and when we sighted Miami, 3 hours and 30 minutes after we had taken off from Macon, the skies were clear and the much boasted sunshine of Southern Florida was smiling on that city. After maneuvering for a short time over the City of Miami the flight landed at Hialeah Field, Miami.
Upon landing the pilots were immediately received by a committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Miami and also a committee representing the City of Detroit, headed by Commodore Schantz and Gar Wood of that city. The pilots were immediately taken to the Jockey Club nearby, given a luncheon and invited to attend the races.
Our stay at Miami was most delightful. Everything possible was done for our entertainment. We attended a dinner dance at the Gables Country Club on Monday night. On Tuesday, after devoting the morning to working on our ships and getting them in shape for the return flight, some of the officers attended the races in the afternoon and some went for a speed boat ride in Gar Wood's "Baby Gar." In the evening we attended a jai-lai game. Afterwards we attended a cabaret and dance.
On Tuesday morning, telegraphic orders were received from the Chief of Air Service directing the flight to proceed to Augusta, Georgia, on Wednesday and from there to Langley Field, Va., on Thursday, March 5th, in order to be present for an anti-aircraft demonstration to be held at Langley Field on the 6th.
Much loath to leave Miami, the flight took off from Hialeah Field at twelve o'clock March 4th. After forming, the twelve planes maneuvered over the City of Miami and Miami Beach and thirty minutes later headed north for Augusta, Ga., along the beach. At Daytona, Lieut. Rich developed slight motor trouble and landed. The rest of the flight continued on to Augusta and landed here after being four hours in the air. The distance covered on this leg was 550 miles. The stay at Augusta afforded the pilots an opportunity to rest after their strenuous time at Miami. The flight waited the next day until twelve o'clock for Lieut. Rich, who landed at that time. His ship was immediately serviced and the flight took off for Langley Field at one o'clock.
During this part of the flight from Augusta to Langley Field, probably the most severe flying conditions were encountered. After leaving Fayetteville, N.C. the planes were forced down by rain and low clouds to just over the tree tops. This condition grew worse as the flight approached the James River and Suffolk, Va. The planes were forced down to just above the smokestacks and buildings while passing over that town. The flight arrived at Langley Field about five o'clock. They came in over the hangars in formation much to the surprise of everyone at the field who believed it impossible for the Group to get through the storm which was raging at that place. During this whole flight a strong head wind was encountered which cut down the speed of the planes to approximately 100 miles per hour.
On the morning of Mach 6th, the flight proceeded to Bolling Field, D.C., and after resting over Sunday, took off on Monday morning at ten thirty for home. After forming over Bolling Field, the flight maneuvered over Washington for some twenty minutes and then headed off over the Potomac River in the direction of Pittsburgh the weather became thick and the planes were again forced down to the tree tops and from there until Toledo was reached were forced to fly in heavy rains and fog. From Toledo to Mount Clemens the weather cleared. This flight was conducted by 14 planes. Of the two planes in addition to the twelve that were with the flight, one was forced to land at Attica, Ohio, and the other at Toledo because of motor trouble. The original twelve plans came home without mishap.
April 2, 1925
First Pursuit Group Winter Maneuvers, by Tech. Sgt. X.L. Horn.
These maneuvers were based on the assumption that the United States was at war and, for clarity of purpose, the opposing armies will herein be called the Red and the Blues, the United States being the Blues.
The Red forces, consisting of at least one complete army and one composite Wing of Bombardment and Pursuit Aviation, exact strength unknown, had occupied the upper peninsula of Michigan, their objective being the occupation of Michigan and they had established their airdrome of Brevoort Lake.
The Blues had an army in the field, the general line being Traverse City, Grayling, West Branch and Standish, Mich. One Wing (Pursuit) was located at Selfridge Field and an advance airdrome, to be occupied by the First Pursuit Group, was to be established near Oscoda, Michigan. The Second and Third Pursuit Groups had established their airdrome and occupied Grayling, Mich., while a Bombardment Squadron, attached to the Wing, operated from Bay City, Mich.
The First Pursuit Group, from the advance airdrome at Oscoda, Mich., was charged with the destruction of the enemy Pursuit and Bombardment Aviation and with the destruction of the enemies lines of communication and advance.
The First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich., received orders on Feb. 11 to establish their advance airdrome near Oscoda. First Lieut. E.C. Whitehead, Group Engineering Officer, left for Oscoda immediately in a DH with a mechanic, and selected the frozen surface of Lake Van Etten as a landing field and secured the southern shore facilities for housing the Group. Personnel were selected and supplies drawn and two bombing planes and several DeHavilands were secured to transport personnel and supplies.
Friday morning, February 13th, two cooks and mess supplies sufficient for a five-day period were loaded into the Curtiss Bomber and flown to Oscoda. The Bomber was followed by several DeHavilands containing additional personnel and supplies, including a complete radio receiving and sending set and two radio operators, and that evening a regular army camp had been established and was making ready to receive the Group. The radio set was installed the next day, Saturday, and connection made with Selfridge. All day Saturday and Sunday, Bombers and DeHavilands made continual trips between Selfridge and Oscoda so that by Monday, February 16th, everything was in readiness to receive the fast Curtiss pursuit ships that were to repulse the mythical enemy.
In the meantime the Pursuit planes from Selfridge selected for the maneuvers had landed on the ice of Lake St. Clair where the wheels were removed and the ships filled with duralumin skis for the landing on the ice of Lake Van Etten. Moderate weather on Monday morning brought many visitors to our camp at Lake Van Etten. Mechanics rushed about, fires were started under two large gas drums filled with water, oil was heated, and two sleds were loaded with full has drums and hauled to a point on the ice where they would be handy for servicing the ships. Out of apparent chaos came order and when at about 10:30 the ships were sighted, mere specks on the horizon, everything was ready to receive them. Flying in V formation, a perfect echelon, they swooped down over the crowd, their engines roaring and their skis looking like big web feet of some giant pre-historic amphibian. The ships circled the lake, landed in threes and taxied to about fifty feet of the shore, where they were immediately aligned, inspected and serviced by the waiting crews. A few minor repairs were found to be necessary, Lieut. Johnson's ship requiring a new expansion tank which was radioed for and was received that afternoon.
Immediate preparations were made by Major Lanphier to attack the Red forces. Operations orders were issued that evening by the Field Operations Officer at Oscoda, diving the Group into three Squadrons and outlining operations against the Reds for the next day. The Group was ordered to leave the airdrome at dawn Tuesday, February 17th, and to attack and straff Red ground troops supposedly crossing the ice of the Straits of Mackinac with machine guns and Cooper bombs and to be prepared to repel any attack by the Red air force. Each plane was ordered to carry 5 Cooper bombs, 400 rounds of .30 caliber tracer and armor piercing, and 250 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.
Monday night brought a radical change in the weather. Instead of the soft summer breezes and cheery sun of Monday, Tuesday dawned bitterly cold and blustery. Considerable difficulty was experienced in starting the ships. Two oil tanks burst, which necessitated holding these ships on the ground until replacement could be obtained from Selfridge, a matter of some five hours, but too long to permit their being sent on that day's objective. It was at this juncture that Private 1st Class Rogers, of the 57th Service Squadron, saved the day, thereby gaining much personal publicity and a certain place in the sun, by successfully solving the very difficult problem of getting the ships started on time in the disagreeable weather. Filling a blow torch with ether he squirted it into the manifold between the fingers of a heavily-gloved hand held tightly over the top of the manifold while two men pulled the prop through. It worked to perfection and proved a lesson well learned, for no more trouble was experienced regardless of the cold.
The flight took off in the face of a cruel and biting northwesterly8 wind that came down across the lake and went through our clothes as if they were so much cheese cloth. But the Red menace crossing the strait must be destroyed so, presuming that Red ground troops were delayed awaiting the protection of their planes, the fast Blue pursuit found them midway across the straits. Almost wholly unprotected, for the severe weather at Brevoort Lake had held most of the Red plans on the ground, the Red troops were quickly routed and, where once had been a vast expanse of ice there no remained nothing but black troubled waters floating great chunks of jagged whiteness.
The flight lasted one hour and ten minutes, a period of insufferable cold which despite heavy fur lined flying suits, stiffened arms and legs and bit through the chamois face masks.
Upon return to the airdrome the ships were immediately gone over. Another oil tank was found to be unserviceable but it was repaired and used until one could be obtained from Selfridge. Aside from this one oil tank the ships were in perfect condition and were immediately serviced and the Group held on alert.
In the evening, after discussion of the day's problem, an operations order was issued for the following day directing the Group to attack the Red pursuit at dawn near the vicinity of Brevoort Lake, but early Wednesday morning a radio was received stating that Red pursuit had been sighted along the northern lake shore of the southern peninsula near the vicinity of Thunder Bay. The pursuit planes immediately took off for this point, to be followed by four DeHavilands and two bombers with supplies and mechanics in order to allow the establishment of a temporary airdrome at this point in case of extensive operations.
The Red pursuit was engaged over Alpena, Michigan, and soon sent scurrying back to the protection of their airdrome. The Bombers and DeHavilands unloaded their mechanics and supplies and the Pursuit ships were serviced that evening on the ice of Thunder Bay some forty miles north of their advance airdrome on Lake Van Etten.
It was here at Alpena that the pilots and mechanics of the First Pursuit Group received an entertainment royal. The Alpena Chamber of Commerce outdid themselves in entertaining the service men. Every facility in town was placed at their disposal. The William F. Weine Post No. 65 of the American Legion were hosts at a banquet to the Pilots and mechanics and the Alpena Rotary Club. The Group was welcomed to Alpena by Major Ralph B. Henning, commander of the Legion Post; Lieut. Clarence A. Lawrence, an Air Service Reserve Officer and the Honorable Carl R. Henry, who acted as toastmaster at the banquet. Major Lanphier talked to the 300 business men who attended and introduced his pilots and mechanics as "the men who fly the darn things" and "the men who make them run."
Early Thursday morning the visitors returned to Oscoda where they were given a royal welcome by hundreds of visitors, for Oscoda and the surrounding country had declared an aviation holiday. Schools were closed and school buses unloaded wildly clamoring children who rushed gaily about plastering any and all with snow balls. This was the only time during the maneuvers that the mechanics found it difficult to keep their minds solely on planes, for it was hard to resist returning the compliment when some starry-eyed, pink cheeked, young school girl picked you for a target. The big looming hulk of a bomber means work and good looking and vivacious school girls are interesting, so who is there to blame the mechanics if the Bombers were neglected for a time? And then, the Red forces with their army and aviation had been driven from the country, peace had been declared and the Group was to return to Selfridge on Friday.
The maneuvers had been successful against the mythical invading forces. They had operated extensively and successfully in the dead of winter away from warm hangars and endless supplies, away from the things that are supposed to be so absolutely necessary to the morale of men. They had operated on the icy surface of a distant northern lake where mechanics had to wear ice creepers strapped to their boots before they could get a foothold sufficient to pull a prop through. The pilots had battled an imaginary enemy a hundred and twenty miles north of their advance airdrome in freezing temperatures that number their hands and cracked their lips.
Ships and men performed their mission and proved that they could operate against an enemy hundreds of miles distant from their home base with no connection except by air. They proved that the modern plane can be called upon to perform its maximum duty anywhere, whether it might be in Timbuctoo or Iceland.
Aeronautical research we might call it, for this is what it is in fact - a search for the things that aviation can do, and they are many. How much these maneuvers and the many others that are in progress and contemplated will mean can only be told by the very reticent God of the future.
Part II of this article will be published in the next issue.
April 2, 1925
Bomber Loses Aileron Control, by Tech. Sgt. X.L. Horn
While returning on March 3rd to Selfridge Field with the last of the men and supplies from the Oscoda maneuvers of the First Pursuit Group, Captain Henry Pascale, A.S., of Wilbur Wright Field, piloting a Martin Bomber, carrying four enlisted men and about 1400 pounds of freight, was forced down near Unionville, Michigan, due to the failure of the control column.
Earlier that morning Captain Pascale had taken off from Selfridge in the face of a strong wind from the South and Southwest and made the trip to Oscoda without mishap in an hour and 20 minutes. Landing at Oscoda, the ship was immediately loaded with freight. One of the enlisted men was placed in the front cockpit and two in the rear, Corporal Henslee, of the 57th Service Squadron, acting as mechanic. The take-off was made into a 30 to 40 mile wind still blowing from the South and Southwest.
"Regardless of the load," said Captain Pascale in referring to this trip, "I experienced no difficulty in getting off. The air was so rough and gusty that I at once decided to take no chances in crossing Saginaw Bay between (garbled) Point and Fish Point, a distance of some 40 miles where, due to the very weak ice, a forced landing would probably result in the payment of several Adjusted Compensation Bonus Claims and a survey of one perfectly good bomber and some 1400 pounds of Government property. Close to the shore the ice was sufficiently thick to serve as an excellent landing field, so I followed the Western shore of the Bay to the lower end where I crossed and turned the nose of the ship directly to the wind towards home.
"All of this time I was forced to fight sudden gusts of wind which kept forcing down one wing and then the other. The shop for all its size and load was tossing about like a leaf. Neither Corporal Henslee nor myself could see the two men in the rear cockpit, and from the occasional glance I caught of the man in the front cockpit I judged that he was sick.
"The ground a few miles north of Selfridge Field to Saginaw Bay is very rough and, due to the smallness of the few fields sufficiently level for landing, a forced landing might easily result in serious accident. I think I must have thought of all this in a sort of subconscious way several times before, though it seems a very conscious thought now.
"Just South of the Bay, about five miles we hit some unusually rough spots, three in rapid succession, each following immediately upon the other. I must have had about 1,200 feet altitude at the time when I sensed more than felt the ship slip to one side and observed one wing down at about an angle of 45 degrees. I thought nothing of this however, and immediately gave the wheel a turn to bring the wing up. The turn of the wheel brought no corresponding response from the wing and I was still slipping. I grasped the wheel harder and gave it another turn but nothing happened to check my increased descent. Something was radically wrong. I have the wheel a spin and sat there for an infinitestimal part of a second while it revolved crazily beneath my hands. 'While there is altitude, there is hope,' according to the Air Service maxim, and I immediately kicked opposite rudder. Then by gunning the motor on the low side and throttling the motor on the top side I managed at last to level out. As any sort of a crash meant demolishing the nose of the ship, I made a sign to Corporal Henslee to get the man out of the front cockpit.
"Corporal Henslee did his work well, for I soon noticed the sick man was seated in Henslee's lap. The wind was forcing me to gun and throttle first one motor and then the other to keep level, and I knew I had to land without delay.
"We were just north of a little village we later found to be Unionville, Mich., and over land that appeared to be an intricate lace work of small hills and gullies dotted with endless trees and charred stumps. I was fast losing altitude for the ship had nosed down, but by some trick of a kind fate I saw coming up to meet us three small fields, about 1250 yards long. Each field was fenced, and on the northern end were several trees which would force me to put the ship into an even steeper dive if I was to set her down just over the first fence. I couldn't possibly stop in one field, but I knew that with the heavy load I could probably roll through one fence at least without much damage unless the fences were much stronger than they appeared. I was a busy pilot between figuring distance to a mathematical certainty and in gunning and throttling the two motors in order to keep the ship level. I should have had more than two hands. Still, odd though it seems, I remember Corporal Henslee sitting there beside me with the sick man in his lap, chewing gum and entirely unperturbed. Riveting my attention to the task at hand I cut my switches and managed to get the ship down just over the first fence. As I had plenty of speed and the ground was level, the ship rolled along, crashing through the second fence as though it were nothing at all, and stopped still and quiet just short of the third. Accustomed to the roar of the motors, the almost absolute quietness was striking, and we suddenly removed into another world.
Unbuckling my belt and removing my parachute I began an immediate inspection to locate the cause of the trouble and found that the four small pins holding the gear to the main control tube had sheared cleanly, allowing the wheel to rotate without action of the ailerons. Further inspection of the ship proved that the fence through which we had rolled had caused little damage, a few rips in the fabric and a broken aileron horn being the sum total.
Corporal Henslee got the men out of the plane and we walked to a nearby farm house, around the door of which stood the occupants evidently wondering what sort of thing had so suddenly dropped down upon their farm. The farmer greeted us cordially and placed his home at our disposal. I immediately got in touch with the Selfridge Field and was told a DeHaviland would leave immediately with the necessary repairs and an additional mechanic. The ship arrived that afternoon and the next day I finished the flight to Selfridge none the worse for wear and everyone safe and sound. And that's that."
April 20, 1925
The Pursuit Maneuvers at Oscoda, Mich., Part II. By Tech. Sgt. X.L. Horn
A sketch of the conditions found at Oscoda during these maneuvers, and the assistance so readily and wholeheartedly given by the people of the surrounding country seem appropriate here. It is believed the same cooperation would be expected in almost any part of the United States, for it appears that the country is gradually awakening to the possibilities and urgent necessity for an adequate air force.
The site selected by Lieut. Ennis C. Whitehead was admirable for every viewpoint. It have a clear and unobstructed view of the lake, and the shore at this point sloped gently to the ice. Some 300 yards from the lake shore, surrounded by jack pines that broke the wind, were two shell structures, hastily thrown up several years earlier by the construction crews during the erection of playgrounds at Camp Nissekone for the Detroit YMCA. These buildings were offered to Lieut. Whitehead for the use of the Group during the maneuvers and were gladly accepted. One building contained a small kitchen, a small dining room with tables and benches, and sleeping quarters of sufficient size to accommodate the officers and newspaper men representing several Detroit papers. The cooking stove in the kitchen was of rather decrepit appearance and questionable quality, but proved quite serviceable. The other building alongside was used as sleeping quarters for the enlisted men. A small room partitioned off with rough unfinished boards was used for the radio room and as an office for the First Sergeant, Sergeant-Major, Supply Sergeant and Operations Clerk. Both of these buildings contained heating stoves which were only put into service after an almost country-wide search for stove pipes. The capacity of these stoves for big pine knots was enormous and they had to be fed continually for they promptly went out. They served their purpose well, however, by keeping the buildings decently warm. The sleeping quarters of both officers and enlisted men contained sufficient double-deck spring bunks for each man. Mr. Close, caretaker of Camp Nissokone, donated a loft of dry stray from which each man filled his mattress cover, and this, together with the eight blankets allotted to each man, made sleeping quite pleasant.
The buildings were also wired for electric lights. Connection was made with a nearby line from Oscoda and electric light bulbs sent from Selfridge Field.
The radio personnel included in their supplies a Tungar Rectifier which was hooked up on the electric line and enabled them to do all their battery charging at night, this eliminating the necessity of transporting radio batteries to and from Selfridge for recharging. Radio communication was maintained with Air Service equipment, using a Transmitting and Receiving Set, Type 109-A. The radius of this set is about sixty miles, but, by the untiring efforts of Privates McMillian and Martin of the 95tth Squadron, was made to perform efficiently over a distance of 140 miles.
Of the many things learned during these maneuvers, the outstanding one was the paramount importance of sufficient personnel. The original detail of enlisted men for these maneuvers consisted of 28 men. Of these only 22 were sent as crew chiefs and mechanics. Four of the remaining six were on duty as Cooks or Radio Operators, one was the Sergeant-Major and the other a Medical assistant. This number proved insufficient. Due to the extreme fire hazard and the absolute necessity of keeping a guard over the heating stoves at night and the extra duty incident to feeding from 20 to 30 officers and civilians, it was found that noncommissioned officers from the line would have to be used as fire guards and kitchen police. This, of course, would have taken valuable mechanics from the line where they were most needed for, in addition to the ten Pursuit ships, there were two bombers and four DeHavilands to be taken care of. Four additional men were therefore ordered to Oscoda, two for duty in the kitchen, one as fire guard and one as mechanic on the bombers and DeHavilands. Even this helped but little, and crews were often called from the ships to assist in servicing a bomber or a DeHaviland that had to return immediately to Selfridge.
Telephone connection between the operations offices, the officers' quarters and the line was maintained by ordinary field phones and proved very satisfactory, although it could have been improved by a connection with the system at Oscoda, for Lake Van Etten is at least 6 ½ miles from this town and we had no way of getting connection with the town except by transportation given us by the people there, as we had none of our own. Mr. Hennigar, a local garage owner, donated a dilapidated old flivver to us during the maneuvers, which we greatly appreciated. The service of this flivver was such that I must tell you about it in another paper.
The mess was excellent, thanks to Sergeant Dalto and Private Miller of the 27th Squadron. There was plenty to eat and that was plenty was well cooked. Perhaps the balsam and pine had something to do with our appetites, for the larder was wiped clean.
The only supplies found necessary to secure from Selfridge were spark plugs and oil tanks for the Curtiss ships and rocker arms and distributor assemblies for the DeH's. Under ordinary conditions the oil tanks would not have been necessary but these ships were left standing on the ice during the night and received the full sweep of northern winds, so we were fortunate a greater toll was not exacted.
Gasoline and oil was purchased locally and delivered to the lake shore where it was readily accessible to the mechanics. Purchase and delivery was made through Mr. Hennigar of Oscoda who furnished two hand sleds capable of hauling two full drums of gasoline and several small hand pumps that could be screwed into the tops of the drums and the gasoline forced through a hose directly into the tanks in a steady and fairly heavy stream. These sleds were staunchly built, easily loaded and, best of all, could be pushed about from ship to ship without much effort.
Mr. Hennigar also took care of the wood supply and always, just as we were wondering where we would obtain some for the night, one of his trucks would bring in a load and deposit it at our door.
On Thursday night cars from Oscoda were sent to the field and, with the exception of two or three, every man from the Group was taken to town to attend a banquet in the auditorium. One thing very certain and that is that the ladies of Oscoda know how to cook. And they are not stingy with what they cook either, for all of us ate until we could hardly dance afterwards.
The banquet was attended by practically every citizen in the town. After the toastmaster had introduced Major Lanphier and the thunderous applause had somewhat subsided, Major Lanphier in turn introduced his pilots and mechanics. That they took us kindly is putting it gently, for they left no doubt as to their attitude towards us. One thing about the banquet that especially appealed to us was the utter lack of formality. We just walked in, sat down and proceeded to the business at hand - that of eating. The ladies saw to it that we lacked nothing and when, after the introductions had been made and we could no longer eat, we just got up and walked away with a satisfied smile.
After the banquet came a basketball game between the Oscoda Independents and a team picked from the Group. The game was somewhat rough and minus many rules, but it furnished sufficient excitement to bring the crowd yelling to their feet. The Group lost the football game by four points, but none of its prestige. It was during the last quarter that I remember seeing Mr. Planck of the reportorial staff of the Detroit Free Press, red of face, his eyes shining and his hair touseled, long arms waving in every direction, wildly shouting "Come on, you soldiers! Come on, you soldiers!" He is the same chap who, one the way home in the school bus, when someone asked him who he was, answered "Just a tired and happy reporter."
One might infer from the above that these maneuvers were something well worked out along lines that specified comfort and pleasure, but we hasten to assure anyone who might think it was a grand lark that even in actual war time is always found for recreation. These maneuvers were performed under war conditions, and as Lake Van Etten was the logical strategic airdrome for the Group in repelling an invasion of the mythical Red forces into the United States from the North, the best site possible for the temporary housing of the Group at this point was therefore secured. The fact that the facilities, such as mentioned above, were found and developed her and the fact that everything was made as pleasant for us as possible by the people there should not cause the skeptical to belittle the success of the maneuvers. It should rather highly reflect to the credit of the Group Engineering Officer, Lieut. Whitehead, for his foresight and consideration, and to the people of Oscoda who gave us such a hearty cooperation.
