USAAC/USAAF Training

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I think recruiting was much more strict regarding physical and educational requirements. This kept enlistments down. For example, my father tried to enlist in the AAC in 1937, but was rejected for a stiff knuckle on his left little finger from a whittling accident. A few years later that would not have been a problem