April 20, 1925
Forty Six Days With a Martin Bomber
No, this was not a flight around the world or anything like it; it was merely an aerial jaunt from Langley Field, Va., to Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., and return. As a result of this exceedingly fast flight to Michigan and back the total flying time of the 11th Bombardment Squadron at Langley received quite a boost. Staff Sergeant Ritenour, who accompanied the pilot (Lieut. Harry J. Brady, a reserve officer) on the trip tells the following story:
"In brief, it seemed that a jinx of some sort was parked on the fuselage, and that Jiggs* had a scrap with Maggie. We left our home airdrome to proceed to Selfridge Field, Mich., to assist the 1st Pursuit Group in their winter maneuvers. I believe that we did the winter maneuvering on the way up. First of all we reached Bolling Field in good time. Then the wind decided that our ship was not to get through to Dayton; and after bucking it for three hours we were finally forced to land near Bellegrove, Md. We found that in addition to carburetor trouble everything in general was all wrong. With the assistance of a few cuss words and Lieut. Brady, we set about to get the ship going again. Our efforts were without avail, so we got Langley Field via radio and had the ship us another machine, which, incidentally, was our own assigned ship. We were surely glad to get it and felt confident that we could easily finish the trip now. But the jinx also changed its headquarters and after playing tag with some heavy winds and three-foot mud fields, we got away from Cumberland and arrived at Selfridge without further trouble. Then the fun began. First of all, we had eight days of fog and rain with no sign of the sun, and when finally we made our getaway for Oscoda, Mich., on the first clear day, Old Boreas got into his work again. At Imlay City, en route to Oscoda, an oil tank burst, causing a motor to burn out before a suitable landing could be made. When we finally landed the strong wind caused the ship to pivot, breaking a wheel. After we were settled and set to work going over the plane we discovered the tail post, aileron, left lower control wires and control pulleys in cockpit pulled from fittings.
A new motor and other spare parts were received from Selfridge and Fairfield, and we again went to work to bring the ship up to flying standards. After six days, during which time there was rain, sleet, mud, snow and terribly cold weather, we finally succeeded in getting the old ship back into commission again. It was flown back to Selfridge Field, and upon our arrival there another mission was endowed upon us which, in brief was to ferry students back to Langley from Chanute Field. En route to Chanute, near (garbled) Indiana, our left motor quit us cold without warning, and on our hurried descent we connected with some high tension wires. Fortunately, the plane was only slightly damaged and we were enabled to make all necessary repairs and get to Chanute Field the same day. With the students assigned to make the trip we departed for Fairfield, but again trouble appeared in the form of lost oil pressure and bursted cylinder jackets, necessitating our return to Chanute for repairs. Our attempt the next day to reach Fairfield was successful, the only difficulty experienced being the loss of water out of the left hand motor. We landed, however, without damage to ship or motors. Inspectors at Fairfield upon checking our plane discovered that considerable work would be necessary on the plane before we could complete our journey. New motors were installed, new control wires and steering column, new motor bed, and Les Nivelle starting system thoroughly checked. This consumed 12 days of hard work. Apparently at this stage the jinx must have become disgusted for we arrived at Langley Field without must trouble. The entire flying time of the trip was 38 hours and 30 minutes.
*The insignia of the 11th Squadron represents Mr. Jiggs carrying a bomb under his arm.
May 5, 1925
Parachute Once More Saves Life of Army Flyer
There is no disputing the fact that the Air Service is one branch of the Army that furnishes adventure and thrilling experiences. Of the latter there have been considerable, as many airplane pilots in and out of the service can testify. Since the advent of the parachute occasions have been numerous where the life of the airman was saved through its use, and as one continues to read from time to time of a case where a pilot jumped from a disabled plane safely to the ground with one of these "aerial life belts," the conviction grows deeper and deeper that the parachute is one of the greatest boons to the flying game and plays no little part in increasing the morale of the flyer.
The latest Air Service pilot to save his life through the use of the parachute is Lieut. J. Thad Johnson, of the 1st Pursuit Group, stationed at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich. Lieut. Johnson was making a non-stop flight from Selfridge to Mitchel Field, New York, but through the perversity of fate engine trouble developed while flying over a mountainous and thickly wooded country - a bad place for landing an airplane one must admit. The thrilling part of Lieut. Johnson's adventure was that he had never before jumped with a parachute, and after taking French leave of his plane at the highest altitude he was able to climb he became slightly confused and started searching vainly for the ring of the rip cord f the "chute." Happily, he did not lose control of himself, found the rip cord, and after gliding through the air for about ten minutes landed in a wild apple tree in the midst of a forest without any injury whatever. He later found his completely demolished plane on the side of a very rocky mountain among heavy trees.
Lieut. Johnson's story of his adventure is as follows:
"I left my home airdrome at noon on April 10th in PW-8 airplane, A.S. No. 24-219, for a non-stop flight to Mitchel Field, Long Island, N.Y.
At Selfridge Field the weather was cloudy by the visibility was good. This condition continued until I reached a point about 25 miles west of Lockhaven, Pa., where clouds became denser and much lower and all low places were filled with fog. Several locakl rainstorms were encountered and clouds were about 300 ft. above tops of mountains. Still the visibility was fair enough to permit an accurate check on my course and not bad enough to make danger of hitting high peaks imminent. The last object checked on the map was the point where two railroads cross near Muncy, just west of the Susquehanna River. On crossing the Susquehanna River the fog lay so thick in the valley that it was impossible to see the river, but the shore was visible on each side.
When about ten miles from Muncy I first noticed the odor of hot oil. Looking at my oil pressure gauge I saw the pressure had dropped to 100 lbs., whereas it had been 120. Looking down at the floor of the cockpit I saw a large stream of oil coming back over same. I watched the oil pressure gauge for about twenty seconds and saw that it was falling gradually. For thirty minutes I had not observed a single place where it was possible to land an airplane, and all the country as far as I could see was very mountainous and covered with heavy woods. Under these conditions I knew that it would be impossible to land plane without wrecking it and that my chances of escaping serious injury would be very small. Since it was a question of wrecking the plane in any event, I decided it would be preferable to climb as high as possible through the clouds before the loss of oil froze the motor and then jump in parachute.
Looking in all directions the clouds seemed thinner to the north, so turning in that direction I stuck the nose of my plane into the clouds and began to climb through them as rapidly as possible. As I climbed I kept a very close watch on oil pressure gauge and thermometer. The oil pressure continued to drop, but motor did not begin to heat until oil pressure had reached about 20 lbs. At that point the temperature went up rapidly and water and steam began coming out of the expansion tank. Almost immediately the motor stuck once and then started running with a very bad knock. In approximately twenty-five seconds it stuck again and again started running, but knocking increased. I looked at my oil pressure, saw that it stood at 10 lbs., then at my thermometer and saw it was right up against the peg. My altimeter registered almost 10,000 feet. I immediately cut my switch and cut off gasoline, pulled the nose of the ship up until the propeller stopped running, unbuckled my belt, stood up in the seat holding the stick with my8 right hand, facing outward toward the left side of the plane. I put my left foot on the cowling while in this position and dived into space, aiming the miss the trailing edge of the wing about three feet. Due to the fact that I was out of sight of both earth and sky and in very dense clouds at the time I jumped I only saw plane for a brief instant when I made my first turn through the air.
I counted five and started to pull ring to release parachute, but as I had never jumped before I was slightly confused and after searching vainly for the ring for what seemed to me about half a minute I realized I was searching on the right side instead of the left. I was perfectly comfortable and did not feel any rush of air, any lack of control of all my muscles and faculties. I immediately reached to the left when I came to this realization and pulled rip cord. The parachute seemed to open almost the instant I touched the ring. Due to the fact that my harness was adjusted rather loosely, having been fitted to me for a winter flying suit, whereas I wore summer flying suit at this time, the opening gave me a very bad jerk and wrenched both hips to some extent. The webbing struck me on the right side of the face and nose as the parachute opened, dazing me for just a moment.
I estimated that it took me almost ten minutes to reach the ground after parachute opened. All this time I was in very dense clouds and part of the time in fairly heavy rain. I did not see the ground until I was about 300 ft. above it. I landed in a wild apple tree in the midst of a forest on top of a ridge which ran down the center of the valley between two mountains. I sustained no injury whatever in landing.
After climbing down out of tree, I walked to the nearest house, which was about one and one-half miles further to Sonestown. There I got transportation to Muncy Valley, from which place I sent telegrams to the Commanding Officer, Selfridge Field, and Chief of Air Service. Later I received word that plane had fallen near Eagles Mere, Pa., and I thereupon telephone tye Commanding Officer of Middletown Air Intermediate Depot, requesting that an accident investigation officer be sent to the scene. He assured me that an officer would be sent next morning, so I returned to Eagles Mere and waited until the officer arrived the next day at about 11:30 a.m.
The plane was completely demolished, as it had landed on the side of a very rocky mountain among heavy trees. About all that could be determined from the wreck was that, although gasoline was standing in pools all around the plane, there was no oil visible, showing that all oil had been lost before the plane was evacuated.
Sept. 12, 1925
Air Meet at Battle Creek, Michigan
Coincident with the dedication of the airport at Battle Creek, Mich., an air meet was staged there August 29th and 30th, which was participated in by Army Air Service and civilian pilots.
Various races were held and Lieut. Russell L. Meredith of Selfridge Field carried high speed honors, his time over a 30-mile course being 13 minutes and 45 seconds. James Piersol of Kalamazoo won the climbing contest, 1,000 feet and down from a standing start in 2 minutes, 9 3/5 seconds.
Specialties included bomb-dropping exhibition by Lieut. H.A. Johnson, an exhibition flight by Lieut. G.P. Tourtellot, parachute jumps by Joe Crane during the course of which he fell 2,000 feet before opening his chute, and air acrobatics by Major T.G. Lanphier, Lieuts. R.J. Minty and A.J. Lyon of the 1st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field.
Lieut. Tourtellot was awarded first prize for the most expert handling of a plane during the meet.
It is estimated that a profit of about $10,000 will be realized from the Meet, which the Chamber of Commerce of Battle Creek will devote towards the development of the airport.
Aug. 27, 1925
(Syhthesized from larger report)
The 319th Group (Attack), comprsing of the 467th, 468th, 469th and 480th Attack Squadrons, which, with the 208th Pursuit Group and the 309th Attack Group make up the 9th Wing, commanded by Major Philip G. Kemp of Chicago, a reserve unit from Illinois, was mobilized for a two-week encampment. The 308th Pursuit Group was in camp at Selfridge Field during the 15-day period, recording 400 flying hours.
Oct. 24, 1925
(Syhthesized from larger report) of International Air Races Air Show at Mitchel Field, New York, where 10 1st Pursuit Group pilots from Selfridge Field participated in the activities.
...Then came the real thrill of the day, for the First Pursuit Group of Selfridge Field took the air, six planes in two groups of V formation, to go through combat maneuvers. They sped away to the east and then came back high in the air. They drifted two or three times over the field and then from one end suddenly dropped, each plane becoming a shrieking, howling thing as it doze nose down toward the ground, so low that those beneath could hear the song of the wind in the wires. When it seemed that they would never stop, when each sharp point on the propellers could be distinguished, a glistening brass point, they straightened out, and with a roar that shook the stand each motor opened wide, they zoomed up again and in a moment they were mere specks in the sky, softly purring along. They did this twice, then turned away again and, after gaining altitude, rolled and banked and changed formation with the ease and precision of a marching unit on the ground. Three of them came down, leaving the other three to do all the tricks taught in the Army. A plane seemed suddenly to run amuck and rolled over and over sideways as if boring its way into the air. Then it straightened out and fell in the odd helpless swinging, known as the "falling leaf." It came out of this and looped, a twisting sideways sort of a loop and then swung into an Immelmann turn...
Nov. 16, 1925
Far Flight from Detroit to New York
It is reported that a record flight was made on November 10th by Major Thomas G. Lanphier, C.O. of Selfridge Field, who covered the distance of 550 miles from his station to Mineola, L.I. in 30 hours and 20 minutes, or at the rate of 165 miles an hour. This is said to be faster than the trip had ever been made before. The flight was made in a PW pursuit plane. Major Lanphier's flying visit to New York was for the purpose of attending Armistice Day dinner of the American Legion.
March 19, 1926
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
Although the Air Service News Letter has had no word from Selfridge for several months, 'tis no sign the field has reached that stage of eternal peace wherein everything becomes as nothing. Far from it! Each day possible for flying sees the sky dotted with roaring planes interspersed with the mad hum of machine gun fire as they streak downward upon the ground targets piling up almost unbelievable scores, while men growl and curse at their pilots' uncanny accuracy as they paste endless pasters and marks the hits. And, while the field has few pursuit ships, these few are maintained in almost perfect condition and flown continually, for there are not enough to go around.
The Detroit North Pole Expedition having exacted its toll from the flying personnel of the field in taking Major Thomas G. Lanphier and Technical Sergeant Charles M Wiseley, who purchased his discharge from the service, we fell that, even though we haven't had a lot to say, no one could quite forget us. Then, too, there were the Winter Maneuvers at Oscoda, Michigan, where the Group performed patrols, reconnaissance, formations, and routine tests in addition to daily machine gunnery, all of which was in the papers - some of our pictures even. Stull we are sorry we forget the Air Service News Letter and we'll try not to be so negligent in the future.
Recently a Curtiss Bomber came in from McCook Field. Lieut. Batten pilot, with Mr. Rivers and Mr. Dowges, both employees at McCook, came looking for deep snow for testing the big bombing skis. For atmosphere, Lieut. Batten, brought a genuine, full blooded, black-tongued, red-coated chow dog with him, which immediately wanted to contest every hound on the Post. Due to an intermittent sun which burns hot at odd moments during the day it may be necessary for the Bomber to go farther North for deep snow, possibly the Group's old camping ground at Oscoda.
Selfridge Field, March 1, 1926
The other morning with about three or four inches of snow on the field we changed our ships from wheels to skis and had them on the line in the frosty air in about twenty minutes. On March 1st the snow all gone after a miserable day of rain and mist, we reversed the change and had the wheels on in nine minutes flat and the ships all ready to go long before the appointed hour of eight forty-five.
Wednesday, before we lost the snow, was devoted to the testing of heavy duty skis. Two DeHavilands and one Douglas Transport made several flights during the morning and afternoon until, due to rapid melting snow - when it became almost impossible to attain a speed over fifteen miles an hour - all flying was suspended. One ski had been installed on a Bomber when it was necessary to get the ship out of the wind immediately, lopsided as it was, for the hubs of the skis are several inches higher than those of the wheels and, in a high wind, this condition might easily cause considerable destruction. It took twenty men with strong backs and bulging muscles to get the ship out of danger.
But the work was not in vain, for we woke the next morning to find the field a sea of water and a high wind blowing so that all formations were held indoors. The weather had to be disagreeable when that happens, although the men rather enjoy it. One on the "Top Kick," so to speak.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., March 16, 1926
A Douglas transport, piloted by Lieut. Elliott, with Master Sgt. Goff, mechanic, and Staff Sgts. Callaghan, Williams, Sgt. Strawser, Corporals Hice, Pavlaski and Pvt. 1st Class McGaghran, all of the 17th Pursuit Squadron, as passengers, made a trip to McCook Field March 10th for the purpose of instruction and experience of enlisted men, and returned the next day.
Arriving at McCook Field about noon, the men were taken through the final assembly division by an instructor. That evening they all paid a visit to the field museum where they viewed with wide-eyed interest the antique, obsolete, the impracticable and the impossible of aeronautics. The following morning they listened attentively to a two-hour lecture on magnetos and then, being bears for punishment, followed it with a similar dose on generators. The men were all wildly enthusiastic over McCook. All remark on the cordial manner of their reception, and those who so far have not been fortunate enough to make the trip resolve that by "hook or crook" they are going on the next one.
These trips cannot but prove of benefit to the service. The men report that they meet many old friends there and old friends are willing to enlighten and teach. Then, too, the men who make these trips are hangar men, all of whom are vitally interested in things aeronautical. Another benefit is that instead of considering McCook Field a place where men are hired for the express purpose of finding something wrong with perfection, all are beginning to realize that their work here, their problems and trials and troubles are but a very small item in the life of our Nation's rapidly growing son - aeronautics.
Lieut. Thomas Ash, Jr. A.S., Res. Pilot, with Capt. G.S. Felt, Medical Corps, Res., passenger, attempted a flight in a creeping, crawling "Jenny" to Grand Rapids, Mich., March 13th. About 80 miles out of Selfridge Field the old Jenny contracted a leak in an oil line and Lieut. Ash was forced to land near Leslie, Mich., where he managed to while away the time by strolling the one hundred feet of sidewalk and eating hamburgers in the one lone restaurant until Sunday afternoon, when Lieut. Luther S. Smith, pilot, and Corp. Ross of the emergency crew from the 57th Service Squadron, arrived in another "Jenny" with the necessary repairs. Lieut. Smith returned to Selfridge that evening, since Capt. Felt had decided to trust his luck to slower (?) transportation, leaving Corporal Ross in Leslie to return with Lieut. Ash as soon as he could get the old Wright "E" turning up once again.
Lieut. Alfred J. Lyons, Station Supply Officer, departed on te morning of March 15tth in a DH over the model airways route with Mr. Renne LaBudie, Aeronautical Engineer of the Continental Motors Co., Detroit, Mich., as passenger. Lieut. Lyons upon his return to Selfridge expects to be transferred to McCook Field, Dayton, O.
Aerial gunnery, being one of the many and unescapable duties of each Group pilot, must receive its share of attention here. Aerial gunnery is on every weekly flying schedule and is participated in on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week. Both type PW-8 and P-1 airplanes are equipped with machine guns and used in this work. Each squadron has its targets (Type C) mounted on movable frames which are set up on the range only when that organization is firing. At a distance of 400 feet from the targets is a row of red and while flags - the deadline - for any pilot who fires after passing this line has five percent deducted from his total. Since five percent often means a great deal, it is perhaps responsible for some of the hot and smoking arguments between questioning pilots and the adamant range officer. Scores for the week ending March 13th are as follows:
Lieut. Elliott, pilot, C-1 transport, with Lieuts. Williams, Crane and L.S. Smith and Sgt. Branch, 57th Service Squadron, as mechanic, were ordered to proceed to San Antonio Air Intermediate Depot, Texas, for the purpose of ferrying to Selfridge three type AT-1 airplance. Lieuts. Williams, Crane and Smith were to fly the AT-1's while Lieut. Elliott and Sgt Branch were to return in the C-1. Now - all is woe. Three cadets, it is understood, are being transferred to this field - from Brooks, of course - for advanced pursuit training, and old dame rumor has it that they may be ordered to fly here in the AT-1's. Which accounts, in some measure, for the loud wails and long faces heard and seen in the vicinity of any one of the five unfortunates.
April 16, 1926
Fast Flying in 'Dawn to Dusk' Ship
The famous "Dawn to Dusk" plane, in which Lieut. Russell L. Maughan made his record-breaking transcontinental flight, still has some of its speed left. It was recently flown by Lieut. Kirtley J. Gregg, Adjutant of Selfridge Field, on a cross-country trip to Bolling and Langley Fields and return. Lieut. Gregg spent two days on the trip and his total flying time was 10 hours and 25 minutes for the four flights. The flight from Selfridge Field to Bolling Field was made in 3 hours, 40 minutes, while the return was made in 4 hours, 20 minutes.
The "Dawn to Dusk" ship is assigned to the 17th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field.
April 16, 1926
Retirement of Staff Sergeant Bernard H. Spelbrink
The 1st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mich., passed in review on Monday, March 29th, in honor of Staff Sergeant Bernard H. Spelbrink who was retired on this date upon completion of more than 30 years' service in the United States Army, including double time for foreign service.
Staff Sergeant Spelbrink, although retiring in the grade of staff sergeant, will receive retirement pay of a warrant officer by reason of the fact that he rendered honorable service as a commissioned officer during the World War. After having been discharged as a commissioned officer Sergeant Spelbrink accepted an appointment as a warrant officer and upon completion of 30 years' service resigned his appointment as a warrant officer for the purpose of re-enlisting in the Army as an enlisted man in order that he may become eligible for retirement for service. There is no question that Sergeant Spelbrink could easily have attained the highest grade of Master Sergeant had he chosen to reenter the Army again - after his commissioned service - as an enlisted man.
Staff Sergeant Spelbrink entered the service by volunteering in the 3rd United States Engineers in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, and served in Cuba in that enlistment. He has also seen service in the Philippine Islands during the Philippine Insurrection in 1900 to 1903, and took part in the Samar Relief Campaign. He saw service on the Mexican Border during the Mexican raids of 1916; and served as a commissioned officer with the General Staff at Washington, D.C. during the World War. He joined the 1st Pursuit Group, Air Service, Kelly Field, Texas, in 1921 and has served with the Group since that date.
Sergeant Spelbrink has made a most enviable record in not having lost a single day during his entire service through absent without leave or other mis-conduct, and all of his discharges have been with excellent character. He leaves Selfridge Field with the best wishes of every officer and enlisted man for his success and long life. He is a fine fellow. If we had his money and his leisure we'd go to some place where it is neither too cold nor too warm with an armful of fishing poles; some place where we'd only have to put on a white shirt at Christmas time, and let the world pass by. But Mr. Spelbrink is by no means past usefulness so he'll probably keep pace with the rest in the mad race for worldly pelf.
Mr. Spelbrink was presented with a fine traveling case equipped with a complete assortment of toilet articles as a remembrance of his days with the First Pursuit Group. But he will not need this case to remember his service, for thirty years therein makes an indelible impression upon the memory, and he will look back upon the past with longing and happiness.
Captain V.B. Dixon, Commanding Selfridge Field and the Group, in orders publishing Sgt. Spelbrionk's retirement commended him for the excellent record he achieved and held him up as a shining example to all enlisted men of the Group who desire to make the Army their career.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich. March 30
Due to the very poor condition of the flying field, which made the landing of any type of ship hazardous, and poor visibility, very little aerial gunnery was participated in. No pilot was able to fire more than the stipulated 100 rounds of .30 caliber. Lieut. Bettis was high scorer for the week with 73 hits out of a possible 100; Lieuts. Irvine and Johnson were second and third with 58 and 53 hits, respectively, out of a possible 100.
A big "V" formation of enemy aircraft winged its way across the sky as we were running the ships up this morning. They made no sound and were not noticed until far out over the lake headed almost due east. Everybody is trying to get a chance at the anti-aircraft guns now, buut the lake is still frozen over and the geese were too high anyway.
Lieut. Bettis departed for rail for San Antionio, Texas, to take charge of the flight of three type AT-1 airplanes which are to be ferried here. It is very possible that he will not break any speed records on this trip - not in an AT-1
Cadet Collins, pilot of an AT-1, with a Mr. Crawford of Detroit as passenger, flew to Akron, Ohio, for cross-country training.
Lieuts. Ash and Burgin, A.S. Reserve, finished their six months' active duty training on March 31st.
May 8, 1926
The Hall of Fame
"A few weeks ago," writes the News Letter Correspondent from the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot, that "we are surprised to learn, by means of an official Report of Survey, that Private Paul Revere, of Mitchel Field, was a deserter. Today we learned something else. Private Henry Ford of Selfridge Field visited this post on April 4, 1926. Private Henry Ford has been spending a furlough in Washington; to what extent he impersonated his famous namesake, we do not know. No doubt, if he went to a hotel, he registered as Henry Ford, Michigan, thereby creating a wild commotion among the hotel clerks and employees.
At Maxwell Field (then known as Aviation Repair Depot, Montgomery, Ala.) there was in 1918, a soldier named George Washington.
What Field will next step forward? Have we a Private John D. Rockefeller, or Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonoparte?"
First Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., April 9th (1926)
We haven't had a decent day here for so long that some of the pilots are going to forget how to handle a stick when they do get in the air. During the last formation on April 2nd, Cadet Davies (flying a 27th Pursuit Squadron AT-1) nosed over in landing. He hit a soft place in a field full of them and made a complete somersault - as a cook flips eggs in a hash house. However, no one was injured and the propeller wasn't broken.
The flight of AT1's that Lieut. Bettis is bringing from San Antonio, Texas, suffered a casualty at Monett, Mo., when Cadet Harold B. Wilson crashed at that place, washing out his plane and causing minor injuries which resulted in his being detailed a couple of days in the local hospital. Cadet Wilson was ordered to ship the remains of the ship to Selfridge and to proceed to this station by rail as soon as possible.
2nd Lieut. Leonard H. Rodieck, who just completed a course of instruction at the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, reported to the Group for duty and was assigned to Headquarters pending further assignment.
Major Carl Spatz, the Group's old commanding officer, who is now with the Training and War Plans Division, Office, Chief of Air Service, arrived here April 6th in a new P-1A-. Major Spatz called three of his old Non-Coms before him (Master Sergeant Gosnear (27th); Miller (94th) and Wadsworth (17th) for a little talk over old times. They had been together for several years prior to Major Spatz's transfer to Washington and their days of strife and struggle, especially during those epochal days in Galveston, Texas, when the First Pursuit Group battled rain and knee deep mud and a mythical enemy, are not easily forgotten. One often hears the old-timers speak of those maneuvers at Galveston where the rain and wind flung tents aside in wild abandon and mired the wheels of the Spads until they disappeared from sight. They tell, too, about the thousands of egg crates they used for tail skid floor boards.
Major Spatz departed April 7th for McCook Field in one of the Group's DeH's, with Lieut. Crane as passenger, but due to low and heavy fog was forced to land at Beaver Dam, Ohi.
The combined maneuvers scheduled for about 15 days commencing on or about April 16th are causing considerable conjecture. Mechanics wonder who are going and all make every effort to obtain advance information. These maneuvers are, it is understood, to represent a brigade movement and include personnel and equipment of the 2nd Bombardment Group, Langley Field, Va., the 3rd Attack Group, Kelly Field, Texas, and the 1st Pursuit Group of Selfridge Field, Mich. Concentration will be made at Fairfield, Ohio, and from here it is expected the Brigade will move northward to Oscoda, Mich., on Lake Van Ettan, for combined aerial gunnery and bombing. The Group is to furnish 12 officer pilots and as many pursuit ships and about 13 enlisted mechanics. Nothing is known of the strength or the amount of equipment of the other Groups that will participate.
The proposed housing program for his field is paving the way for many and endless arguments. No one, of course, knows just what is going to happen and every one is hoping and praying for the best. We know of no finer place than Selfridge for an Air Service station or the permanent home of the First Pursuit Group if - it only had better housing facilities for officers and enlisted men alike. It is believed that something will be done this summer. A tentative layout showing the approximate location desired for various buildings to be constructed (if such construction is actually authorized) is now being prepared for Headquarters Sixth Corps Area.
Organization Day of the First Pursuit Group, May 5th, is the beginning of the Group athletic year, and on this day we have our field meet and the first baseball game of the season. Some of the organizations are now preparing for strenuous competition, and while baseball material at this time is unknown it is assured that the forthcoming season will see some good games hotly contested and well played. The 94th Pursuit Squadron should have the edge on the rest since they have Corporal Browning, a pitcher of no little ability. He had a good record in the Philippines and seems to have lost none of his stuff. But one man can't win a championship, so perhaps some of the rest are going to have a chance at least.
Hours flown, Selfridge Field, Calendar Year 1925: 6,286:02.
Hours Flown, Selfridge Field, First Three Months, Calendar Year 1926: 979:53
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mihc. May 22nd (1926)
Organization Day, May 5th, has come and gone. A silver cup, properly inscribed and 500 points towards the Athletic Year are to be presented to the 95th Pursuit Squadron for first place. Sergeant Healy of the 95th was high man with 14 points; Sgt. McDonald, 1st Pursuit Group Hdqrs. second with 11 points, and staff Sgt. Boyle, 95th third, with 10 1/3 points. Organization scores for track and field meet are as follows:
95th Pursuit Squadron: 60 2/3 points
1st Pursuit Group Hdqrs.: 32 points
57th Service Squadron: 12 points
17th Pursuit Squadron: 9 points
27th Pursuit Squadron: 6 1/3 points
94th Pursuit Squadron: 6 points
Having won the football championship last year, the 17th seems intent on duplicating the feat in baseball. To date they have played and won three games, the three first string pitchers each holding 100%. Vlucht or Tiny, as he is called, managed to keep his 220 points of stuff in control to win from the 57th by the scant margin of one run. Waytulonis, the hard hitting full back of last fall's championship football team, while more erratic, had better luck, his mates denting the rubber eleven times while the 95th scored eight. Then to top it off, the best fielder on the team turned out to be a pitcher, and on his first trial on the mound held the 1st Pursuit Group Hdqrs. team to a few scattered hits and won his game even after his infield presented them with three runs in the first inning. Lieut. Cornelius manages the team. Officers are not privileged to play in inter-squadron competition.
July 9, 1926
Douglas Transport with DH Propeller Fails to Climb
The crash recently at Selfridge Field, Michigan, of a Douglas Transport equipped with a DH propeller would seem to indicate that this type of propeller is unsuitable for this ship when it is fully loaded. The ship in question, piloted by Cadet Clinton W. Davis, was scheduled to proceed to Fairfield, Ohio, for the Air Force Maneuvers, carrying seven enlisted men as passengers. When the ship took off it traveled a distance of approximately a quarter of a mile before it left the ground, rose to a height of between forty and fifty feet and then began settling rapidly. The pilot made a turn to the left in order to get into the only field available but due to the fact that the ship lost altitude so rapidly he was unable to straighten it out for a perfect landing and the left wheel hooked into the ground, breaking the fuselage and tearing off the left wheel.
The original propeller on this ship being broken several days prior to the accident, it was equipped with a DH propeller and given a thorough test flight by an experience transport pilot, who reported that the plane took off and handled as well in the air with this propeller as it did when equipped with the original propeller furnished with the plane. During this flight test the only load carried was two men.
In commenting on this accident, the Chief Engineer, McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, stated that one acquainted only with the fundamental principles of propeller engineering might very easily, make the perfectly natural mistake of assuming that if the engine is the same and high speed the same propeller is interchangeable between airplane of otherwise different types because of the fact that in the two cases the ratio of speed of advance and propeller tip speed is the same. In the present instance, however, the airplanes require different propellers because of the fact of the difference in the size of the fuselage. Due to the large size of the fuselage of the Douglas Transport the relative ratio of propeller disc area to fuselage cross section is too small for the propeller #37593, otherwise known as the efficiency propeller, which has a diameter of 9'8". The propeller designed for the transport airplane gas a diameter of 10'6" and, in addition, has wider blades that the narrow propeller, both of which features make it suitable for the Douglas airplane, whereas the other propeller is unsuitable.
July 9, 1926
Dawn to Dusk Airplane Goes to Scrap Pile
The famous PW-8 "Dawn to Dusk Ship" which was flown by Lieut. Russell L. Maughan, J une 23, 1924, across the American continent from New York to San Francisco, Calif., between sunrise and sunset, is no more. This airplane, which on the above eventful day covered 2,540 miles in 21 hours, 48 ½ minutes, met an untimely and end recently while its pilot was making a landing at Selfridge Field, Michigan. The large gas tanks which had been installed in the ship especially for the momentous flight across the continent, had just been removed and replaced by the regular size gasoline tank designed for the ship when, on the very first flight after this change, it met disaster. The soft and muddy condition of Selfridge Field was responsible for the wreck of the plane, for in landing, the wheels sank into the turf as the plane was rolling along and the landing gear was wiped off. The plane nosed up and then fell over on its back, causing a complete washout. Army Air Service officers at Selfridge explained that the hard usage to which the ship had been subjected in the past few years was partly the reason for the failure of the landing gear struts and the resultant crash.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., June 8th (1926)
Every day brings more clearly into view the fact that distance means nothing to the Air Service; that travel by air is safe, sound and sure and that the newer modern airplanes are more reliable. No one wonders now, when a pilot leaves the ground in a new plane for an extended cross-country trip, how far he'll get before being forced down, but on the other hand, is surprised if he is forced down anywhere this side of his destination, but that cannot be said of older equipment. Engines are being perfect to such a degree that ordinary care makes them almost faultless, and the airplane itself has been improved until it will soon be impossible to tear one apart in the air. Along with this comes speed and we have that too until now it is easily possible to average over 100 miles an hour for several hours and in any weather.
Captain Frank H. Pritchard, in a type P-1 pursuit plane, departed from Selfridge Field via Chanute Field, Scott Field, Kansas City, Muskogeee, Dallas, for Kelly Field, Texas. In a little over four hours actual flying time he reached Scott Field, Ill., a distance of almost 600 miles. He is making the trip for the purpose of cross country training and will not in all probability find it necessary to delay at any place along his route for repairs. Service? Yes, for even in an automobile one must stop for gas, oil and water.
The non-commissioned officers of the First Pursuit Group feel that, so far as eye-sight, steadiness of arm and nerves, good luck or what have you, is concerned they are the equal of any. During the annual target practice a total of ninety percent qualified on the range. When it comes to perforating the bull's eye on type "E" target or plastering a bobbing target they're there! A summary of the firing by organizations is given below:
1st Pursuit Group Hdgrs., 6 experts, 2 sharpshooters, 1 marksman, 100 percent qualified.
17th Pursuit Squadron, 19 experts, 3 sharpshooters, 7 marksman, 85 percent qualified.
27th Pursuit Squadron, 16 experts, 4 sharpshooters, 8 marksman, 87 percent qualified.
94th Pursuit Squadron, 16 experts, 2 sharpshooters, 7 marksman, 86 percent qualified.
95th Pursuit Squadron, 15 experts, 4 sharpshooters, 3 marksman, 88 percent qualified.
57th Service Squadron, 29 experts, 3 sharpshooters, 4 marksman, 94 percent qualified.
Lieuts. Bettis, Luther S. Smith and John J. Williams, with 12 enlisted men, are now on duty at Philadelphia, Pa., in connection with the Army participation in the Sesquicentennial Exposition.
Eight Group pilots and 55 enlisted men from the 17th Pursuit Squadron will leave here so as to report to Chanute Field, Ill., on or about August 1st for a month's duty in connection with the training of Reserve officers there. Ten training planes and 6 pursuit planes will be taken. The enlisted men will be attached to the 15th Observation Squadron while on this duty.
Three Group officers were ordered to proceed to Camp Dix, N.J. for the purpose of giving aerial demonstration before the Army War College/
Three additional officers were ordered to temporary duty with the 202nd Coast Artillery anti-aircraft regiment, Illinois National Guard, Ft. Ontario, N.Y.. for the period June 19th to July 18th for the purpose of pulling tow targets of anti-aircraft gunnery practice.
About every so often a fellow has to discard his greasy but comfortable coveralls for the more presentable but uncomfortable uniform, shine up the old mess equipment, hunt up some toilet articles, a shelter half and a lot of other stuff which every Air Service man will maintain is excess baggage, and get out and stand inspection. If a mechanic has to pitch his tent and display equipment that day for him is ruined. Stove pipes are at a premium, but woe unto any man who stands before the Inspecting Officer and hears" "Private Jones, you have a very neat pack. Display your equipment and show the balance of the men how you do it!" For a stove pipe, while easy to carry, doesn't seem to satisfy Inspectors. Two inspections are scheduled for June, one a tactical inspection by the Post Commander on the 12th and another for the Corps Area Commander on the 28th.
There must be a lot of fish and game up around Oscoda and Lake Van Ettam wondering what's keeping the airmen away. June heretofore has always seen the Group in its summer home, and the fish have never been neglected like this before. But it can't be helped, for there ae so many details that are taking the pilots away from the field on detached service that the aerial gunnery maneuvers have been postponed until about Sept. 1st. The Camp has been placed in readiness, however, and everything is set for the fast little fighters and their roaring machine guns and singing bombs. If all we hear is true, Major Lanphier will be back in time to lead the Group once more to the shores of Lake Van Ettan. Although nothing official has been heard, he is expected back from the Detroit Arctic Expedition about the first of July.
Baseball has suffered from lack of warm weather. Days have been cold, with high winds. Still this isn't altogether responsible for the sorriness of some of the games. The 17th still holds the lead with the 57th trailing with two games lost and the 94th hovering close with three in the discard. Browning, star hurler, is to be sent to Mitchel Field and will pitch for the team there. We wish him the best of luck. Games are played on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and, while well attended, never seem to get the crowds as football does. That's the game for soldiers! Gotta have something like personal contact to make a fellow snap out of it, and most all of 'em love the game.
Pretty soon this going to be a land of eternal winter. Only a couple of fellows went swimming so far this year and they went to the hospital with pneumonia. All the birds that fly North in the spring are stopping south of the Ohio and we wear woolen OD's all summer.
July 27, 1926
Air Corps Enlisted Men Steady on the Trigger
The First Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mich., performed some remarkable shooting during dismounted pistol practice recently held at that field, the average score per man being 80.2%, or .2% above the score necessary to rate a man as expert.
Of the total 203 enlisted men on the rolls of the 1st Pursuit Group, 175 completed the firing course, 23 of the men who did not fire being on detached service, 4 on leave and one sick. All of these 175 men completed the firing course, 89.7% (157) men qualifying as follows - 109 experts, 18 as sharpshooters and 30 as marksmen.
The 1st Pursuit Group Headquarters, with nine men, made a perfect (100%) record, all of them qualifying, the average score per man being 85%. The 57th Service Squadron, which captured second place with 95% of its men qualifying - average score per man being 84% - made a most noteworthy record in that but two of the 41 men failed to qualify and 31 qualified as experts, 4 as sharpshooters and 4 as marksmen.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., June 23rd (1926)
The following radiogram was received at Post Hqrs. At 3:50 p.m. June 15th from the Comdg. Gen. Sixth Corps Area: "M DAY TEST MOBILIZATION FOR YOUR COMMAND COMMENCES TWELVE ONE A.M. JUNE SIXTEENTH TWENTY SIX STOP BY COMMAND SMITH." Orders were immediately issued and mobilization completed by 11:30 a.m. the following day. The Group passed in review, tents were pitched on the flying field, and all squadrons were found ready for field duty except for shortage of officers and airplanes.
Four of the cadets now assigned to this Group were ordered to Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill., for training ROTC. Cadet Jones departed for Chanute June 17th, but Cadets Davis, Collins and Wilson remained here to take the examination for regular army commissions on the 21st and left for Chanute the following day.
Capts. Wm. R. Speigel, Reinhold Seiwe, Myron A. Sine, and 1st Lieuts. Russell F. Kenaga and John E. Runchy, Air Corps Reserve, reported for duty and were assigned to various organizations of the Group for 15 days flying training.
Lieuts. Leonard H. Rodieck and Wm. L. Cornelius were ordered to detached service with the 202nd Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft regiment, Illinois N.G. for flying duty in connection with anti-aircraft gunnery practice.
Approximately thirty applicants for appointment as flying cadets were examined here July 7th and 8th, only five failing to pass the required physical examination for flying.
Master Sgt. Harry F. Gosnear, 27th Pursuit Sqd., Tech. Sgt. Steven W. Nowak and Staff Sgt. Forrest (Doc) L. Daugherty were ordered to report to the Discharge and Replacement Depot, Fort Hamilton, N.Y., for a tour of foreign service in Panama Canal Dept. Sgt. Gosnear is replacement for Master Sgt. Christopher Murphy, 25th Bomb Sqd., assigned to Mitchel Field, N.Y. Sgts. Nowak and Daugherty are replacements for Technical Sgt. Henry P. Salmon, 24th Pursuit Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Elbert Dossett, 7th Obs. Sqd., respectively.
The fact that Master Sgt. Gosnear's replacement goes to another field makes us all sort of wonder what is going to happen to the surplus noncommissioned grades that now exist in each Pursuit Squadron due, of course, to the new Peace Time Tables of Organization which have reduced the number of Master, Staff, Bucks and Corporals in the Air Corps. But - WHY WORRY - it won't help us any. Just the same, guard comes pretty often as it is.
The Post Commander recently received a request from the Commander of the American Legion Post of Boston, Mass., for authority for Lt. Crowley, A.C.R., to fly a plane from Boston to Washington to extend an invitation to the President to attend a charity boxing match in Boston. Lt. Crowley was, however, unable to make the trip, his detail to active duty having expired June 26th and there being no authority for Reserve officers to fly x-country while on inactive status.
Capt. Frank Pritchard, Post Signal Officer, was ordered to proceed by airplane to McCook Field for the purpose of having installed on his plane a model SCR183 Radio transmitting and receiving set. Capt. Pritchard was unable to make the trip and the ship was flown to McCook by Cadet Mast, 27th Sqdn. If this set works out satisfactorily and further installations are made in the Group, it will be a simple matter for the Group Operations Officer to grab a phone and order some unfortunate pilot to the ground for a little confidential chat - "And he learned about flying from that."
Lt. Cornelius and Staff Sgt. Newcomb, piloting the new O-1's, ferried two mechanics to Oscoda June 15th, returning the same day. Oscoda is some 200 miles north of Selfridge, but the trip was made in about an hour and 25 min. each way.
Each Pursuit Squadron now has about twelve pursuit ships, and it is understood more are on the way. They include PW-8s, P-1s, P-1-As and P-2s. In addition to these, they have the new O-1s, a few Jennys, AT-1s and DHs. Anyway, there are plenty of ships to keep the mechanics busy. And there is plenty of formation flying which, with the instruction of Reserve Officers, keeps everyone pretty well occupied. Formations are held both morning and afternoon, with routine test and instruction crowded in between.
At the present time there are no songs of the Air Corps at hand, but we are submitting a song familiar in many ways to most every member of the Air Corps and to endless other members of the other branches of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. It isn't really a song, more of a lament, but its true and most any pay day it can be heard at various posts, camps and stations through out the service from Panama to Alaska and from New York to the Philippines:
The Sad Song of a Black Jack Player
"Say did you ever see such luck? Haven't won a bet for an hour. First I play to win and then I play to get even and if I ever got evening in this game I'm long gone. Got a swell date with a sweet mama and I got got to save enough to get to town but the roll sure is going down.
Well, well, things pickin' up around here, first standing hand I've had. Dealer's got to hit too, got a three spot up. Hope he breaks and watch me catch air.
There he goes hittin down again, wish he'd turn his cards up this suspense is awful.
There it is, the whole roll, wan 'a county ?
Come on, don't squeeze 'em so long, you can't rub the spots off and they won't grow in your hands.
Man this is awful!
Whoa, hold on there! Don't take my money I got 'cold turkey.'
What, twenty-one? Well - I'll - be - damned!"
Aug. 23, 1926
The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Inc., has just completed the delivery of ten O-1 Falcon airplanes to the Army Air Corps, and three machines are now undergoing tests at various Army fields. ...
... While this ship is built as an observation plane, the Service is making an intensive study of it as a two-place fighter at Selfridge Field, where it has been found to outperform in many instances at high altitudes the standard pursuit ships. It will later be tried out as an attack plane, where its high speed, quick control and ability for quick dives and "zooms" will be of great advantage.
Premier Speed Pilot Loses Life in Crash (Sept. 22, 1926)
After lingering in the hospital for a week, Lieut. Cyrus K. Bettis, Army Air Corps, premier speed pilot of the United States, passed away at 9 a.m., Sept. 1st, complications developing as a result of the severe injuries he received when he crashed against a mountain near Bellefonte, Pa., during a fog.
Flying back to Selfridge Field, his home station, from the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, with two other members of the 1st Pursuit Group, Lieuts. L.S. Smith and J.J. Williams, a fog was encountered near Bellefonta, Pa., and when it cleared Lieut. Bettis was missing. A search was started, and nearly 48 hours later he was found by road repairers in the mountains near Middletown, Pa., having crawled six miles from the wrecked plane in search of aid, with his jaw fractured and his left leg broken. He was placed in a hospital at Bellefonte and later brought in a Douglas Transport, piloted by Captain Ira C. Eaker and Lieut. J.E. Upston, to the Walter Reed General Hospital. Captain A.W. Smith, flight surgeon, attended Lieut. Bettis on the way, the Transport being fitted out with mattresses as an ambulance.
It was thought at first that Bettis was recovering, as he had shown no ill effects from the hurried trip to Washington from the Pennsylvania hospital, but he suffered a relapse due to meningitis developing, and he had not the strength left to combat the new complications.
Lieut. Bettis was buried at Port Huron, Michigan, not far from his birthplace, Carsonville.
Lieut. Bettis was 33 years of age, having been born on Jan. 2, 1893. Prior to his entry in the Aviation service during the war he was employed as a telephone and radio engineer. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1918, served as a pilot patrolling the Mexican border, and completed a two years' tour of duty in the Philippines. Upon his return from the Islands he was assigned to the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich.
As a participant in the John L. Mitchell Trophy Race at Dayton in 1924, Lieut. Bettis carried off the honors, averaging a speed of 175.45 miles per hour.
The following year, in the International Air Races at Mitchel Field, N.Y., Lieut. Bettis established his title as premier speed pilot when he broke the record for speed over a closed circuit by piloting his Curtiss Racer in the Pulitzer Race at an average speed of 248.99 miles per hour. He and Lieut. James H. Doolittle, who won the Schneider Cup Race last year, were jointly awarded the Clarance Makay Trophy for most meritorious flight of 1925.
The death of this popular and well known pilot is a distinct loss to American aviation.
The Flying Exhibition at Selfridge Field. By Sergeant X.L. Horn (Oct. 16, 1926)
The spirit of the personnel at Selfridge Field, during the early hours of September 18th, were no less damp than the impenetrable veil of fog which hid the face of morning. Success of the Exposition depended entirely upon the weather and dawn foretold but meager success. However a light breeze came to our rescue about 10:00 A.M. and slowly wafted the enshrouding curtain into insignificance and a light crowd began to arrive. By 11:00 A.M. the sun had broken thru and the crowd had increased to a holiday size. Planes came buzzing ini from all directions and success was assured. At 1:00 P.M., the crowd was estimated at 30,000 with more arriving every minute. Just at 1:20 the giant RS-1 with Colonel Paegelow and party aboard arrived, circling the airdrome majestically once or twice and was taken in tow by the landing crew.
Promptly8 at 2:30 P.M. the "Show" started. Major Lanphier leading fifteen P-1a's gave the crowd, which had by this time become enormous, a welcome of Formation Flying. Lieuts. Johnson, Ellicott (Mitchel Trophy winner) and Collinis took the air in P-2's for acrobatics, which was followed by parachute jumps from the NBS-1. Staff Sgt. Dale Allen and Pvt. Baetke pulled off and Pvt. Smith made a live jump from the gunner's cockpit. This event was followed by balloon strafing - a number of pilot balloons were inflated, released and punctured by diving at them with P-1's/ Next came bombing which was very successful. Lieut. Carl J. Crane scored a direct hit with his third bomb. The people then got just what they wanted - thrills. A pursuit pilot went up and performed loops, spins, immelmans, barrel-rolls, dives, sideslips, raked the ground with his wheels at terrific speed and, in fact, did everything that anyone could do with a P-2. There was something doing every minute, but the biggest thrill of all came with Lieut. James H. Collins, dressed as a girl, climbed into the cockpit of an AT-1 for a supposedly free ride. It seemed as if the AT would crash at any minute, but each time she pulled up crazily on her side, only to slip back to within inches of the ground. Some of the oldtimers were a bit scared.
Short work was made of the captive balloon when Lieuts. Johnson, Crane and Ellicott got a few cracks at it with their .30 caliber machine guns. All this time a Curtiss Bomber from Langley Field had been polluting the air with some sort of horrible concoction which was made to produce a smoke screen if she ever got a chance to get into the air. This was finally accomplished with satisfactory results. Good-bye to a formation of six P-1's brought the day to an end - one that will be long remember by all who were present.
Visiting officers during the circus were Lieut. B. Johnson, piloting a DH; Lieut. A. Johnson, piloting a PW-7 Fokker; Lieut. Hunting in a DH; Lieut. Sutton in a Curtiss Bomber NBS-4; Lieut. Eubanks in a Huff-Daland LB-1 and Lieut. White in a DH; all from McCook Field, Dayton, O. Pilots from Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill. Where Lt. Yeager, pilot, with Lieut. Perry Wainer, passenger, in a DH and Lieut. Hart in another. Lieut. Hawkins, piloting a DH enroute to Selfridge from Chanute was forced down at the Ford Airport in Detroit because of a burnt out generator. Lieut. Goddard from Wright Field, Farfield, Ohio, arrived in a DH and Lieut. Steel, from Aberdeen, Md., arrived in a Curtiss Bomber. Lieut. Turner, pilot, and Sgt. Cole, passenger, in a Douglas plane on an extended cross-country from Fort Crockett, Galveston, Texas, remained at Selfridge for the Circus. Major Spatz, formerly Commanding Officer of the 1st Pursuit Group, and now on duty in Washington in the Office, Chief of Air Corps, started for Selfridge but due to heavy fog was forced to remain at Cumberland, Md.
Airship RS-1 Flies to Detroit. By the News Letter Correspondent. (Oct. 16, 1926)
The airship RS-1 shook her handing guys free of the Scott Field landing party and nosed her ponderous way through the calm, cloudless sky, en route to Detroit on September 17th last.
It was the intention of Lieut.-Col. John A. Paegelow, Commanding Officer of Scott Field, and 1st Lieut. Orvil A. Anderson, Commander of the RS-1, to reach the Ford Airport at Dearborn, Mich., on Saturday morning and there test the mooring mast. After this the big airship was to make her appearance at Selfridge Field, returning to the mast for the night. Bright and early Sunday morning it was planned to leave Chicago and thence to Scott Field, but alas, for "the best laid plans of mice and men."
The first part of the program, proceeded almost without incident. Throughout the calm moonlit night the RS-1 pushed her way along her course at an average ground speed of 38 miles per hour, both motors running at half speed. When the first light streaks of dawn appeared on te horizon there before us lay Dearborn and the mast.
After a bit of delay, during with Mr. Von Thaden, balloonist extraordinary, summoned the aid of a small landing crew, the signal was displayed from the mast and the RS-1 prepared to land. Although her yaw cables did not reach the ground, and her only connection to things terrestrial was through the main cable from the flower pot to cup, extremely skillfil handling on the part of her commander and crew soon had her reposing peacefully at the mast, like some giat fish nibbling a lily stalk.
Mr. Henry Ford and other notables were on hand as a reception committee, and as they junctioned in this capacity with Col. Paegelow, the crew replenish the fuel and ballast supply so that soon all was in readiness to continue the flight.
The first fly in the ointment came in the form of a very unfavorable weather report showing thunderstorms approaching Scott Field and threatening to cut off a safe return. En route to Selfridge Field the weather was cussed and discussed, and it was decided to return the RS-1 to her native hangar as soon as possible.
With this idea in view, our stay at Selfridge Field was prolonged just enough to change the oil in the motors. Then, with Colonel Paegelow remaining to see the Air Circus, the RS-1 began her return trip. This trip proved uneventful, and at 2:15 Sunday morning the airship once more settled gently into the hands of her own landing party and the flight was over.
The Modernists Travel (Nov. 12, 1926)
"The ideal way to transport the family, bag and baggage for the summer vacation is by airplane," says Major John F. Curry, Air Corps, McCook Field. Recently Major and Mrs. Curry found themselves with their ten-weeks old daughter, Sheila, at Selfridge Field, Mich. en route to Oscoda, Mich., where they had planned to spend several weeks. While there, the tr-motored Fokker Transport owned by the Continental Motors Company arrived. Somebody suggested that they complete their journey in the Fokker, and when Major Curry expressed not only his willingness but eagerness to do so, arrangements were made and through the courtesy of Mr. Judson, President of Continental Motors, and Lieut. Pond, the pilot, the start was made at about 11:30 a.m.
Miss Sheila, completely at ease, was taken aboard in her bassinet. She slept the entire journey, envincing no excitement whatever. Perhaps she felt so completely at home because her bath tub, electric heater, kiddie cup and and baby carriage were there in the plane with her. Major and Mrs. Curry had also found their baggage problem simplified, as their large wooden trunk, two suitcases and golf bags found room in the same plane.
It was a day of low clouds, the ceiling being at about 500 feet. The 160 miles were covered in an hour and 47 minutes, the travelers arriving fresh and unfatigued, and it was but a step to the hotel. Sheila had not even completed her nap.
Major Curry had not the slightest hesitancy in entrusting his most highly prized possessions to this great tri-motored plane. "We would have felt safe in crossing the continent in it," he said. "As for comfort, there's no comparison between the airplane and other modes of transportation. The railway journey from Detroit to Oscoda was an overnight one on a jerkwater road. Escaping that with a young baby was enough in itself to make us feel years younger."
Flying Cadet Wiseley Meets Death in Accident. By Selfridge Field Correspondent. (Nov. 12, 1926)
Word was received at Headquarters, Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., on October 26th of the death of Flying Cadet Charles M. Wiseley by airplane accident at San Antonio, Texas, on the same day. Cadet Wiseley left Selfridge Field on September 27th with a detachment of the First Pursuit Group pilots to take part in the production of the Ocean picture "Wings" at San Antonio . He was flying an MB-3, ground straffing, when he met his death in a spin to the ground.
Cadet Wiseley was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and was 29 years of age. He is survived by his father, Martin L. Wiseley. Cadet Wiseley enlisted September 7, 1917, and from June, 1918, to October, 1919, served as a 2nd Lieut. of Infantry. He took up flying in 1922 and graduated as a Flying Cadet at Brooks Field, Texas. He was discharged from the 10th School Group at Kelly Field, Texas, February 1, 1924 and served as both an enlisted man and Flying Cadet with the 94th Pursuit Squadron from March 17, 1924 to January 7, 1926 when he purchased his discharge to accompany Major T.C. Lanphier on the Detroit Arctic Expedition. He reenlisted by a special order from the War Department on his return from the Polar Flight on July 8th of this year and has since served with the 94th Squadron.
Cadet Wiseley has flown 1,275 hours in all types of pursuit ships. Wiseley was rated as "one of the best men at Selfridge," and his loss is keenly felt by a host of friends both among the officers and enlisted personnel.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, October 19th.
The Group heard the call of the "Movies!" on Sept. 27th when 1st Lieut. J. Thad Johnson, 1nd Lieuts. Carl J. Crane, Kirtley J. Gregg, William L. Cornelius, Clarence C. Irvine and Cadet Charles M. Wiseley took flight for San Antonio by the Selfridge-Scott-Muskogee-Dallas-Fort Worth-San Antonio route for participation in the picture "Wings." Barring the possibility of these embryo "actors" signing life-long contracts with the films, their return is xpected about October 25th.
Second Lieutenant W.G. Plummer from Kelly Field joined the First Pursuit Group and brought with him the sad news that 2nd Lieut. C.P. Bradley, who was to have accompanied him north to Selfridge, suffered an injury to his shoulder in an automobile accident near San Antoniio when he was run down by another car. It is reported that Lieut. Bradley will be a hospital patient for some weeks to come.
First Lieut. George H. Finch, A.C.R., 2nd Lieut. Leonard H. Rodeick, 94th Sqdn. and 2nd Lieut. Joseph G. Hopkins, A.C.R., took flight from the Sequi-Centennial Air Park at Philadephia, relieving Lieuts. Hunter, Smith and Williams from duty with the Composite Air Corps Squadron to enable them to return for aerial gunnery.
On Sunday, October 17th, Major T.G. Lanphier, C.O. of the first Pursuit Group, 1st Lieuts. Victor H. Strahm and L.C. Mallory took off for Youngstown, Ohio, to take part in the dedication ceremonies of the Flying Field at that place, and perform acrobatics with their fast pursuit planes.
The friends of 1st Lieut. Stanton T. Smith of the Little Rock Intermediate Depot, welcomed his brief visit to Selfridge Field while he was en route to Camp Skeel for aerial gunnery work. Lieut. Smith was stationed at Selfridge prior to his southern assignment and seemed delighted to return again to the 1st Pursuit Group, even though his sojourn will be brief.
Major Harley W. Lake, A.C. Reserve, left Selfridge for cross-country training for Bolling Field in a PW-8. Major and Mrs. Lake are the house guests of Capt. And Mrs. Vincent B. Dixon during the Major's period of training.
The "log book" at Operations Office discloses, among other things, the following flights during the past week: Capt. Frank H. Pritchard, C.O. 17tth Sqdn., to Bolling Field; Cadet Wm. H. Doolittle to Toledo; Cadet Ernest H. Lawton piloted 1st Lieut. Richard C. Coupland, Ordnance Dept. to McCook Field; 2nd Lieut. Lee Cehiback (name garbled), 94th Sqdn. to Mitchel Field, L.I., N.Y.; Cadet John E. Bodle, 27th Squadron to Bellefonte, Pa.; and Cadet Wm. H. Doolittle to Bryan, Ohio.
Selfridge Field, Mt Clemens, Mich., October 26th.
Second Lieut. Norman S. Fuller, A.C. Reserve, of Waterman, Ill., is scheduled to join the Group for two weeks training on Nov. 1st.
Word comes that 1st Lieut. Hugh C. Minter will join the Group shortly after his return to the States from the Canal Zone.
Cadet Ernest H. Lawson, accompanied by Mr. N. Wolfe, of the Michigan National Guard, flew to Youngstown, Ohio. Second Lieut. Lee Gehlback, 94th Sqdn. took off for Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill. On October 25th.
From Camp Skeel, Oscoda, Mich., where Capt. Hugh Elmendorf, 1st Lieuts. Arthur G. Liggett, Irwin S. Amberg, 2nd Lieuts. Lawrence C. Ellicott and Charles H. Deerwester are engaged in hennery maneuvers, word comes of continued activity. First Lieut. Stanton T. Smith did some excellent shooting at the targets, making 772 hits out of a possible 1000, a score much above "expert" without any difficulty.
The Air Corps battled the Infantry for supremacy as holders of the State Military Football Championship on Saturday, October 23rd, when the Selfridge Fliers met the 2nd Infantry at Fort Wayne, Mich. in an exciting struggle which ended with a 6-3 score for the Infantrymen, and sent them on to Fort Sheridan to wrestle for the championship of the Sixth Corps Area on November 13th. Both teams fought a hard battle before a large crowd of spectators from both posts, and both sides were literally "speechless" after the game from the ardor that let itself loose in enthusiastic yelling for "our" team. Selfridge played the Pontiac (Michigan) merchants on the next day and staged a comeback with a 14-12 victory.
The officers at Fort Wayne entertained the officers from Selfridge Field after the game at a delightful dancing party, which was held in the beautifully decorated Officer's Club. After that the defeat was not so hard to take.
Mechanics School Started At Selfridge Field (Dec. 16, 1926)
A Post School offering courses in academic subjects, Motor Mechanics, Airplane Rigging, Wood Working and Auto Mechanics was inaugurated at Selfridge Field on October 29th, and a large enrollment was reported from each of the squadrons. The School of Instruction in personnel work also commenced at the same time.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., Nov. 2 (1926)
The Mt. Clemens Gas Company installed a huge storage tank, 32 ft., in diameter. It is now painted a dull grey but may be surfaced with a silver-aluminum paint to serve as an airplane land marker.
The work of re-roofing the hangers is well under way. In addition to this work, the construction program for 1927 includes a new platform for the Air Corps Station Supply, a new heater for the Dope House, in order that doping may be done at any time, and new hangar doors, the contract for which has already been let, the repairing of Hangar 16, and the repairing of furnaces in all hangars. Several other projects are ready to be contracted for.
Japan Honors World Fliers (Dec. 31, 1926)
Appreciating the wonderful feat accomplished by the Army Air Corps pilots in circling the globe by airplane, the Japanese Government recently conferred decorations on members of the Round-the-World Flight. Colonel Noburu Morita, Imperial Japanese Army, Military Attache, accompanied by Major Kikuichi Abe and Captain Saburo Isoda, Imperial Japanese Army, made the presentation of the decorations to the Hon. Dwight F. Davis, Secretary of War, who accepted them on behalf of the personnel of the flight, all of whom being too distant to make it practicable for them to attend in person. Among those present at the presentation were Major Generals John L. Hines and Mason M. Patrick.
Captain Lowell H. Smith, Lieuts. Leslie P. Arnold and Henry H. Ogden were awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, while Lieuts. Leigh wade, Erik H. Nelson and John Harding, Jr., were awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.
The decoration of Lieut. Wade, now out of the service, was made to him at Governor's Island, N.Y. by Brig. General Hugh A. Drum, in the presence of the entire headquarters staff and many prominent persons interested in aeronautics.
Lieut. Ogden's decoration was conferred on him at Selfridge Field, Mich., on December 12th by Major Thomas G. Lanphier, Commanding Officer of that field. The ceremony took place in a hangar on account of rainy weather. All of the squadrons of the field were lined up in formation when the presentation took place and many visitors were also present. The citation awarding the decoration to Lieut. Ogden was read by Chaplain O'Neill. A letter from the Japanese Ambassador at Washington was read along with the citation.
After being congratulated by Major Lanphier and other officers on the post, an aerial review was held for Lieut. Ogden and later he, with a delegation from the field, attended a reception for General Umberto Nobile, an Italian airman, who with Roald Amundsen, the famous explorer, and Lincoln Ellsworth, flew across the North Pole last summer in a dirigible.
Lieut. Ogden was a mechanician in the plane piloted by Lieut. Wade. These two fliers had the mishap of being forced down into the Atlantic Ocean whle on the hop from the Orkney Islands to Iceland. They were rescued by the U.S. Cruiser Richmond.
Lieuts. Nelson and Arnold received their decorations on December 6th at Fort MacArthur, near Los Angeles, Calif., Lieut-Col. William G. Peace, Commanding Officer of the post, making the presentation. The Japanese Consul, Cuichi Ohashi, was among those attending the ceremony.
"Smiling Jack" Harding, who was the mechanic in the World Cruiser, "New Orleans" piloted by Lieut. Nelson, came to New Orleans, La., December 3rd and, in the presence of a group of Army officers of the 87th Division, was presented with his decoration by Colonel Robert P. McMillan, Chief of Staff of that Division, as the officers stood at salute in front of the Army Supply Base. Harding continued to smile in the way which, according to Lieut. Nelson and other of the world fliers, won him friends from the frigid north to the tropical countries where the fliers touched, as he was given the white and yellow pendant and button insignia and as he shook the hand of M. Yagi, the Japanese Consul-General at New Orleans. Lieut. Harding is now engaged in air mail flying at Tampa, Fla.
The award of the decoration of Captain Lowell H. Smith, now stationed in Hawaii, has no doubt been made by this time, but no report has yet been received in regard thereto.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich. (Dec. 31, 1926)
Major Thomas G. Lanphier recently addressed the regular monthly meeting of the Dames of the Loyal Legion of Michigan, in Detroit. Major Lanphier hit the pacifists when he warned of the false sense of security given the United States by their propaganda, and stated: "The safest way to keep out of a war is to have a defense equal to the power of one's greatest enemy." He also described some of his recent experiences in Alaska and said that he learned while there that flying is possible practically the year round, with some midwinter conditions better than they are in the Michigan climate. Aerial attack by way of Siberia and Alaska, over a land route would be possible in case of war, the Major said.
With the arrival of Lieuts. Hunter, Smith and Williams from Philadelphia, all activities between this field and Camp Anthony Wayne have ceased. Coincident with their arrival was a letter received from Brig. Gen. H.G. Learnard, Commanding General of the Sesqui-Centennial Composite Forces at Camp Anthony Wayne, commending the officers and enlisted men of this post for the fine spirit of co-operation they displayed while on duty there.
Lieut. Streett, accompanied by Master Sgt. Tittel, went to Cleveland, O., im a Douglas Transport to study the lighting system in effect at the Air Mail Field at that place. It is contemplated installing a lighting system somewhat on the same lines at this field. Among the unusual things planned for the lighting system at this Field is a 50,000,000 candle power searchlight. Staff Sgt. Newcomb piloted the Transport to and From Cleveland. The General Electric plant in Cleveland was also visited.
Pilots of the First Pursuit Group will commence work in gunnery on specially designed balloons with a view of determining their adaptability for use as targets in aerial gunnery. The balloons were designed by the anti-aircraft units under the provisions of A.R. 760-400, Par. 4. The balloon when inflated measures about 28 or 30 inches, is of rugged construction, and has a vertical ascent from one yard to about 190 yards. The maximum efficiency will be obtained when the balloon is inflated so that it will have a rate of ascent to about 140 yards a minute, leaving plenty of elasticity in the balloon so that it may expand when it gets to a higher altitude.
By deafeating the 17th Pursuit Squadron, 6 to 0, the 57th Pursuit Squadron football team established its title to the championship of Selfridge Field.
Arctic Explorer Lectures to Selfridge Field Personnel (Jan. 25, 1927)
Selfridge Field personnel were recently honored with the presence of Captain George Hubert Wilkins, Arctic Explorer, who lectures on his experiences and incidentally the experiences of Major Thomas J. Lanphier, Air Corps, while they were members of the Detroit Arctic Expedition of 1926.
The lecture was illustrated with moving pictures taken of the Expedition, both in the United States and the Arctic Regions. The Captain was introduced to the audience by Major Lanphier, who made a brief introductory speech relating among other incidents that his rating while a member of the Expedition "was about that of a Private, First Class." Both the Major and Captain Wilkins praised each other for their tireless energy toward the success of the work accomplished. , not forgetting to mention the names of the late Sergeant Wiseley, and Hutchinson, "Hutch," he was called, the newspaper correspondent who lost his life while with the Expedition in Alaska.
The pictures showed the crashes of both planes of the Expedition, which unfortunately occurred within 24 hours of each other and Captain Wilkins said it was hard to realize how they felt after the second of these crashes, especially in view of the enormous cost of transporting these planes to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Scenes depicting the life of Eskimos, how they catch seals for food and clothing, the yearly festival including folk dances, how the children play while bundled up in their fur clothing were all very interesting and instructive.
Scenery of the Endicott Mountains was marvelous. Little is known about these regions. Captain Wilkins discovered that the mountain peaks of the Endicott Range are 4000 to 5000 feet higher than as recorded on existing maps. This made flying over these mountains for the first time extremely hazardous, and Captain Wilkins said that on one of the trips over these mountains a wheel actually touched the peak of one of them, so that their lives were in jeopardy at that time.
Late reports at this time convey the information that Captain Wilkins has been financed by the Detroit News to continue his explorations in the Arctic Regions where he discontinued them last summer. It is believed he will use the same ships which have been stored in Fairbanks. They will be repaired, overhauled and certain changes will be made in them.
Captain Wilkins is leaving Detroit immediately, if he has not already left, for Fairbanks, Alaska, at which place he expects to arrive by February 23rd, and after ferrying supplies to Point Barrow at which place he already has 3500 gallons of gasoline stored, he expects to begin his explorations from there as a base by March 15th. The section of the Arctic Circle which Capt. Wilkins expects to explore has never been touched by the foot of man. If land is discovered, he will claim it for the United States. Much scientific work is to be accomplished, soundings made, etc.
The Good Will Flight to Canada (Feb. 17, 1927)
Twelve pursuit ships and one Douglas Transport took off from Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., January 24th on a flight to Canada, the purpose being to provide a practical test in mobility of the present type of pursuit planes under the most severe conditions that can be found in the vicinity of that field. This flight was the first test to date with a view of ascertaining the mobility of pursuit ships when equipped with skis in extremely cold weather. Previous maneuvers of the 1st Pursuit Group have had to do with the operation of planes and machines in severe cold weather at Oscoda, Mich., and in these maneuvers the fliers learned valuable lessons in winter flying.
Another very important reason for making the flight into Canada was to comply with urgent requests of representatives of the Canadian Government, as well as prominent Canadian citizens, that a flight from Selfridge Field visit some portion of Canada while in maneuvers for the purpose of stimulating there greater interest in aviation, both commercial and military.
Officers participating in the flight were Major Thomas G. Lanphier, 1st Lts. St. Clair Streett, L.C. Mallory, A.G. Liggett, G.G. Finch, F.C. Crowley, 2nd Lts. J.J. Williams, L.H. Rodieck, L.C. Ellicott, lee Gehlbach, C.H. Deerwester and J.G. Hopkins. The Douglas Transport carrying mechanics and supplies for the flight was piloted by Staff Sgts. Archie Bailey, Barney E. Fuller, Frank Deeman, Earl B. Redifer and Sgt. Wm. H. Ross.
With the precision of taxicabs keeping a train appointment, the 12 airplanes landed on the ice of the Ottawa River shortly after noon on the 24th, after a flight of 430 miles from Selfridge Field, and taxied on their skis to parking places on the river bank. The non-stop flight to Ottawa was a complete success, the average speed being about7 135 miles an hour and the distance being covered in two hours, 55 minutes. The Douglass Transport landed at Camp Borden for refueling and arrived sometime later.
At night the personnel of the flight were guests of the Royal Canadian Air Force at a formal ball. On the following day the American airmen continued their friendly invasion of Canada by a flight to Montreal, 100 miles distant. A crowd of about 15,000 persons cheered the fliers prior to their departure. Schools were dismissed to enable the pupils to witness the unusual event. Sub-zero weather at Ottawa caused considerable trouble in starting the motors, and it was not until afternoon that the ships were able to head towards Montreal. En route two severe snow storms forced the entire flight of 13 ships to make two landings on the Ottawa River. The failure of the fliers to arrive on schedule caused considerable apprehension. A crowd waited almost four hours to greet the planes, as they were at first expected before noon. The fliers landed at Bois Franc Field, ten miles north of Montreal and were greeted by the American Consul-General, officials of the City of Montreal, officers of the Canadian Air Force and officers of the American Legion.
Extremely cold weather delayed the flight several days at Montreal, considerable difficulty being experienced in starting the motors.
From Montreal the Pursuit Group fliers pointed their ships to Buffalo, N.Y., and the return flight to Selfridge was completed at 2:00 P.M. January 30th.
A full report of this flight will be published in the next issue of the News Letter.
Test Flight of Wilkins' Arctic Airplane (March 10, 1927)
The Stinson-Detroiter airplane, which will be used by Captain George Hubert Wilkins in his quest for unknown lands in the Arctic regions, north of Point Barrow, next March and April, was recently given weight carrying tests at Selfridge Field, Mich., The plane was tested with a load ofy 2,000 lbs., and with skis, both of which tests being satisfactory.
Two thousand pounds approximates the load the plane will have to carry when it leaves the ground for exploration flights, comprising gasoline, 1500 lbs., oil, 50 lbs., and the weight of Pilot Ben Eielson and Capt. Wilkins, food equipment and instruments, about 450 pounds.
Eddie Stinson, designer and builder of the ship, was at the controls during the test flights, with Capt. Wilkins as passenger. Stinson flew the ship from the Ford Airport to Selfridge Field. The ship has five gas tanks.
The Friendly Invasion of Canada (March 10, 1927)
The flight of 12 pursuit airplanes and one transport plane from Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., to Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, Buffalo, N.Y. and return to Selfridge Field, afforded the First Pursuit Group many interesting experiences in connection with flying in sub-arctic weather.
The purpose of the flight was to provide a practical test of the mobility of the present type of pursuit planes under the most severe weather conditions, using skis for the landing gear of the planes instead of wheels. Another very important reason for the flight into Canada was to comply with the wishes of representatives of the Canadian Government, as well as prominent citizens ofy the Dominion, that a flight from Selfridge Field visit some portion of Canada while on maneuvers for the purpose of stimulating there greater interest in aviation. Securing the necessary authorization for the flight to Canada from the War Department also the official permission of the Canadian Government, the flight departed from Selfridge Field on the morning of January 24th, the pilots of the 12 pursuit planes being Major Thomas G. Lanphier (commanding), Lieuts. St. Clair Streett, Arthur G. Liggett, L.C. Mallory, John J. Williams, Leonard H. Rodieck, Lawrence C. Elliott, Lee Gehlbach, Charles H. Deerwester, George G. Finch, Francis C. Crowley and Joseph G. Hopkins. The transport plane, carrying six mechanics and the necessary spare parts, was piloted by Staff Sergeant Byron K. Newcomb.
When the flight reached Ottawa, the tail skids were removed from all of the 12 pursuit ships and the rudders from five of them. They were taken to the shops of the Royal Canadian Air Force to be repaired. The tail skids were fitted with a wide, spoon-like surface to prevent the tails of the airplanes from sinking in the crusted snow. It was learned the next day that the Canadian Air Force mechanics had worked all night bracing and welding these fittings for the tail skis and repairing the broken rudders. This service was only one indication of the splendid hospitality and helpfulness extended the flight by their Canadian neighbors, and to which may be attributed the successful landings made during the remainder of the flight.
The departure of the flight from Ottawa was delayed by reason of the fact that trouble was experienced in starting the motors, due to cold weather. With the aid of a portable steam heating plant with is used in Ottawa to thaw out fire plugs during winter weather, the flight was able to leave in formation a little over an hour behind schedule.
During the 100-mile flight between Ottawa and Montreal, the formation twice ran into heavy snow storms and was forced to make a landing each time. At Montreal a temperature of 22 degrees below zero greeted the fliers. Difficulty in starting the motors, due to the frigid weather, made it necessary for the friendly invaders to remain an extra day in Montreal. During the flight from Montreal to Buffalo, N.Y., poor visibility and the approach of a snow storm caused the fliers to land on a frozen river near Clayton, N.Y., at which town they spent the night.
The return flight from Buffalo to Selfridge Field was a constant struggle by the pilots to keep the planes upright, due to the extreme roughness of the air.
At the start of the flight good weather was assured over the route to Ottawa, with a 20 mile an hour tail wind from the southwest. Poor visibility was somewhat of a hinderance for the first 25 miles over the country northeast of Lake St. Clair, but this condition rapidly cleared when the lakes were left behind and, although the sky was overcast, the visibility was excellent. It was gratifying to note the increasing amount of snow on the ground as the flight progressed eastward. Flying a compass course for the first 150 miles at an altitude of about 1,000 feet over Ontario carried the fliers over country level, with fairly large fenced fields, adequate for landing with skis. South of Lake Simcoe, a rougher type of country was encountered, being slightly rolling, more wooded and interspersed with small lakes. The fields were smaller and all fenced, making the prospect of a safe landing somewhat problematic.
Progressing further eastward the character of the terrain changed rapidly, becoming heavily wooded and rough, impossible for landing except on the many frozen snow-covered lakes which dotted the entire country in the vicinity of Lindsay, Ontario. This country looks as though a huge rake had been drawn across it from the north to the south. The ridges are low, extremely rough, close together and covered with boulders, lakes and ponds affording the only level spots on which to attempt a forced landing.
Coincident with the rough country came snow, forcing the fliers down to about 400 feet above ground. With no land marks and only the compass to direct them they had many misgivings. The occasional cabin with a small clearing around was a gladdening sight, but they came only scattered. After covering approximately 150 miles of this country, through intermittent snow squalls, during which the visibility was cut down to almost nothing, the Ottawa River was reached and then the town of Marchhurst. The flight turned southward and ran into snow, which continued until Ottawa was reached.
The fliers saw the black circle on the snow of the river just south of the inter-provincial bridge in front of the City of Ottawa. Flying a close formation, coupled with poor visibility, smoke, and snow, made it impossible to gain many impressions of hte seat of government of the Dominion of Canada. They were intent upon making a successful landing in front of the assembled populace of the Capital of Canada.
The rather restricted zone available for landing made it necessary to land each plane individually, the flight remaining in a Lufberry circle as the planes in turn dove successively for the landing circle.
Although the time taken for the actual flight from Selfridge Field to Ottawa, a distance of 430 miles, was only 2 hours and 55 minutes, it required about 15 minute4s to land the entire flight of 12 ships on the snow of the Ottawa River. The snow covering on the ice was about 20 inches in depth, but all ships landed safely, with the exception of a few broken rudders, caused by the sharp tail skids with which the airplanes were equipped cutting through the snow crust and allowing the unprotected rudders to come in contact with the hard packed snow. This experience showed the necessity for providing a special tail skid with enough surface to prevent the tails from sinking in the snow when taking off and landing.
The fliers were warmly greeted upon their arrival by Viscount Willingdon, the Governor-General of Canada; Viscountess Willingdon; Group Commander J. Stanley Scott, Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force, with the officers of his staff. Although unwilling to leave the ships out until they had been prepared for the next day's flight, the fliers were all assured that same would be properly taken care of until the mechanics should arrive in the transport from Camp Borden, north of Toronto, where it had stopped to refuel.
After making arrangements for the draining of water and oil by the efficient and courteous mechanics of the Canadian Air Force the fliers were taken to a luncheon given by the Rotary Club of Ottawa. The Minister of Defense and the Mayor verbally extended a welcome to Ottawa and to Canada. In the midst of the entertainment the transport was heard over the city, denoting that the entire force had arrived safely.
The time set for the departure from Ottawa was twelve o'clock noon on January 25th. The repaired rudders and new tail skids were all installed, and after the delay occasioned by the difficulty in starting the engines, the flight left in formation for Montreal at 1:10 P.M. Before leaving the vicinity of Ottawa a light snow squall was encountered. Heading northeast, down the Ottawa River towards Montreal, the fliers soon ran into blue skies and beautiful weather. With about a 15-mile an hour tail wind, they were progressing beautifully when, in the vicinity of Vendover, a heavy snow storm was encountered. It was so thick that it was impossible to keep all the planes of the flight in sight at one time, so a landing was made to await the passing of the storm.
The entire flight landed down wind, singly, on the Ottawa River. The snow varied in depth from two to four feet. This uniform depth was occasioned by the snow drifting before a crust had formed. The landing at this time subjected the ski equipment to the most severe test experienced during the entire trip. The necessity for immediate landing to avoid confusion and possible collision resulted in downwind landings, thus creating a worse condition that had an up wind landing been practicable. The planes landed at about 65 miles an hour on a thinly crusted undulating surface, and in many cases the noses of the skis cut through and cascaded large pieces of crusted snow high into the air. At no time, however, did any of the planes show a tendency toward nosing over during this landing, and the effectiveness of the spooned tail skids had been demonstrated, none of them sinking into the snow to a greater depth than three inches and preventing injury to the rudders.
About twenty minutes later the snow squall passed off to the east and the fliers resumed their journey only to shortly thereafter run into a blinding snow storm in the vicinity of Little Rideau, on the Ottawa River. As they were about to land, the transport plane overtook them and was soon lost in the welter of snow. The landing was made behind a little island on smooth ice, covered with not more than two inches of snow. The area was somewhat restricted by open water on both ends of the island, the zone available for landing being not more than 1,200 feet long by 600 feet wide, but the entire flight landed individually without the slightest mishap.
After a wait of about twenty minutes, during which times the motors were running, the storm passed off to the eastward, and the short flight to Cartierville, the landing field near Montreal was quickly made. Shortly after leaving Little Rideau, the transport plane was spied on the ice of the Ottawa River, just south of Chute a Blandeau where it had been forced to land on account of the storm.
At three ten the first ship landed at Cartierville, quickly followed by the others. The transport, which flew over the field half an hour later, made no attempt to land, proceeding to Bay St. Louis for a landing on the ice, due to the limited area of the landing field.
The fliers were met by representative of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Pro-Mayor of Montreal, and representatives of the U.S. Consular Service. These men willingly waited until the ships were prepared against the cold and the necessary chores had been done before leaving them to the guards, since the mechanics would not be available until the next day. The City of Montreal extended her welcome in true French-Canadian style. It was decided to remain in Montreal another day to allow the mechanics to go over the motors. The temperature having dropped to 22 degrees below zero, no attempt was made that day to start the motors, the day being spent in carefully inspecting them and keeping them limbered up with steam heating plants furnished by the City of Montreal.
The weather on Thursday proved slightly colder than the day before so that it was practically impossible to get all of the engines running in time for the flight to Buffalo that day. It required about an hour to start each motor and it was necessary to keep the motor running after once it was started. Use was made of a city steam boiler, such as was had in Ottawa, but having only one it was impossible to leave all the planes idling while waiting for the others to get started. The main difficulty encountered was the congealing of the oil on the cylinder walls of the motors. This would get so stiff that it was practically impossible to turn the propellers over without preheating the motors.
On Friday the weather moderated and, after considerable difficulty, eleven ships were able to leave the ground at 1:00 P.M. Engine trouble experienced by the twelfth plane precluded the possibility of the entire flight leaving Montreal at that time. Two o'clock saw nine of the planes circling overhead preparatory to the flight to Buffalo, one with engine trouble and the other two waiting to accompany it when it could be made ready to continue.
Flying a compass course to Pulaski, N.Y.., the route left the vicinity of the St. Lawrence River and the adjoining level country with open fields, where a landing might be made at any time on the snow-covered earth, and led to a country scantily wooded though increasingly rugged and generally impossible for a landing even with skis. The skies were lowering and it began to snow. Weather conditions becoming worse, the flight veered northward until the St. Lawrence with its smooth ice, where a landing might be made almost at random, was reached. The weather finally became so bad and the visibility so poor that it was necessary to fly at an altitude of not over 200 feet, and finally a landing was made on the clear ice in the little cove just off Fishers Landing and the ships taxied to shelter under the fringe of boat houses along the shore. The flier had been in the air, struggling against a heavy southwest wind, for an hour and 45 minutes, and it would have been impracticable to proceed to Buffalo on the face of the gathering storm, with the possibility that the snow cover on the Buffalo Airport might have been obliterated by the warm south winds that were blowing at that time. The airmen, upon landing, found it so warm that they considered it inadvisable to drain water or oil, it being improbably that the temperature would drop sufficiently to make it difficult to start the engines. A 30% solution of alcohol was used in the radiators, and the oil in the crankcases, which was of a medium heavy grade, was changed for a lighter, Arctic oil at Ottawa.
At Clayton, N.Y., where the night it was spent, it was learned that the three planes which remained at Montreal left there at 3:20 p.m. but on account of bad weather were forced to return. Instead of Cartierville they landed on the ice of Bay St. Louis where they might have the services of the mechanics of the Transport plane. They stated they would proceed to Buffalo as soon as the weather would permit, rejoining the remainder of the flight there. By nine o'clock the snow had turned to rain and the fliers rested secure in the belief that no difficulty would be experienced in starting the engines the next day. They learned that their landing at Fishers Landing was, indeed, fortunate, for the rain had erased all traces of snow from the Buffalo field, and would receive word in the morning of a suitable landing area on the ice of Lake Erie or the Buffalo River. In the meantime, knowing the difficulty that would be experienced in finding a suitable location for the landing of the flight in the vicinity of Buffalo under changed weather conditions, it was tentatively planned to fly to Camp Borden, north of Toronto, where the snow cover was still intact, or, if sufficient gasoline and oil could be procured, fly direct to Selfridge Field and land on the ice of Lake St. Clair, having little hope of finding snow on the field itself.
After a restful night in Clayton, the fliers repaired to their planes and succeeded in getting them all started, though one gave considerable trouble for a time due to a drenched magneto. They learned from Buffalo that Roy Keys, of the Curtiss Airplane and Motor Corporation, had located a satisfactory area for their landing and that it was marked and in readiness for them.
Leaving Fishers Landing and the beautiful Thousand Island country at 1:50 P.M. and flying along the shores of Lake Ontario, Buffalo was reached at 4:10 P.M. The landing area selected was the ice, within the breakwater, at the mouth of the Buffalo River. It was quite long and about a thousand feet wide, consisting of much ice blown by the wind against the shore and frozen. Though rough, no difficulty was experienced in making a safe landing.
The fliers remained in Buffalo over night, after preparing their planes for the flight to Selfridge Field the next day. Mechanics of the Curtiss Airplane and Motor Corporation refueled the ships and made minor adjustments of equipment as required. It was learned that Lieuts. Liggett, Deerwester and Gehlbach had left at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, but due to the loss of water from his radiator, Lieut. Liggett had brought his flight to a landing at Alexandria Bay, N.Y., only five miles east of Fishers Landing, where the remainder of the Group was even then making ready for the take-off to Buffalo. After making the necessary repairs to Lieut. Liggett's plane, the three planes again took off for Buffalo at 2:00 P.M. but while passing over Woodville, N.Y. the high pressure oil lead in Lieut. Gehlbach's plane broke, forcing him to an immediate landing, which he successfully negotiated on ground only partly covered with snow.
The pilots of the remaining two planes, upon assuring themselves of the success of Lt. Gehlback's landing and upon his signaling them to proceed, continued on their way. The overheating of Lieut. Deerwester's engine forced a landing on the ice of Irondequiot Bay, six miles north of Rochester, N.Y. After replenishing the water in the radiator and being again ready to proceed, Lieut. Liggett's motor failed on the take-off and forestalled further progress that day; in fact, until considerable repairs could be made to his plane.
The nine planes of the flight left Buffalo at 11:15 A.M. Sunday, getting away safely despite heavy wind directly across the narrow ice runway in the Buffalo harbor. The remaining 250 miles of the distance home required two hours and 55 minutes of flying against a heavy west wind. When a landing was at last made on the runways marked out on the surface of Anchor Bay of St. Clair Lake, at 2:10 P.M., Jan. 30th, the fliers were very glad to be home, despite their many interesting experiences.
Lieut. Gehlbach replaced his broken oil line from spares carried in his ship and accomplish the astonishing feat of taking off with skis from the ground bare of snow, arriving at Selfridge Fiel;d at 6:00 P.M. January 30th.
Lieuts. Liggett and Deerwester arrived at their home field on February 1st, after having their planes and engines thoroughly gone over by mechanics sent out by the Curtiss Airplane and Motor Corporation from Buffalo. Their skis had been supplanted by wheels.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., February 9th (1927)
Since the return of the First Pursuit Group from the Canadian trip it has been working on pursuit tactics and the solution of problems prepatory to the combined maneuvers in April.
To date there has been considerable conjecture as to just where and with whom these combined maneuvers are to take place. One plan is to send the Group to Narrangansett Bay for work with the Navy during their maneuvers in the spring. The alternative is to send the Group to San Antonio where it can work in conjunction with the Second Division.
Tentative plans are being made to finish record firing at ground and tow targets in the near future here at the field. The Group is also to start bombing practice within the month.
Lieut. Luther S. Smith has been transferred to Kelly Field, Texas, is to report at that station upon expiration of leave of absence.
Upon the arrival of pursuit planes piloted by Lieut. Arthur G. Liggett and Charles H. Deerwester, and the Douglas Transport piloted by Staff Sgt. Byron K. Newcomb, all ships participating in the flight to Canada have now returned. The Transport carried mechanics and supplies for the trip.
Lieut. Julian B. Haddon has been ordered here after completing his tour in the Philippines.
Selfridge Field, Mich., February 15th (1927)
While flying in formation and while coming out7 of a dive, Lieut. Mallory did not pull up soon enough and hit the tail surface of the plane piloted by Lieut. Hopkins, causing the controls to jam. At first Lieut. Hopkins was going to jump, but Lieut. Strahm signaled him not to jump but to try to land, which Lieut. Hopkins succeeded in doing. One the following day, Lieut. Mallory, in order to avoid being taxied into by Lieut. Johnson, ground looped his plane after landing, causing one broken wheel.
Pvt. Herbert C. Sherman, 95th Pursuit Squadron, qualified for appointment as Flying Cadet and will be sent to Brooks Field for primary flying training on March 1st.
Lieut. Crowley cracked up a PW-8 at Buffalo Airport on February 4th, washing out one wing and breaking a wheel. A wing was shipped from this field and installed by the Curtiss Company at Buffalo. Cadet Hovey and Sgt. Shannon in a DH transported a wheel on Feb. 10th. Lieut. Crowley proceeded to Mitchel Field, arriving there at 4:15 P.M. on that date.
Lieut. Finch, pilot, and Capt. Collins, M.C., in a DH, on a flight from McCook Field for Selfridge, were forced down at Toledo, O., on account of darkness, landing at Ruthinger's Field. They resumed their journey early the following morning, reaching Selfridge Field at 8:00 A.M.
Lieut. Lyon, our old Supply Officer, came up from McCook, Feb. 7th in a DH, for the purpose of taking back Lieut. Tourtellot. On the same day, Lieut. Tourtellot brought back one of the P-2s which had hydraulic brakes installed.
Lieut.[ Batten arrived here from McCook, Feb. 10th, for the purpose of transporting to that field Capt. Woolson of the Packard Motor Car Company.
Lieut. Wolf and Capt. Edwards, in a DH, from the Radio Division, Signal Section, McCook Field, made a flight to Selfridge, being in communication with McCook during the flight. They reported that the signals came in clear.
Lieut. Frank O'D. Hunter returned from the Walter Reed General Hospital, where he was receiving treatment, and resumed his duties as Operations Officer and Aircraft Accident Investigating Officer.
Lieut. Irwin S. Amberg resigned his commission, Feb. 19th, to enable him to carry on the business of his father in Detroit. Lieut. Amberg will not sever his connection to the Air Corps entirely, however, as he has signified his desire to remain on the reserve list.
Selfridge Field Fliers Greet General Summerall (March 10, 1927)
Major-General Charles P. Summerall, Chief of Staff, U.S.A., on arriving in Detroit recently, was greeted by a squadron of airplanes of the First Pursuit Group, commanded by Major Thomas G. Lanphier, commanding officer of Selfridge Field.
While in Detroit, General Summerall was the guest of the Michigan Department Reserve Officers' Association of the United States, which held its first annual winter convention in that city. General Summerall was greeted at the Union Depot by distinguished officials, among whom were Governor Fred W. Green and Major-Genera; Guy M. Wilson, of the Michigan National Guard. Later he was guest of honor at a luncheon.
After visiting Fort Wayne, General Summerall left on an afternoon train for Washington. Those composing the flight from Selfridge Field, in addition to Major Lanphier, were Captains Elmendorff, Dixon, Pritchard, Lieuts. Strahm, Mallory, Williams, Rodieck, Elliott, Deerwester, Gehlbach, Finch and Hopkins.
Sir Alan Cobham Visits Selfridge Field (March 31, 1927)
Sir Alan Cobham, famous British aviator, recently visited Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., while on a tour of inspection of American airplane plants and flying fields. He made a tor of the field and hangars and expressed admiration for the demonstrations and equipment shown him to Major Lanphier, Commanding Officer of the 1st Pursuit Group. Sir Alan flew to the Ford Airport from Selfridge Field with Eddie Stinson and then left for New York.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., March 15th (1927)
In the last issue of the News Letter it was stated that Lieut. L.C. Mallory had to ground loop his plane in order to keep from running into Lieut. Thad C. Johnson while landing in formation. This was in error, as at the time this incident occurred Lieut. Johnson was on leave.
Lieut. Gregg arrived from Kelly Field where he had been on duty in connection with the filming of the motion picture "Wings." He flew to Selfridge via Columbus, Ga.; Maxwell Field; Nashville, Tenn.; and McCook Field.
One March 5th a flight of planes under the command of Major Lanphier flew over Detroit about 10:30 A.M. in the course of regular maneuvers. The flight was unusual in that about 20 planes took part in it, while ordinarily before this flight only 12 to 15 planes where the most that could be seen at one time in the vicinity of Selfridge Field.
Lieut. Hopkins made a parachute jump from a JNS plane piloted by Lieut. Finch. The jump was made from an altitude of 2,600 feet and Lieut. Hopkins landed near the edge of the Clinton River.
Lieut. Ogden Goodell, AC-Res., was ordered from his home, Grand Rapids, Mich., to active duty at Selfridge Field, for a period of 4 months from March 1st.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., April 11 (1927)
Sunday afternoon witnessed the commencement of the annual trek of visitors from nearby points to the Field. From the number who made their appearance it is plain to be seen that aviation still holds a fascination for the people of our fair country.
A flight of six planes led by Major T.G. Lanphier, Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, flew to Grand Rapids and were entertained as guests of that city. Inclement weather delayed their return one day.
While on a flight from Mitchel Field, N.Y. recently Lieut. Carl J. Crane was forced down near Haskinsville, N.Y., 12 miles north of Hornell. Lieut. Crane landed safely but his plan became mired in the mud for some time.
It is expected that the 1st Pursuit Group will be back to full strength by May 1st, for the first time since 1924. In that year there were more than 100 ships stationed here, but gradually the number decreased until now there is but a fraction of that number. It7 is expected by May 1st the present number of pursuit ships on the field will be increased to 38 and the transports to 5. The Group will begin leaving for mimic warfare maneuvers about that time.
The addition of many Model P-1B Curtiss Pursuit Planes in the past several weeks has greatly added to the force of pursuit ships on this field.
Lieut. Irwin S. Amberg, formerly a member of the Group, took the fatal step recently. His bride was Miss Alma Lilliam Whelpley. Lieut. Amberg resigned his commission some time ago upon the death of his father to carry on the business of the deceased parent, but still retains a reserve commission.
Many Changes in Station of Air Corps Personnel (May 14, 1927) (condensed from longer report)
The 95th Pursuit Squadron is slated to transfer from Selfridge Field to March Field in California about the middle of June. It is expected that shortly after arrival at March Field, the 95th and the 44th Observation Squadron will be made inactive and become the 53rd School Squadron and Headquarters 13th Pursuit Group. A Primary Flying School is being established at March Field.
Border to Border Daylight Flight (May 14, 1927)
In the flight on May 11th of 18 pursuit airplanes from Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, a distance of approximately 1400 miles in the total flying time of 11 hours and 25 minutes, a new record was made by the Army Air Corps in that it marked the first time this number of airplanes flying together have traversed such a distance in the space of one day.
The flight was accomplished without a mishap of any sort, the take-off at Selfridge Field being made at 4:50 A.M. and the landing at San Antonio, Texas at 5:20 p.m. Central Time. Stops were made at Scott Field, Belleville, Ill., and Muskogee, Okla.
The purpose of the flight was to enable the First Pursuit Group of the Army Air Corps to participate in the combined maneuvers at San Antonio, Texas, now taking place, and which will last until May 21st. All of the airplanes carried machine guns and were fully equipped for service which would call for their entire military equipment to be brought into play.
The combined distance traveled by the 18 airplanes, approximately 25,200 miles, is equal to a trope around the world. These pursuit planes made the journey from the northern boundary line of the United States to practically its southern boundary at an average speed of about 121 miles an hour.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., May 1st (1927)
Upon the arrival in Detroit of the German Ambassador to the United States, Baron Ago von Maltzan, a flight of 24 planes from the post zoomed over the city in welcome, and for 20 minutes showed the residents of the "auto city" all the tricks of the trade.
Lieut. Lyons from McCook Field recently reported for temporary duty with the Group, while the regular members are absent on maneuvers.
Lieut. Doolittle took off April 20th for Langley Field with the Transport. It is to be left there and Lieut. Doolittle will return by plane.
The five Cadets at this station were recently given commissions as 2nd Lts. And were complimented with a dance on Saturday night, April 23rd.
Twenty-four years' actual service in the Regular Army culminated in the retirement of 1st Sgt. Frank Sharpe, for the past four years a member of the 57th Service Squadron, on April 15th. Six years and eight months double time for foreign service made up the required 30 years for retirement purposes. During an honorable and eventful Army career, Sgt. Sharpe served in the 2nd, 9th, 21st and 27th Infantry regiments and lastly in the Air Corps. On April 18th a review was held in honor of this soldier. He enters retirement with the best wishes of every member of the First Pursuit Group.
Major Lanphier journeyed to the home of "cereals" recently to attend the convention of the Michigan Aircrafters, a society of aviation devotees of the "Wolverine" state. In expressing his opinion on aerial travel, Major Lanphier declared that the overhead method of transportation was considered by him to be the safest means. He also stated that this newest method of travel should be kept before the public continually in order to insure its future success, just as the automobile for the past 20 years has been flaunted as the best means of getting places. Other notable guests at the convention were Lieut. Ogden of "Round the World fame;" State Representative Verner, Mayor John W. Bailey of Battle Creek and Hon. Wm. P. McCrackon, Assistant Secretary of Commerce in Charge of Aviation. Fifty-three pilots and manufacturers were present at the gathering.
First Pursuit Group Makes Record Flight to Washington (June 27, 1927)
Twenty-one pursuit airplanes of the First Pursuit Group, under the command of Major Thomas G. Lanphier, departed from Selfridge Field at 2:00 P.M., June 9th for Washington D.C. for the purpose of participating in the reception of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh. At 5:50 P.M. the pursuiters were seen circling over the Capital City, the concerted loud hum of the 21 engines causing the populace to gaze upward at the trim little craft changing from one formation to another and finally making a bee line for Bolling Field.
This is the first time, it is believed, that such a large number of planes have flown to Washington D.C. from Selfridge Field without a stop, and adds to the records made by the First Pursuit Group to and from the Texas Manuevers in May. It is just another demonstration of the reliability of aircraft when taken proper care of and when guided by the skillful hands of competent pilots.
The twenty-one pilots who participated in the flight to Washington were, in addition to Major Loanphier, Captains Vincent B. Dixon, Frank H. Pritchard, 1st Lieuts. St. Clair Streett, Frank O'D. Hunter, Laclair D. Schulze, J. Thad Johnson, Louie C. Mallory, 2nd Lieuts. Kirtley J. Gregg, Clarence S. Irvine, Lee Gehlbach, Charles H. Deerwester, Russell Keillor, Ernest H. Lawson, John E. Bodle, Burton Hovey Jr., George G. Finch, and 1st Lieut. Francis C. Crowley, 2nd Lieuts. Jesse B. Stowe and Herbert V. Vanatta, Air Corps Reserve.
The above airmen were joined at Bolling Field by the three other pursuit pilots who were attending the annual Machine Gun and Bombing Matches at Langley Field. All of these planes accompanied Col. Lindbergh on his flight to New York. The latter piloted an Army P-1 on this flight and before heading for the great metropolis thrilled spectators by his daring antics with the pursuit ship.
During the greeting in Washington the 24 planes, led by Major Lanphier, please the populace with their exhibition of stunting and wartime maneuvers.
Major Dargue Visits Detroit (May 14, 1927)
Major Herbert A. Dargue, Air Corps, commander of the recently concluded Good Will Flight from the United States to all of the countries in Central America, South America and numerous islands in the West Indies, arrived in Detroit June 14th on an airplane tour of the United States.
A reception was given Major Dargue in Memorial Park, Detroit. Lieut. Victor H. Strahm, Selfridge Field, assisted in the ceremonies, and three enlisted men of the 57tth Service Squadron were transported to Detroit to look over and take care of Major Dargue's plane.
The Good Will Flight in the United States is being made in the Amphibiani plane New York 2ND. Mr. Walter O. Lochner of Trenton, N.J., President of the National Association of Commercial Organization Secretaries, is accompanying Major Dargue, and their schedule calls for visits in 33 States. The Amphibian was escorted to Detroit by two pursuit planes from Selfridge Field, piloted by 2nd Lts. Joseph G. Hopkins and For J. Lauer, Air Corps Reserve.
Visual Inspection System (May 14, 1927)
Lieut. Donald B. Phillips, Air Corps, on duty in the Inspection Division, Office Chief of Air Corps, recently reported at Selfridge Field, Mich., for temporary duty in connection with the operation of the Visual Inspection System being installed at this station. This system is a new method of inspection of airplanes and materiel and is being establish at all Air Corps Stations.
Staff Sgts. Benjamin J. King and Fred Sims, of the 99tth Observation Squadron, Air Corps, of Bolling Field, D.C., reported at Selfridge Field in connection with the installation of this system.
The Visual Inspection System makes necessary the use of many new Air Corps forms, and Staff Sgts. King and Simms, who are familiar with these forms and the operation of the new system, are to act as instructors in the preparation of these forms. Classes of instruction in their use have been held in the Group Operations Office, the following officers of the First Pursuit Group being detailed as instructors: Lieut. Frank O'D. Hunter, Operations Personnel; Lieut. Laclair D. Schulze, Crew Chiefs and other hangar personnel; 2nd Lieut. Wm. H. Doolittle, Armament personnel; 1st Lieut. Addison G. Person, Parachute Maintenance personnel.
Night Flying at Selfridge Field (May 14, 1927)
Lights for night flying installed at Selfridge Field, Mich., consist of a network of red lights around the edges of the field and a large carbon light with a very large lens which throws a beam of light across the field almost as bright as daylight. It is said that this light is of 400,000 candle-power. Located on the roof of Hangar 10 is a very powerful revolving searchlight and, it is believed, an aviator flying over Detroit on a clear night could easily observe this revolving beam.
These lights were modeled somewhat along the line of the lighting system at the Air Mail Field at Cleveland, Ohio. Master Sgt. Horst W. Tittel and Mr. George E. Moyer, post electrician, performed most of the work in connection with the installation of the lights.
Lieut. Frank O'D. Hunter recently made several night landings to test the lighting system and had no difficulty in making perfect landings.
Lieut. Frank O'D. Hunter Ordered to Washington (May 14, 1927)
First Lieut. Frank O'D. Hunter, Air Corps, one of the best known officers at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., was recently ordered to duty in the Office of Chief of the Air Corps, Washington. Lieut. Hunter is one of the oldest officers in point of service with the First Pursuit Group, having come to Selfridge Field with the Group from Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, in 1922. Among other duties, Lieut. Hunter was Commanding Officer of the 94th Pursuit Squadron and Operations Officer of the First Pursuit Group. He is probably better known for his duties as Operations Officer.
The name of Lieut. Hunter was associated with every major operation of the Group since his connection with it, including the successful flight of six pursuit planes to the Pacific Coast in 1925, one of which was piloted by him. Better known, however, is the war record made by this fearless aviator. He is one of the few war time pilots remaining in the U.S. Army Air Corps credited with the destruction of five or more enemy airplanes.
Lieut. Hunter is also known as a two-time member of the Caterpillar Club, having been forced to jump twice with his parachute from a disabled airplane. One of these jumps occurred early in 1926 at Selfridge Field, when the pursuit airplane he was piloting caught fire. During the small space of time Lieut. Hunter tried to control the plane his mustache was burned off.
The First Pursuit Group regrets the departure of Lieut. Hunter and all good wishes go with him.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich,. June 14 (1927)
It is expected that construction of the new barracks for enlisted men will get under way by July 10th.
These are part of the Government's 10-year building program, during which time it is expected that new officers' quarters, a new hospital, 10 steel hangars, stables, warehouses, and many other structures will be erected. Many of the latter structures may be erected during the next three or four years.
We regret to record the death of Lt. Philip H. Downes, Air Reserve, formerly a member f the 1st Pursuit Group, which occurred at Ford Airport, Deaborn, Mich., on May 27th. Lieut. Downs was testing a small monoplane at the time when the wing collapsed, and he died in the crash of the plane.
Lieut. Downes was chief test pilot of the Woodson Aircraft Company of Napoleon, O. He was on active duty with the First Pursuit Group to about 1 ½ years ago, at which time he was attached to the 95th Pursuit Squadron. He was 36 years of age.
We extend our condolences to Mrs. Ethel Downes, the widow of Lieut. Downes.
An airplane piloted by 2nd Lieut. Wilbur Erickson, Air Reserve, on active duty with the 1st Pursuit Group, was forced down near Niles, Ohio, on June 12th. The plane was returning to Detroit from Youngstown, Ohio, and Lieut. Jack Wolfe of Detroit, was a passenger. When about 100 feet above the ground the motor cut out causing the forced landing. Luckily, neither pilot nor passenger was injured. The landing gear was smashed. Reports state that skillful piloting on the part of Lieut. Erickson saved both pilot and passenger from death or serious injury.
Lieut. Edgar T. Selzer, Air Corps, came to Selfridge Field as a member of a Board of Directors for examination of candidates for appointment as Flying Cadet, other officers detailed to this duty being away on the flight to escort Col. Lindbergh. Lieut. Selzer is attached to the 107th Observation Squadron of the 32nd Division, Michigan National Guard, as instructor.
Lieut. Robert L. Schoenlein, Air Reserve, with 25 enlisted men, left Selfridge Field by motor truck for Chanute Field, Ill., for temporary duty in connection with the maintenance of airplanes and equipment to be used for the training of ROTC students at that place during the period June 15th to July 30. Three trucks and three trailers were used on this journey, including a field (garbled). The non-commissioned officers accompanying the detachment are: Staff Sgts. Emil Kolp and William N. Cornell; Sgt. Andrew White; and Corporals Carl A. Swan and Donald J. Terrill.
Air Corps, Michigan National Guard, Detroit, Mich. (July 12, 1927)
Despite much rain and a wet field which made flying unwise, if not impossible, the officers and men on flying pay in the 107th Observation Squadron, Michigan National Guard, have managed to get in all of their required flying time. In doing this the squadron has figured in several cross-country trips, and an aerial demonstration over the city during the Memorial Day parade.
Our field at the summer training camp site has been inspected and approved and we have been informed we will go to camp on August 6th for two weeks' training. The field is 3,00 square feet, located about three miles from Grayling, Mich.
On May 22nd, our four "Jennies" flew to Lansing and back in the squadron's first cross-country flight. With the exception of a drenching during a rainstorm in Lansing, the trip was without incident.
Our field in River Rouge Park - 80 acres - is gradually changing into an A-1 port. The field is being used as a Detroit terminal of a new airline between Detroit and Saginaw, recently started by W.J. Carr, veteran pilot of the State. Using one Travel Air biplane, Carr makes three round trips weekly.
A number of cross-country trips to Selfridge Field were made by squadron officers during the month.
Caterpillar Club Member Dies in Accident (July 19, 1927)
Lieut. J. Thad Johnson, commanding officer of the 27th Pursuit Squadron, Selfridge Field, Mich., met his death in an airplane accident shortly after noon on July 2nd at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Lieut. Johnson left Selfridge Field on the morning of that date as a member of Col. Lindbergh's escort. As the formation was landing in Ottawa, he dove toward the ground as if to land, then in swinging upward threw his plane in the path of the one immediately following. The latter one struck it from the rear, disabling the controls and throwing it into a nose dive. In an attempt to save his life, Lieut. Johnson jumped, but the distance to the ground was too short and he struck before the parachute could function.
Lieut. Johnson became a member of the Caterpillar Club, April 10, 1925. He was enroute on a non-stop flight from Selfridge Field to Mitchel Field, and while over a mountainous section of Pennsylvania engine trouble developed. Despite the fact that the motor was heating up rapidly and water and steam started coming out of the expansion tank, he managed to climb through the clouds to an altitude of 10,000 feet and then jumped with his parachute. He landed in a wild apple tree in the midst of a forest without injury.
Fate decreed that Lieut. Johnson was not to become a second degree member of the Caterpillar Club. He is the third member of that exclusive organization to lose his life in a subsequent airplane accident, those going before him being Lieut. Eugene Barksdale and Major Harold Geiger.
We tender our condolences to the bereaved widow of this popular officer.
Michigan National Guard Air Corps - J.T. Nevill (July 19, 1927)
With a total of 120 hours and 42 minutes flying time to their credit for the first full month of flying, the officers and men of the 107th Observation Squadron, Michigan National Guard, feel highly capable of acquitting themselves well at the State National Guard Encampment, which beings at Grayling, Michigan, August 6th.
During the past month the Squadron's planes were used on much cross-country work, although considerable time was put in the immediate vicinity of the field.
The Squadron was represented at the funeral of Lieut. J. Thad Johnson, of Selfridge Field, killed at Ottawa, Canada, July 2nd, while escorting Colonel Lindbergh.
The 107th Observation Squadron is eagerly looking forward to the arrival of its issue of PT-1's to replace the "Jennies" now being used.
First Pursuit Group to Again Train at Oscoda, Mich. (Oct. 27, 1927)
With the termination of Reserve Training at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., the First Pursuit Group will journey to Oscoda, Mich., in three echelons of approximately two weeks' duration each for annual gunnery and bombing practice. Arrangements are now being made to prepare Camp Skeel in the best possible shape, but nothing definite is known at this time as to the date of opening or the amount of personnel involved. "One thing is certain, however," writes the News Letter Correspondent, "and that is that Oscoda and its immediate environs will be no place for a good quiet snooze when the Group starts operating."
A Gentle Slam at the PT-1 (Oct. 27, 1927)
Just to show the fertility of the average mechanic's brain, Corporal Thomas of the 27th Pursuit Squadron, Selfridge Field, stuck his head in the Group Operations door the other day and sadly remarked -
"Say, Sergeant, let's call these PT-1s, PTSs"
"What's the matter, Tommy?" asked the Sergeant.
"Pretty Tough Startin'," groaned Tommy, as he carefully closed the door and turned his sorrowful mein towards the line.
1st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mich., Sept. 19 (1927)
Well, well, here's some news from Selfridge Field! Thought they'd disbanded the Group! Emphatically not, airmen and otherwise, emphatically not! Why thinkest thou! What? Simply because they sent the 95th to bask in the sun at March Field? No children, you are all wrong.
The First Pursuit Group is very much present at the old cross roads as inhabitants and other beasts of burden sojourning in adjacent territory will testify. The drone of our little fighting machines never ceases and, like England whose proudest boast is that the sun never sets on an unshaven British chin, ours is that the sun never sets on a mission uncompleted. Vicissitudes have beset us, at times destroyed our perfect rhythm, but never our equanimity, so though our absence in these columns is lamentable, we have been with you all in spirit and promise faithfully to greet you in each future issue.
Like the trees and shrubs that are colored by the autumn sun, Selfridge, too takes on a new and better appearance. New construction of concrete barracks progresses rapidly, and the ant houses that are to serve as shelter for the noncommissioned officers and their families take on size, however negligible, and all should be ready for occupancy before wintry blasts from the lake sweep across the field.
With the evacuation of Fort Wayne, Detroit, Michigan, Selfridge Field has become the haven of welcome to endless AWOL's and others who find the great outdoors careless of their personal welfare and decide that freedom on an empty stomach is less tolerable than punishment on a full one. The little guard house here should have been made of rubber. If any more are incarcerated the walls will have to stretch or we'll have another Black Hole of Calcutta.
During August the 19 Air Corps officer pilots at this field made 656 flights for a total of 466 hours and 55 minutes; the Air Corps Reserve officer pilots on extended duty at this station made a total of 1392 flights for a total time of 567 hours.
During two 14 days' training periods in August, approximately 102 Air Corps Reserve Officers received training, making 2192 flights for a total time of 497 hours and 45 minutes. In addition, Reserve officers on inactive status made 30 flights for a total of 20 hours and 5 minutes. Other flights not listed above brought the month's total to 4,499 flights and 1668 hours and 30 minutes flying time.
During the first 14 days in September, approximately 50 Reserve officers received flying training, making 804 flights for 184 hours and 15 minutes in the air. The last class is now undergoing training, but at present no figures are available.
Lieuts. Louie C. Mallory, William L. Cornelius and Irvin A. Woodring, flying type P-1 planes, and Lieut. William H. Doolittle, flying a type C-1 Transport with five enlisted mechanics and passengers, arrived at Spokane, Washington, Sept. 17th for duty in connection with the National Air Races at that place. Four other enlisted men from this field were ferried to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 16th, but these men, more fortunate that the others, are scheduled to ride in state, their transportation being a Fokker C-2, a three-engined transport.
Athletics along with flying receive attention also. They even have Lieut. "Two J." Williams giving the pilots cheese knife instruction for a half hour each afternoon. Baseball has come and gone, with the 17th Pursuit Squadron, after coming from behind to win a three-game series from the 57th Service Squadron, resting securely on top of the heap.
Football now holds attention of all aspiring athletes and rapid fans. Each organization has its squad on the field each afternoon and we'll get some interesting dope on the bone-crushers a little later on. Sure have some great battles around October.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., Sept. 20 (1927)
Ed. Note: Our Correspondent heads this contribution "9/31/27." Wonder what sort of new calendar the Pursuiters have cooked up at Selfridge?
In addition to routine flying and friendly and heated arguments over formations just flown, the heavyweight bout at Chicago was brought to the attention of the Group in some mysterious manner. Several of the personnel here were present at this event. If any one of them had no better view of the fight than the writer had of last year's classic between the Army and Navy, they'll have to take the word of the newspapers that the participants in the main go, or horse race - its all according to one's sympathy, convictions or the shekels that seemed to lose weight and finally disappear as that famous seventh round drew to a close - were as advertised, namely, Dempsey and Tunney.
Soldiers Field, when filled is one place in the world to actually view a crowd of almost unbelievable color. Movements and noise around you are lost in abstracted contemplation of a moving intriguing sea of humanity at the other end of the vast bowl. One seems lost in a crowd, harried and oppressed, shoved and kicked and hurt and yet alone, alone. There is no understanding such a paradox.
Gee, in the retrospection of a pulse quickening spectacle, one grows eloquent, doesn't one? (Ha) But on to the Group.
Mayor Streit of Mt. Clemens, that famous Bath City, having gotten himself lost in the uncharted wastes of Lake St. Clair, was promptly rescued by the Group. On September 20th the Mayor started out with three others from Mt. Clemens for Algonac, Michigan, to inspect some construction for the Mt. Clemens Sugar Co., of which he is president. No word was received from him at midnight and with a heavy storm raging, Mt. Clemens officials became alarmed and sent an S.O.S. to Selfridge about 1:30 a.m.
A power boat was immediately sent out by Lieut. Russell Keillor, A.C., Asst. Adjutant, in search of the missing party. Six o'clock in the morning, there being no word from either boat, Lieut. Keillor went out in search of them with a P-1 and located the Government boat at Algonac, the missing party having been rescued an hour previously. The City's Executive had been marooned on a sand bar from about five o'clock the day before until rescued by the Selfridge boat at five o'clock in the morning.
The football season was officially opened on the postponed Organization Day, September 27th. All four of the Group League football teams joined to make one regulation football game. The 17th, last year's near champions, and the 57th, last year's champions, played the first half of 12 ½ minute quarters, and the 94th and 27th played the last half. The 17th Squadron won the first half. The 27th with their bright orange or yellow jerseys and a heavy line, which makes them appear serious contenders for this year's championship, completed a forward pass and place kicked the extra point for their 7 to 0 victory over the inexperienced 94th team. The game was well attended, though played in a steady downpour.
The Group is preparing to move to Oscoda for aerial gunnery, 27 enlisted men under the command of 2nd Lieut. John E. Bodle now being at Oscoda preparing the camp for the arrival of the first echelon of 17 pilots and approximately 48 enlisted men.
Sir Philip Sassoon Visits Air Corps Stations in the United States (Nov. 10, 1927)
(Condensed from longer story)
An interested and interesting recent visitor was Sir Philip A.G.D. Sassoon, Bart., C.E.E., C.M.G., M.P., Under Secretary of State for Air of Great Britain, who arrived in the United States on October 14th for a brief tour of the air fields and airplane and motor factories. ...
Selfridge Field was got to Sir Philip and his staff on the morning of October 26th. They arrived shortly before eleven o'clock and were welcomed by Major Lanphier. Immediately afterward an aerial review was staged for the visitors, led by Major Lanphier and participated in by the majority of the pilots at Selfridge Field. Incidentally, it was a beautiful exhibition of the aviator's technique. In the afternoon, the party left for Philadelphia and Lakehurst.
Michigan National Guard (Jan. 7, 1928)
With a $2,000 bond issue calling for the establishment of a county airport passed and, accordingly, a modern and permanent home for the squadron assured, officers and men of the 107th Obs. Sqdn. are facing an optimistic future.
Proposed Municipal Airport at Jackson, Michigan (Jan. 27, 1928)
The Michigan Air Corps Reserve officers are taking an active interest in established and developing a Municipal Airport at Jackson, Michigan. Their interest in developing aeronautics in the State of Michigan has been heartily indorsed by the Commanding General of the Sixth Corps Area, and he has directed the Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., to cooperate in every way possible in the establishment of this Airport.
The Gunnery and Bombing Maneuvers at Oscoda, Mich. (Jan. 27, 1928)
By Sgt. X.L. Horn
Sometime ago the promise was made that the Aerial Gunnery and bombing practices of the First Pursuit Group, at Camp Skeel, Oscoda, Michigan, would be covered in detail for the Air Corps News Letter. Here it is, somewhat belated:
Early on the morning of September 25, 1927, Lieut. John E. Bodle, Air Corps, leading his flight of three White trucks; a Liberty truck equipped for field lighting, together with a Radio Truck and a 180-gallon gas truck, departed from Selfridge for Camp Skeel. Under the command of Lieut. Bodle were some 28 enlisted men, and he was charged with the responsibility of preparing Camp Skeel for the arrival of the pilots and mechanics. His first job, however, was to get there, and this was no small affair in itself.
The truck train was heavily loaded for, in addition to the 28 men, it carried as much equipment as could be safely loaded, comprised of foodstuffs and endless supplies for the building that was to be done, also special equipment for the enlisted men such as shovels, picks, hammers and saws.
And the motor transportation - well - it was built for use before and during the World War. Aged and antiquated, severely punished by careless handling during the years, it offered little security that the trip would actually culminate in safe and intact arrival. Water pumps on the Whites, simply useless, aggravating little things continually have trouble, and boiling water and hot steam burst more than one decrepit and weary radiator. Bearings, worn thin through years, gave up the fight, and only the resourcefulness of "SWEDE," the ever ready and unfailing Truckmaster, saved the day. From some of his accomplishments in the face of almost impossible odds, on lonely roads miles from anything closely resembling a garage, we became firmly convinced that, with a little effort and patience and "SWEDE," we could have made the trip with crankshafts made of putty.
However, the detail arrived at Camp Skeel at 7:30 p.m. on the 26th. Although it was damp, for it rained throughout the day, and joyless too, perhaps more than one heartfelt sigh was heaved that the trip was done.
Impromptu beds were made for the night in the lone wooden structure built in 1924, when the present site was first offered to the Group, and the following morning actual construction of the Camp was started.
In the days that lapsed until October 17, when the first echelon of pilots and planes reported for practice, construction went merrily on its way. An addition was built onto the barracks, since the original building was only large enough for use as sleeping quarters and mess and kitchen for the officers. This addition was a direct continuance, the partition between the kitchen and the new part being worn out, making the mess hall for the enlisted men and the kitchen one room. Another small addition was built on the NW side of the officers' sleeping quarters for use as a wash and bathroom. Three wash basins and two showers were installed and a pressure tank put in the ground. A well was dug and connected with a small electric motor, which forced the water from the well into the tank, thence through a small stove into a hot water tank. For the first time since the Group has been maneuvering at Camp Skeel we had some of the comforts of home and no longer were forced to depend on the high school showers in Oscoda for weekly ablutions.
Fourteen tent frames were built, ten at right angles to the lower end of the barracks and four along the SE side of the barracks and parallel, which layout formed a perfect leter "L". Floors were laid for all tents, with a concrete base in the center, about four feet and 6 inches high, for the Sibley stove. The side of the frames were about 5 feet 4 inches high with heavily braced two by fours extending upward from each corner to a peak at the top, so that when the regulation pyramidal tent was placed over the frame they fitted perfectly without the use of a center pole. In this manner, all available spaced was used and five men were comfortably accommodated in each tent.
As the camp proper gradually took shape, other details were busy. The target range and targets were checked over, new targets were built and the range thoroughly policed. A large gasoline tank was installed in the ground directly across the road from the camp and behind the proposed "LINE," equipped with five gallon capacity pump and six ground pits were planes could be taxied and serviced. The radio operators erected their antenna and, after several days of extremely bad weather, finally managed to get connection with Selfridge which, with the exception of one day for a few hours, was never interrupted. The Electrician soon had the field lighting sets working and the tents and barracks and mess hall wired for electric lights. Other wiring was done as needed and, in addition, two large flood lights were installed for night lighting. One was placed at each end of the "L". At night, approaching the Camp from the Oscoda side, with its brightly lighted barracks and with the two flood lights illuminating the two lines of tents until they stood out among the occasional jack pines in bold relief, and with the incessant hum of the electric lighting plant, Camp Skeel, for all its primitive surroundings, seemed like a city in the making.
During the period, October 1st to 15th, a Douglas Transport, type C-1, made occasional trips between Selfridge and Camp Skeel, transporting supplies and equipment as requested. On October 15th and 16th several mechanics and armorers were permitted to depart for Camp Skeel in their private transportation, the balance of the enlisted men being transported there in the Transports. On the 17th, the first echelon, led by Capt. Vincent B. Dixon, A.C., arrived for practice, but were delayed until the morning of the 20th while their planes received a final check of armament equipment. As a further precaution, Artic oil was placed in all ships and they were carefully checked to insure that the proper mixture of alcohol and water was in the radiator.
The first echelon remained at Camp Skeel until November 5th, and the second, led by Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh and Major Thomas G. Lanphier, A.C., arrived for practice, November 9th. Capt. Frank H. Pritchard, A.C., who had reported with the first echelon, remained at Camp Skeel in command during the period, November 5th to 9th.
During the period of the first echelon and prior to the arrival of the second, many jack pines were requisitioned from nearby lands and used as a framework in constructing a range house and coal bin. This range house was constructed on the 400 foot line directly between the two sets of targets, and was built large enough so that targets could be repaired, recovered and stored overnight out of the wind, rain and cold.
Several hundred 40-pound demolition bombs, packed two in a box, were on hand at Camp Skeel, and as these were used for practice the boxes were salvaged by the carpenters and, with jack pines as runners, were used as material for duck walks. These walks were laid down each row of tents and from the tents to the officers' quarters and the mess hall.
Funds were also requisitioned for the purchase and erection of an armament tent just across the road from the line. From old lumber around the camp a heavy bench was built along one side of the tent where guns could be cleaned and repaired out of the wind and sand. This tent also served another purpose. Around the little Sibley stove Sergeant Joe Rhoden and his henchmen placed all the loose ammunition boxes, and during lulls in flying they would sit on these boxes under the feet of the armorers and talk of thing inconsequential. Joe called this gathering the "Club of the Constant Sitters." Joe is a good mechanic, but he should have written titles for a Will Rogers film.
Colonel Lindbergh returned to Selfridge on the 11th in order to make his flight to New York, and was able to fire but 200 rounds on the ground targets.
It was during the period between the departure of the first echelon and the arrival of the second that a contemplated purchase of fish almost lost the Group a pilot. Sergeant Byron K. Newcomb, pilot of one of the transports, with Sergeant "Doc" Shannon, as mechanic, arrived at Camp from Selfridge about noon one day, and the Mess Sergeant suggested they accompany him and one of his cooks in the old Ford mess truck, to Oscoda. It would give Newcomb a chance to see the city and one of the fisheries for which the place is noted, if it is noted for anything.
They all crowded up into the Ford and took off. Just out of Oscoda, in trying the sharp turn that precedes the bridge over the Au Sable River, Joe's Cook who happened to be driving, got his controls mixed and didn't give the old crate enough aileron. The old Ford stopped abruptly when it hit the staunch iron bridge and Newcomb and the other passengers lingered just long enough to get a good start and then continued on their way, windshield and all, into the muddy and placid waters of the river. Altho heavily burdened with clothing, they all managed to regain shore and sent news of their catastrophe to camp, from where a White truck was dispatched to haul them in.
Eventually they returned; the Mess Sergeant and his Cook went to bed, while Newcombu and Shannon borrowed all the dry clothes they could find and took off for Selfridge.
Someone discovered a good substitute for fish, so camp was fed, but Sergeant Newcomb lost his helmet and goggles and now we suppose somewhere in the files of the Air Corps Station Supply Officer there reposes a certificate reading "Lost in Flight."
The even tenor of Aerial Gunnery and Bombing continued and the pilots took advantage of two or three smooth days during the first of December to finish most of their record practice on the Ground and Tow targets. It was well they did for gasoline was running low and the morning of December 7th brought high winds of almost cyclonic velocity, which completely wrecked one airplane and destroyed several ground targets. However since little firing yet remained to be done, the balance was completed and all pilots, with the exception of Lieut. Bodle, Camp Supply and Mess Officer, returned to Selfridge by December 10th.
The following pilots participated in the aerial gunnery and bombing practice, and the scores for those who finished record firing are show after their respective names:
(Ed. Note: an entire page of text is missing.)
... tent frames were left standing, doors tightly nailed and the vicinity around emptied tents policed. In this manner the camp was policed as the men left and no great amount of work remained for those who were left to actually close camp.
At about four o'clock on the morning of the 15th, al but eight men, one White truck with trailer, and the tow-target DH, which was waiting some minor repairs, departed for Selfridge Field, led by Lieut. Bodle. Their eight men and the transportation were left at Camp Skeel until such time as a car could be obtained by the local railway authorities for shipment of a wrecked P-1B to Fairfield.
It happened that the greatly desired car arrived the same morning and all hands went to work with a bang and the wreck was loaded and billed out by afternoon. A transport arrived with the necessary parts for the DH and everyone was all set to take off. There was a little policing to be done, however, but this was postponed until the following morning.
Everyone was up long before the stars were ready to call it a night and, after a hearty breakfast, the White truck and trailer were loaded and three of the men departed for home. Two more left in a Ford coup at one o'clock, leaving Corporal Lovvorn, mechanic on the DH, and two caretakers at a lonesome camp with the jack pines and snowshoe rabbits. Bad weather resulted in some delay in getting a pilot to Camp Skeel to ferry back the DH and Lovvorn, but they returned eventually and Camp Skeel, except for the two caretakers, was deserted.
Gaunt and bare now, it no longer is filled with hurrying figures clad in Olive Drab and one-piece coveralls and the wild noises of roaring planes, bursting bombs and staccato like barks of machine guns. Not for awhile will Lake Van Ettan reflect again the flashing silhouettes of tow-target planes and fast attacking pursuit ships.
32nd Division Air Service, Michigan N.G., Detroit (March 15, 1928)
With a total of 13 rated pilots and two observers, officers and men of the 107th Observation Squadron are beginning to look forward to the 1928 training encampment, when they will be given an opportunity to display to the people of Michigan the workings of an efficiently operating air unit.
A considerable number of men were enlisted during the past few months. Weekly drills are being held in the Police Department Armory.
Marshall Field, Kansas (March 30, 1928)
Lieut. C.C. Coppin departed from this station March 18th in a Douglas Transport enroute for Selfridge Field in order to carry food and supplies to isolated districts in Northern Michigan.
32nd Division Air Service, Detroit, Michigan (March 31, 1928)
The 107th Observation Squadron, Michigan National Guard, is planning an exhibit for the All-American Aircraft Show, to be held in Detroit, April 14th to 21st. The Squadron also plans to take part in a huge aerial parade over the city, to be staged by approximately 40 planes on the opening day of the show.
The airport situation in Detroit is no less serious today than it was five years ago, and now nearer any practical solution. Detroit, the so-called center of the aircraft industry, has no airport facilities other than the Ford Airport and a small corner of a city park which is generously reserved for the Guard squadron until such time as the long-talked of airport becomes a reality.
The 107th Squadron is, however, very fortunate in having a first class field and accommodations at Camp Grayling, where the Division goes into camp for 14 days in August.
Winter Manuevers of the First Pursuit Group (April 21, 1928)
During the early part of February, the 1st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., was engaged in winter maneuvers throughout Northern Michigan. The planes were equipped with skis. Twelve Pursuit planes and two Transports participated in this maneuver. Extremely bad flying conditions prevailed throughout the entire maneuver and sub-zero weather was encountered. All landing were made on either ice or snow fields. The Group established advance airdromes at Oscoda, Alpena, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City, Manistee and Muskegon.
Due to the bad weather encountered it was impossible to carry out the tactical formations as originally planned. The mobility of aircraft in extremely cold weather and in a country which is covered with ice and snow was successfully demonstrated. There were two accidents in this maneuver, one pursuit ship being completely demolished and one transport damaged to the extent that it required a complete overhaul. The skis for pursuit ships seemed adequate, but the run it takes a transport to get into the air with skis is considerable.
Construction Projects at Air Corps Posts (April 21, 1928)
(synthesized from larger report)
Authorization was approved for various construction projects around the Air Corps, including the following at Selfridge Field:
Air Corps warehouse, $45,000
Photo building, $36,000
Gasoline and oil storage, $10,000
Paint, oil and dope warehouse, $5,000
Improvement of landing field, $50,000
In another budget authorization, the following was approved:
Field shop, $81,000
Headquarters and Operations Buildings, $40,000
Radio and parachute buildings, $20,000
Ceiling and walling hangars, $3,264.
Fish Treated to an Airplane Ride by A.M. Jacobs (June 5, 1928)
Some 27,000 fish accompanied Lieut. G.P. Tourtellot from Selfridge Field, Michigan to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, on May 10th. No, "Turk" was not resorting to "fish stories," nor were they, in this case, a mental condition. They were really8 baby brook trout.
Bright and early on the morning of the tenth, "Turk" took off in the Fokker C-2 Transport for Selfridge Field, where upon arrival twenty 10-gallon cans were put aboard the plane. In the tins rode the 27,000, fresh from the Government Fish Hatcheries of Michigan. "Turk" piloted them to Dayton, landing at Wright Field at about 3:00 p.m. At the field waited a lot of small boys in grown-up attire, eager to help deposit the newcomers in the streams of Wright Field, which are tributaries to the Mad River. Motion picture and news reel representatives were on the spot to photograph the proceedings, for it was the first time fish had ever been treated to an airplane ride. It was also interesting to find that, as a result of the new mode of transportation which shortened considerably their time of incarceration in the tins over any other mode that had ever been employed for a like distance, very few deaths occurred. Usually when such quantities are sent from place to place almost half the number are lost.
We have not so far caught the boys digging for angle worms or venturing forth with line and rod. Perhaps they're going to give the little things time to grow. But a certain intentness has been noticeable in the inquiries concerning those fish, and we shouldn't be more surprised if the wilds of the Mad River became somewhat more cultivated a little later on in the season.
Inactive Squadrons Reorganized (June 5, 1928)
(synthesized from longer report)
...The 95th Pursuit Squadron up until June of last year was part of the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich. This organization was transferred to March Field, where it was rendered inactive and the personnel thereof organized into the 53rd School Squadron. ...
... The 15th Observation Squadron, which last year was placed on inactive status and the personnel organized into the 48th School Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, is now in process of reorganization and will be stationed at Selfridge Field, the home of the 1st Pursuit Group.
Caterpillar Club Membership Passes Century Mark (Nov. 24, 1928)
(included in a round-up of several accounts)
Major F.E. Evans of the 107th Observation Squadron, Air Corps, Michigan National Guard, was flying with 2nd Lieut. Edward C. Snell as passenger. He had placed his PT-1 in a barrel roll. The nose of the plane had just risen above the horizon and it banked over approximately 45 degrees when the upper right front wing spar broke. Major Evans signaled his passenger to jump, but the latter failed to do so, and was killed in the crash.
Major Evans stated that he had a feeling of complete safety and confidence in the parachute. "I thought ofy the long talked of count of four to be certain of clearing the plane," he said, "and decided to wait until I was certain of being clear. The wreckage of the plane was falling around me when I decided it was time to pull. I recall seeing the pilot chute far above me and the thought passed through my mind that I had not only lost an airplane but a parachute as well. When the main chute opened I received a terrible jerk, well distributed. I must have gone down headfirst and I whirled around suddenly. Had no feeling whatsoever of falling. Mind seemed clear. When approaching the ground I kicked around until facing the direction of travel in respect to the ground. Fell when landing, but immediately jumped to my feet and ran onto parachute to prevent being dragged. First thought was where my passenger had landed, as I had no idea that he had not jumped even before I did, as I shouted 'Jump' immediately after the breaking of the wing. I apparently hit my head when landing, as I had a slight headache afterwards for several hours, otherwise no ill feeling whatever."
Caterpillar Club Still Going Strong (Dec. 18, 1928)
(Synthesized from longer report)
Two Air Corps officers who joined the Caterpillar Club recently for 2nd Lieuts. Wm. H. Doolittle and Robert L. Schoenlein. Piloting single-seater pursuit planes on December 11th over Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., at an altitude of about 3,000 feet, one of those unfortunate accidents happened - a collision. Both men took to their parachutes and reached terra firma without injury. As may be surmised, the planes were totally demolished.
Fast Flight from Detroit to Boston (Dec. 18, 1928)
The distance between Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., and Boston, Mass. Was recently covered by 2nd Lieut. Frank D. Klein, Air Corps, a member of the First Pursuit Group, in three hours and 35 minutes. Departing from Selfridge Field at 11:30 a.m., November 15th, he arrived at Boston at 3:05 p.m. Due to a strong tail wind the arrival at Boston was ten minutes ahead of schedule.
On his return trip Lieut. Klein made landings at Mitchel Field, N.Y., and Buffalo, N.Y. Leaving Boston at 10:00 a.m., November 17th, he arrived at Mitchel Field one hour and 45 minutes later. On the following day he departed Mitchel Field at 9:30 a.m.; and arrived at Buffalo at 12:45 p.m. Leaving Buffalo in the afternoon at 3:00 o'clock, he arrived at Selfridge Field two hours later. His arrival at Mitchel Field was 15 minutes late and at Buffalo 45 minutes late, due to a very strong head wind.
Lieut. Klein stated that conditions at all of the landing fields were excellent and no difficulty was experienced in receiving prompt servicing of the airplane.
Two More Members Added to Caterpillar Club(Jan. 10, 1929)
(Condensed from larger round up. Caterpillar Club was the name given to those whose lives were saved by making an unscheduled emergency parachute jump.)
Lieuts. Doolittle and Schoenlein, piloting P-3A Pursuit planes over Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., on the afternoon of December 11, 1928, collided. The controls of both planes were rendered inoperative and the pilots resorted to their parachutes to reach the ground safely.
Lieut. William H. Doolittle stated that after the collision the aircraft was out of control, as the tail surfaces had been completely cut off. The ship whipped into a dive at an approximate speed of 130 miles per hour. Pulling the safety belt, he was thrown clear of the plane.
"I was leading a three ship flight in an inverted position," Lieut. Doolittle stated, "the two wing ships were upright. I signalled my intention to half-roll back to the upright position. As the ship arrived at the normal position the crash occurred. I glanced quickly to the right and saw the other ship very close. At this time my ship whipped forward into a dive and spin.
The only reaction was to immediately look for the parachute of the other pilot. After that there was an intense quietness and feeling of not moving towards the ground. The only ill effects were slightly bruised shoulders and stiff neck, probably caused by the chute opening with a jerk."
LIEUT. ROBERT L. SCHOENLEIN stated that at the time of the jump the position of the aircraft was a very fast and flat spin. "In leaving the aircraft." Lieut. Schoenlein stated, "my feet were pulled well back and pushing up while pulling from the top of the cockpit by hand, and repeating this a number of times, I finally gained a hold on the edge of the windshield, which gave me sufficient leverage to get my head, shoulders and chest above the upper edge of the cockpit. Then I took hold of the rip cord and rolled over the edge of the cockpit on my stomach.
The cause for the jump was that there was no response to the controls after the crash, when the ship was turning in a large circle and then a fast and flat spin.
My feelings and reactions during the jump and while attempting to get into position to jump are numerous, and an account of same is not 100% accurate. Upon concluding that the ship was beyond control, my next thought was to get out. This fact was amplified many times when the flat spin plus the stiff leather flying suit rendered freedom of physical movement nearly impossible. The latter was proven by the fact that it took more than 1500 feet of altitude to get out of the ship. Immediately upon landing I feared the safety of Lieut. Doolittle, but located him and his parachute sailing down a few hundred yards north, and went out to meet him. This was a great relief.
A number of small bruises were sustained from the jump, some being from the landing on the ground and others are unaccounted for."
Air Corps Cooperation Praised (February 23, 1929)
Expressing his appreciation of the cooperation of the Air Corps in a recent search for Mr. Louis Sweet, who was lost on the ice near Crane Island in Lake Michigan, Mr. John L.A. Galster, of the Petoskey Portland Cement Co., Petoskey, Michigan, addressed the following communication to Colonel Charles Danforth, Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Michigan:
"Dear Colonel Danforth:
I want to take this opportunity of thanking you for the assistance given us in connection with the search for Mr. Sweet who was lost out on the ice. Naturally, we regret that the search was in vain. Nevertheless, it was ably carried on, and not only the close relatives and friends of Mr. Sweet but the entire northern part of the Lower Peninsula appreciate the splendid effort that was made to locate Mr. Sweet.
Your men, Lieuts. Elliott and Cobb and Sergeant Buff made a very complete search and worked at times against great odds, and their work reflects credit upon the United States Army."
Another letter addressed to Colonel Danforth from Mr. Henry Sullivan of Petoskey, Mich., dated January 30th, reads as follows:
"As director of the search for Louis Sweet, who was lost out on the ice near Crane Island in Lake Michigan, I want to express my sincere appreciation for the splendid service rendered by the aviators in assisting in this search. I am sure that I voice the sentiment of the entire community when I say that we are' all deeply indebted to you for this service. I personally know that the aviators risked their own lives for many hours in this task, and I know that every foot of territory was thoroughly covered by them. It was not their fault that they did not see Louis Sweet in the light house in which he took refuge. He was not in sight himself when the planes circled around the light house time after time, nor did he leave out any signal of distress from which it could be determined that he was there. At the time the planes circled the light house Sweet was stretched out inside the light house, unable to even raise his head to give a signal. I was personally with the various planes when this territory was searched, and I know that we flew as near the light house as was consistent with safety, and if there had been the least visible signal of distress at that time we would have seen it.
The aviators deserve a great deal of credit in this service, and I want you to know that the entire community appreciates all that they have done."
P-1Cs Received (March 15, 1929)
Seven more P-1Cs were received from Buffalo in the last two weeks and all were assigned to the 17th Squadron. Two more arrived, March 3rd and will also be assigned to the 17th.
An aerial review consisting of six O-2s and 18 Pursuit ships held on February 9th, was followed by a similar one on the 15th.
Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, March 5th
The first serious accident at this station occurred Monday, Feb. 25th in the death of 2nd Lieut. Andrew D. Knox, Air-Res. Lieut. Knox arrived here in November 1928 and was assigned to the 27th Pursuit Squadron. This squadron was engaged in the service test of two experimental airplanes, equipped with the Curtiss V-1570, 600 h.p. motor. After the regular Group flying on the afternoon of the 25th, Lieut. Knox took the XP-6 into the air on a service test flight. He was observed to be doing acrobatics at about 3000 feet and when next seen was in a power dive towards the hangar line at a terrific rate of speed. The accounts of the witnesses vary as to the exact altitude at which something happened to the plane, but it is evident that between three and five hundred feet from the ground, the wings gave way. The plane hit the ground about 200 feet from the Operations Office, death being instantaneous.
The loss of Lieut. Knox is deeply felt by all the officers at this Post, as during the time he had been here he had shown himself to be a very capable flyer and his personality was such as to cause him to be well liked by all. Remains were sent to his home at Thief River Falls, Minnesota, accompanied by Lieut. Frank G. Irvin.
Immediately after the accident an investigation was held by officers at this field and Lieuts. Lyon and McCune also arrived from Dayton to conduct an investigation from the viewpoint of the Engineering Division. Mr. Casey Jones of the Curtiss Company also visited the field to get as much information as possible regarding the accident.
Lieut. Harry A. Johnson, Air Corps, who was on duty at the Engineering Division at Dayton, returned to this field to assume again his duties as Commanding Officer of the 94tth Pursuit Squadron. His duty at Dayton was in connection with the attempt to break the existing altitude record. While unsuccessful, we all hope that he may be able to try it again with better success in the near future.
Capt. Victor H. Strahm, Air Corps, the well known Adjutant7 and Operations Officer at this field, is at present confined to his quarters with dipththeria. Several of the officers who visited Capt. Strahm during the early part of his sickness before it was diagnosed as dipththeria are also suffering somewhat large shots of antitoxin. Just where Capt. Strahm contracted this malady is a matter of conjecture by all.
This field is to receive in the near future eleven recent graduates of the Advanced School at Kelly Field. Lieuts. Lowry and Harvey, Air-Res., have already reported.
The Post Basketball season at this station came to an end after a very close race. The 94th Squadron finally won the Post Championship, leading the 57th Squadron by only one game. A picked team is now being selected from all the post teams to represent Selfridge Field. This team will be coached by Lieut. Harding and will represent this station at the Corps Area Tournament at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, March 24th.
The social activities at this statin are taking in a new activity under the guidance of a Post Entertainment Committee, appointed by the Officers' Club. The annual Masquerade Ball was held under the direction of the Officers' Club on February 21st and was a successful affair in every way. The variety of costumes, the good music and beautiful decorations of the Club, all made it a very fine occasion. Lieut. Black won first prize for the funniest costume, representing a successful follower of the races. Mrs. Strahm won the first ladies' prize as having the most beautiful costume. Before masks were taken off, prizes were awarded for those who could guess the names of the most people who wore masks and this prize was won by Lieut. Harrington.
The regular bi-weekly mixed card party was held at the Officers Club on the 26th of February. Capt. and Mrs. Johnston, Lieut. and Mrs. Rogers, Lieuts. Wurtsmith and Morgan were the hosts and hostesses for the evening. These card parties serve to bind up a closer social feeling on the Post, giving all an opportunity to meet once every second week and are proving very delightful affairs.
A great many of the officers attended the Reserve Officers' Party held at the Canadian Legion Hall in Windsor on the evening of the 22nd.
Construction/Manpower at Selfridge (May 16, 1929)
(Synthesized from longer report)
A total of $1.517 million in construction projects have been approved for Selfridge Field in a variety of Congressional actions. Included in the package is $250,000 for NCO housing; $937,000 for officer housing; $100,000 for the base hospital; and $230,000 for a sea wall. The appropriations are slated over the course of fiscal years 1930, 1931 and 1932. The appropriations were part of a larger package of nearly $28 million allotted for housing and related construction across the Air Corps over the three-year period.
When the construction allowed for under the various appropriations is complete, it will provide new housing quarters for 67 of the 96 officers assigned to Selfridge Field; 66 of the 135 noncommissioned officers and for all of the field's 685 junior enlisted men.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., May 6th
There was a great deal of activity on the Post, in the past few weeks, preparing for the maneuvers to be held at Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, May 16 to the 27. The Group plans to take about fifty ships and pilots to assist in staging one of the greatest peace time aerial battles yet attempted.
Selfridge Field a Wet Place (May 16, 1929)
It would appear from the following account by the News Letter Correspondent of the present condition of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., that it would be an ideal placed for the operations of amphibians. He goes on to say:
"Since flying has been called off because of the rainstorms and a wet field for the past week, a class in swimming and other water sports is in the process of organization under the able management of our Operations Officer, Capt. Victor Strahm. The only trouble he has encountered so far is keeping Lake St. Clair from flooding the field until he teaches the pilots the art of making P-1's swim.
Another rumor has it that the Group is to be equipped with amphibians, so that we can keep up the work and go to maneuvers without such a great loss of flying time due to a flooded field.
We are Selfridge Field are beginning to realize the suffering those poor unfortunates along the Mississippi River must experience when it decides to go cross-country without even the courtesy of putting in a request for same. Our ever beloved Lake St. Clair, not to be outdone by the great Father of Waters, has this past Spring been trying to do likewise, and at the present writing more than ever it is splashing, banging and tearing at the dikes, to the great alarm of those who live on the post, and particularly the enlisted men who have been putting their every effort into the piling of sand bags where the water threatens to break through.
We hope before Fall and Winter come again and we begin to use skis that the field may dry up enough so that we can land somewhere other than on the one semi-solid spot in the field, 'on the circle' without the ever present thought of - 'I wonder if I will nose over?' and 'Goodbye old P-1!'"
First Pursuiters Training at Oscoda, Michigan (July 20, 1929)
Since the return of the planes of the First Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mich., from the maneuvers at Columbus, Ohio, the summer season was put into effect. This schedule calls fro one of the pursuit squadrons to be firing at Camp Skeel, Oscoda, Michigan, each month; one squadron to conduct the reserve officers' camp and one squadron to be used for miscellaneous duties, such as dedication of airports, military demonstrations, etc.
The 15th Observation Squadron is busy with its many demonstrations and two target missions, and will spend the month of September at Camp Skeel. In accordance with that program the 94th Squadron, under the command of Lt. Harry Johnson, spent the month of June on the shores of Van Etten Lake. This is the first time that the officers who did not have the gunnery course at the Air Corps Training Center, and there were given a thorough course at the camp. The camp was highly successful, and all of the flyers qualified. Also, a great many of the enlisted men qualified in the pistol shooting. During this camp the building7s were put in first class shape and the mess hall extended so that it will accommodate all the men.
All the enlisted men and supplies were transported to and from Oscoda by transport, the Foker C-2 and Douglas C-1 from Selfridge Field and another one borrowed from Dayton being used to effect the transportation.
The landing field at Oscoda was enlarged, and two long runways were completed. This was done simply by attaching a truck to the pine trees and pulling them out of the loose sandy soil and leveling off the ground afterwards.
The 94th Squadron returned on July 1st and the 17th Squadron, under the command of Lieut. Paul Wolf, is now occupying the camp. The work of improving the camp will be carried on by that squadron, the main effort being made to provide suitable shower baths for the entire camp. In carrying on the work in this manner, it is hoped to even complete barracks for one entire squadron before the summer is completed. This work is being done with the salvage material from the old buildings torn down at Selfridge Field.
Air Corps Acts As Its Own Transporting Agency (July 20, 1929)
As has been pointed out many times before, the Army Air Corps has very little to worry about insofar as transporting airplanes is concerned. For some time it has been the general practice to fly new airplanes from the factory to the Air Corps field or station to which it is assigned. Distance presents no bar, for not so long ago a bombing plane was ferried from a factory in the United States to the Panama Canal Zone.
Personnel at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., recently demonstrated how to mobilize at a summer reserve camp airplanes located at various localities where reserve activities are carried on. The airplanes at Selfridge Field were recently augmented by the delivery of a Ford Transport plane equipped with J-6 motors. This plane was flown from the factory to Selfridge Field by Major Ralph Royce, executive officer of that field. The next day the Transport departed on a long cross-country trip with the object in view of collecting PT planes for use in the reserve camp.
Captain Victor H. Strahm piloted the Ford and took with him ten officers and a mechanic. The first stop made was at Columbus, Ohio, where Lieuts. Richards, Moor and Harrington stepped out,p secured three PT's and flew them to Selfridge Field the same afternoon. Cincinnati, Ohio, was the next stopping place of the Transport, and here Lieuts. Crawford and Gehlbach got out for the purpose of ferrying two PT's to Selfridge Field. Proceeding to Bowman Field, Louisville, Ky., Captain Reynolds took leave of the Transport and returned to his home station via a PT plane.
Scott Field was the last stop of the Transport for that day. The next morning Lieuts. Harding and Upthegrove further lightened the load of the Transport and proceeded on their way home in PT's. The next and last stop of the Transport was Schoen Field, Indianapolis, ind., where Captain Lotha Smith and Lieut. Rhudy collected the last two PT's. All of the planes arrived at Selfridge Field in fine shape and on the following day three PT's were brought in by Lieuts. Warren, Smith and Towle of Chanute Field. Additional PT's, with those already at this station, give Selfridge 17 of these planes for use in connection with the reserve officers' camps.
Over eighty reserve officers were ordered to Selfridge Field for training for the period of July 7th to 21st, and 66 of these reported. The 27th Sqaudron is now conducting the camp and, in addition to the 17 PTs', two O2's and three P-1's are in use for officers' training.
General Parker Inspects Selfridge Field (July 20, 1929)
General Parker, Commanding General of the Sixth Corps Area, made his tactical inspection of Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., on June 26th. He arrived at the field the evening before and spent the night at the Officers' Club. General Parker was accompanied on his inspection by Lieut.-Colonel Riley, Majors Ditto and Wildrick.
Following his inspection of the planes on the line, an aerial review was staged, which was participated in by 25 planes of the First Pursuit Group and five planes of the 15th Observation Squadron, commanded by Captain Reynolds and The Pursuit Group commanded by Major Royce. Following the actual review, the planes maneuvered for about half an hour before the General, after which he proceeded with the inspection of the barracks. At noon, luncheon for all the officers and visitors was served at the Officers' Club and the General spent the afternoon visiting the various departments of the field.
Before taking off to catch the train at Detroit, General Parker very graciously stopped at the hospital and chatted a few minutes with Lieut. Theisen. Except for a few minor details concerning the ground organization, the General expressed himself as very well pleased and was especially gratified to note the proficient manner in which the flying was performed. He talked to all the officers and told them that he expected to visit the field informally a great many times.
Pursuiters Fly to Canada to Participate in Airport Dedication (July 20, 1929)
An international visit to assist in the opening of the new municipal airport at Kingston, Ontario, Canada, was made by members of the First Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mich. A flight of three P-1's, piloted by Major Royce, Lieuts. Robinson and Warren, left on the afternoon of June 3rd and returned on the 5th. At Kingston the three officers were royally entertained by General Anderson, in command of the military district, and his staff; the members ofy the artillery garrison at that point and the officers on duty at the Royal Military College, as well as by the mayor, American Consul and the officials of the Kingston Flying Club.
Airports Constantly Increasing in Number (July 20, 1929)
Since the return of the First Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., from the Air Corps Manuevers in Ohio, personnel from that organization participated in no less than 12 airport dedications.
Six P-1s and three Observation planes were flown from Sioux City, Iowa, for the purpose of participating in the dedication of the Rickenbacker Airport at that point.
The same planes mentioned above were then flown to Rochester, Minnesota, where the pilots assisted in dedicating the Mayo Clinic Airport. While there, all members of the flight were royally entertained and were afforded an opportunity to visit the beautiful Mayo Clinic.
On the return of the flight from Rochester, Major Royce left the formation at Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill., and proceeded to Memphis, Tenn., to attend the opening of the new Memphis Field at that point.
Three planes were also flown to Bradford, Penna., to assist in the opening of an airport at that locality. Lieut. Upthegrove, of the 15th Squadron, was attached to a pursuit squadron for that flight in order to be able to be present at his own home town.
Under the leadership of Captain Lotha Smith, of the 27th Squadron, six planes were flown to Niagra Falls, N.Y., in order to assist in the dedication of the new airport there.
Sault Ste. Marie and Ste. Ignace, Michigan, being in the northern part of the state, the 94th Squadron from Oscoda, Michigan, dispatched three planes to each of those cities on consecutive days under the leadership of Lieut. Harry Johnson to assist in airport dedications at these places.
Three pursuit planes were flown to Erie, Penna., for the purpose of assisting in the dedication of the airport at that point. Lieut. Grover, being an Erie product, was in command of this flight.
Three planes, under the command of Lieut. Wolf of the 17th Squadron, were flown to assist in the dedication of Sky Harbor. The Army airmen reported this field as something new in the way of airports, inasmuch as the buildings were designed by a Russian architect, and one of the buildings on the field is occupied by one of the best night clubs in Chicago, all following out the Russian decoration scheme.
Following the flight of three planes from Selfridge Field, under the command of Lieut. Keillor, to DeKalb, Indian, to assist in the dedication of a new airport there, the Army airmen then proceeded to LaSalle-Peru airdrome for a similar purpose.
In addition to the above mentioned flights, three pursuit planes, under the command of Lieut. Richards, were flown to Mitchel Field. Operating from that field as a base, the airmen assisted in the demonstration during the Garden Party at Governors Island, N.Y.
Lieut. Winefordner Dies in Crash (Oct. 17, 1929)
It was with deep regret that the command art Selfridge Field, as well as the Air Corps ofy a whole, learned of the death of Lieut. John A. Winefordner on Sept. 5th at Lemmon, South Dakota, where he crashed and was killed when taking off from the field there, after having participated in the dedication of the airport at that place.
Lieut. Winefordner came to Selfridge Field on November 2, 1928, after having finished the course art the Advanced Flying School, and during his stay at the field made himself universally liked by all with whom he came in contact. The Air Corps lost in his death an excellent pilot and a perfect gentleman.
First Pursuit Group Participates in Airport Dedications (Nov. 9, 1929)
During the month of September the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., participated on quite a number of occasions in the ceremonies incident to the dedicatibn of new airports, a few of the more important7 ones being enumerated below.
Danville, Ill., was dedicated on Sept. 7th, the Pursuiters in attendance being Lieuts. Cecil E. Henry, Robert L. Schoenlein and Edward H. Underhill. They returned to Selfridge Field the following day.
On September 21st a flight of three planes proceeded to Camden, N.J., via the Cumberland Airport, Maryland, to stage exhibition flights during the dedication exercises. The pilots, Lieuts. Orrin L. Grover, Durward O. Lowry and Flint Garrison Jr., returned to Selfridge Field the following day.
The dedication of the airport at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was attended by Lieuts. Robert D. Moor, Donald L. Putt and Lawrence W. Koons, who flew to that point on September 20th and returned to Selfridge Field on the 22nd.
Clinton, Iowa, was the scene of the dedication of a new airport on September 24th, 1st Pursuit Group pilots participating being Lieuts. Robert D. Moor, Aubrey L. Moore and Paul M. Jacombs.
Lieuts. Duke Lowry and Garrison participated in the dedication of the new airport at Peoria, Ill., on September 28th.
In addition to the above mentioned flights to new airports, six members of the Group flew to Baltimore, Md., on September 11th via Burgess and Bolling Fields, to participate in aerial exercises incident to a celebration at the Monumental City on the 12th. The pilots, Lieuts. Alden R. Crawford, Edward H. Underhill, Charles A. Harriongton, Orrin L. Grover, James A Ellison and John C. Crosthwaite returned to Selfridge Field on the 13th.
Captain Lotha A. Smith, Lieuts. Hine, Jacobs, Crosthwaite, Harrington, Wurtsmith, Rhudy, Underhill and French, in nine Pursuit planes, proceeded directly to Bowman Field, Jeffersontown, Ky., September 30th to October 3rd. Since this flight was to proceed from Bowman Field to Bolling Field on October 4th, Lieut. Richards, piloting a C-9 Ford tri-motor Transport, ferried six mechanics to Bowman Field for such mechanical work as would be necessary at that place for the purpose of preparing the Pursuit planes for the flight to Bolling Field.
15th Observation Squadron Returns from Camp (Nov. 9, 1929)
The 15th Observation Squadron, stationed at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., closed Camp Skeel, Oscoda, Mich., upon the completion of their gunnery and bombing practice. The camp was a very successful one from every viewpoint, being marred by no serious mishaps. A great deal was accomplished along the lines of gunnery, bombing and service tests. Three members of the Squadron qualified as expert aerial gunners and 25 qualified with the pistol, a total of 72% qualifying.
Since returning from Oscoda, the Squadron took part in three demonstration flights and performed a number of practice missions in navigation, communication and formatting flying. And, adds the News Letter Correspondent, lest we forget our Cadet days, we have been having the usual thirty minutes a day buzzer practice.
The Squadron has the largest number of officers and enlisted men since it was organized in April, 1928. Captain Clearton Reynolds' command numbers 17 officers and 128 enlisted men. Of the officers, 14 are pilots and 4 are observers. Seven of the pilots also hold the rating of observer. With one enlisted pilot, making a total of 15 pilots, the News Letter Correspondent considers that the Squadron certainly has enough of them to keep their seven O2's and one PT rather busy.
Air Corps Squadron Makes Good in Farming (Nov. 9, 1929)
Rather surprising results were obtained this year with the 15th Observation Squadron garden at Selfridge Field. Maintained at a total expense of but $20, the net proceeds from the garden approximated $600.00 and, in addition, plenty of fresh vegetables were enjoyed during the entire summer.
A New Job for Major Royce (Nov. 9, 1929)
Major Ralph Royce, Commanding Officer f the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., left the group recently on a leave of absence for three months to assume a rather unusual job, that of aerial traffic cop for Cook County, Illinois. According to the understanding of the News Letter Correspondent, Major Royce's duties are to supervise the operation and equipment of the many commercial fields in and around Chicago, as well to act in an advisory capacity with reference to a proposed uniform system of flying instruction and regulations for Cook County.
Accidents to Reserve Officers at Selfridge Field a Rare Occurrence (Nov. 9, 1929)
The News Letter Correspondent points out that the percentage of accidents by Air Corps Reserve officers flying at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., on inactive status is remarkable in that there really is no percent at all, which, of course, speaks volumes for these pilots who keep their hand in this great game by intermittent visits on inactive status and occasional details to fourteen-day active duty periods.
The first accident in many months by a Reserve officer on inactive status at Selfridge Feld occurred on October 6th, when 2nd Lieut. Daniel B. Burns, flying an O-2, tried to land about ten miles from Selfridge Field after his engine quit. He evidently tried to glide a little farther than the ship would go and took part of the fence around the Gratiot Airport along with him. Although he escaped with nothing more than a few moments of "unrest" the plane had to be hauled back to Selfridge and was later shipped to the Fairfield Air Depot for overhaul.
Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, Mich., Nov. 5th (1929)
2nd Lieut. Ernest K. Warburton, A.C., in a P-1C type Pursuit plane, made an extended cross-country flight on Oct. 8th, from Selfridge Field to Boston, Mass., via Buffalo, N.Y., returning via Mitchel Field and Buffalo on Oct. 1st.
Six Pursuit ships were flown on a special mission to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Md., for participation in the aerial demonstration in connection with the annual Ordnance Day exercises there on Oct. 10th The flight consisting of 1st Liet. Paul W. Wolf, A.C., Flight Leader, with 2nd Lieuts. Orrin L. Grover, Edwin R. French, Aubrey L. Moore, Paul B. Wurtsmith and Hoyt L. Prindle, departed from Selfridge Field, Oct. 8th, returning on the 11th.
Oct. 8th also saw the return of the 9 Pursuit planes from Montreal, Quebec, where ther were flown for participation in the aerial celebration in connection with the arrival of the Ford Reliability Tour at that place.
The photographic work ordered by the Corps Area in connection with making mosaics of Ft. Sheridan, Ill., Jefferson Barracks, Mo., Camp Custer, Mich., and Ft. Brady, Mich., was commenced by Lieut. Harold W. Grant, A.C., and Staff Sgt. Herman L. Hackwith, 5th Photo Section. Three flights were made over Camp Custer and arrangements are being made to complete the balance of the work as soon as possible.
On Octr. 14th Capt. "Joe" Cannon, A.C., paid his old home and many friends a visit, when he flew in here from Chanute Field. Capt. Cannon is now on duty at Kelly Field, Texas. The following day, General Gillmore with Lieut. Tourtellot, another old Selfridge pilot, arrived in an O-2 from Wright Field. General Gillmore is also accompanied by Lieut. Longfellow in a P-1. During his very brief stay (for he arrived at eleven and departed for Chanute at three ten) General Gillmore reviewed the command, that is, he watched an aerial review of the 1st Pursuit Group and the 15th Observation Squadron. Following this he was introduced by Col. Danforth, the Post Commander, to all officers assembled in the Post Operations Office, to whome he gave a short talk, bringing to his attentive audience several little, or large, matters in which they were all vitally interested.
This seemed to be a month for the reviewing of all friendships and memories, for on the 16th, Lieut. Donald Stace arrived from Chanute. He left the following day for his present station, Wright Field.
A stretch of bad weather over this territory resulted in Lieuts. Paul A. Shanahan and Frederick A. Johnson being detained at Chanute Field for the period Oct. 19 to 24. Capt. William D. Wheeler and Lieut. Carleton F. Davidson made a flight to Wrigh5t Field for photographic supplies on the 20th and were, on account of bad weather, delayed there until the 25th.
Lieuts. Batron and Page arrived from Wright Field on the 25th and returned the following day.
Lieut. Lawrence W. Koons, in one of the old reliable C-1 Transports, ferried four students to the ACTS at Chanute Field on the 25th, returning the following day with several graduates assigned to this station.
A flight ofy six Pursuit ships, piloted by Lieuts. John C. Crosthwaite, Homer L. Sanders, Austin A. Straubel, Orrin L. Grover, Ralph C. Rhudy and Theodore M. Bolen departed on the 25th, via Uniontown and Middletown for Trenton, N.J., for participation in another airport dedication. The flight returned on the 28th.
These last few days, regardless of the rain and fog, several Pursuit and Observation planes, including one piloted by the Commanding Officer, Col. Charles H. Danforth, searched the waters of Lake St. Clair for three local fishermen who had not returned after several days. These men were reported lost on the 25th, but to date have not been located, although the boat in which they started out7 was found empty by Lieut. Warburton.
The Fokker transport, which was overhauled at Wright Field, was returned on the 29th and a PT-1, an O-2 and the C-1C were ferried to Wright for overhaul on the same date.
Notification that several of the new P-6 Pursuit jobs are ready at Mitchel Field was joyfully received and several are expected here within the next few days. More planes will help get in the air the many new officers now reporting to this station. For some time this field has operated with a maximum of 31 Pursuit and 7 Observation planes, which resulted in an average of three pilots for each plane. This, together with the number of planes out of commission from time to time, held training to a minimum.
Autumn with its cold and, at least, uncertain weather, sees our many pilots scurrying hither and yon in search of almost forgotten fur-lined flying suits, heavy gloves and moccasins. There is even talk of face masks, for almost any altitude at all brings zero temperarture, and complexions must be guarded. Anyway, a frozen face is nothing to brage about.
And, before we forget it - the drainage system has been installed - the miles and miles of tile have been laid - and the entire field is now ready and fit for use.
On a return flight from Camp Skeel, Oscoda, Mich., on Oct. 11th, 2nd Lieut. Harold W. Grant, A.C., pilot of a C-1 transport with 7 passengers, which included the Post Surgeon, Major Lowyd W. Ballantyne, Medical Corps, was forced down about 10 miles north of Selfridge near the village of Anchorville, Mich., due to heavy fog. Lieut. Grant had been flying about five hours and, not being certain of his exact positions, decided to land rather than being forced down at some place where he might injure his passengers. The field selected appeared smooth but small. However, it was drossed with drainage ditches several inches deep and about one hundred feet apart, and one-half of the landing gear gave way, damaging the left lower wing. A telephone call brought motor transportation, and all personnel, with the exception of two enlisted men who remained with the ship as guards, were returned to Selfridge. The following day temporary repairs were made and the ship flown to Selfridge where the damaged parts were replaced.
27th Pursuit Squadron: With the completion of the first round of games in the Inter-Squadron Football League, the 27th Pursuit Squadron team seems to have a fairly safe strangle hold on the championship prospects. While all of the teams have shown exceptional improvemen since the opening of the season, the 27th boys were able to keep just a little further advanced than any of their opponents and won all three of their games.
The 57th Service Squadron eleven, entering the season a rather top heavy favorite to come through with a clean sweep as they did last season, was tripped up in two of their three games. First, the 27th toppled them with the clean cut defeat and then the 17th Pursuit boys sprung an even greater surprise by holding them to a scoreless tie.
The standing to date gives the 27th six points, the 57th three; the 17th, two; and the 94th, one point. Two points are awarded for each game, the points being split in the case of a tie.
The 17tth and 94th Squadrons somewhat handicapped through lack of experienced coaches, will probably improve their showing with the new coaching assistance assigned to them. 2nd Lieut. Edward L. Anderson, Air Res., also from Kelly, who came here for extended active duty, was assigned to the 94th and will assist materially in the coaching of that team.
17th Pursuit Squadron, A.C.: October was a busy month regards personnel. First, we were sorry to lose Lieut. John F. Egan, transferred to Brooks Field, following which Lieut. William Morgan left for Chanute Field to take a course in Armament. Several new officers joined the 17th, however, one being Lieut. Murl Estes, an old member of the squadron, whom we welcomed back, Oct. 7th. Since leaving us some months ago he was engaged in pursuit of the elusive dollar flying for General Tire Company. He reports a pleasant summer with plenty of cross-country flying. Lieut. Durward Lowry, an experienced Pursuit pilot, joined us on Oct. 8th, followed on the 15th by Lieuts. L.O. Ryan and Hanlson Van Auken, transferred from Kelly Field. Lieuts. Lowry and Donald Putt received their regular commissions on Oct. 4th.
Staff Sgt. Rosser transferred to Kelly Field on Oct. 21st to replace Staff Sgt. Rowell, transferring from there to the 17th.
There is little to report regarding cross-county, Lieut. Putt to Battle Creek and Lieut. Bob Moor to Toledo being the only two. One Reserve officer, 1st Lieut. D.R. Ludeking, trained for two weeks with the 17th.
The new lawn is now complete. Under the direction of Lieut. Warburton, a space fifty feet wide around the barracks was filled in, leveled and covered with sod adding greatly to the appearance of the place. Work is progressing on drives and roads about the barracks, but the busy him is now being turned into preparations for the winter.
27th Pursuit Squadron: Flying activities in the 27tth during October were seriously curtailed due to a spell of bad weather.
Three officers of the Squadron made voluntary cross-countries during the month - Lieuts. Straubel to Green Bay, Wisc.; Stillin to Lima, Ohio and Tibbetts to Columbus, Ohio. Lieut. Prindle was a member of a flight of six ships which journeyed to Aberdeen, Md., early in the month to participate in the Air Corps demonstration at the Annual Ordnance show. He reports a very interesting trip.
Lieut. Crosthwaite took a flight of six ships of this squadron to Trenton, N.J., on the 25th to participate in the opening of a new airport. From all reports, a successful trip and an enjoyable visit was had by all.
During the past week, Lieut. Crosthwaite received orders for transfer to March Field. We are all sorry to see him leave, as he was a very great asset to the Squadron. His experience in the R.A.F. and two years in the Cavalry were valuable to both himself and the Squadron.
A new officer joined the Squadron in the person of Lieut. W.R. Morgan, a graduate from Kelly Field with the last class, who took active duty for one year. We welcome him to our ranks.
The entire outfit is considerably pepped up over the arrival of a telegram from Washington, stating that four of the new P-6's would be ready for delivery during the early part of December.
The non-com's seem to have the Matrimonial Blues - Sgts. Bailey, White, McGaha and Curtiss all having acquired a "better half" during the last six weeks.
94th Pursuit Squadron, A.C.: Lieut. Harry A. Johnson, C.O. ofy the 94th Squadron, is on three months leave test-hopping Anthony G. Fokker's latest ship, the F-32, which is the largest land plane constructed in this country.
The "skipper" is well qualified for this work, as he has had a great deal of experience in handling big ships, and the bigger they build them the better he likes them. But we are of the opinion he will be back with us soon, for although the call of big money in commercial aviation is very strong, the call of his little P-1 is stronger.
Two recent graduates of the flying school were assigned to the 94th and are fitting in the organization in fine style. Theye are Lieuts. H.H. Tellman and Jesse Auton, Air Res. Several more men will report in soon and will be assigned to the different squadrons.
Capt. Joe Cannon, late C.O. of the 94th, paid us a visit recently, spending two days at the post. The squadron is always glad to see its former members any time they are able to drop in.
Staff Sgt. Roberts, promoted to Tech. Sgt., was transferred to the 57th Service Sqaudron. The Squadron congratulates Bob.
Staff Sgt. "Hank" Weber was transferred to the 94th and, like all other recruits, let the bunk fall on his foot while putting same together.
Our most esteemed Staff Sgt. and Squadron clerk, Forberg, has done it again, for three years.
57th Service Squadron: Several changes in status, among the commissioned and enlisted personnel, occurred during the past few weeks. Lieut. Alden R. Crawford, appointed Post Operations Officer, was transferred to Headquarters Det. Lieut. Robert L. Schoenlein was transferred from the Squadron to Chanute Field where he is a student in the Air Corps Technical School.
St. Sgt. Thompson reported to the Squadron, October 26th, having been on detached duty as a student at Chanute Field. Tech. Sgt. Horn was transferred from this Squadron to Headquarters Det., and Tech Sgt. Roberts was transferred to this Squadron from the 94th Pursuit Squadron on October 21st.
15th Observation Squadron: 2nd Lieuts. S.G. McLennan and A.W. Reed reported for duty on Oct. 27th.
St.Sgt. C.B. Guile, enlisted pilot, reported on Oct. 24th. We now have a total of twenty-one pilots, which should be enough to keep the new O-19's busy - if and when we go get them.
Capt. B.M. Kane, Air Res., assigned to the Squadron for two weeks' active duty, had very little flying time because of the consistently poor weather.
The officers of the Squadron are considering adopting a new walking stick. We have been working on a new Squadron insignia and hope to have it approved in time to get it on the new ships when they arrive. Wait until you see it!
The sodding work around the barracks is just about completed, and when the flower beds and other bits of landscape gardening are completed the place will present a very attractive appearance. A new greenhouse is being constructed which will aid materially in getting an early garden next spring.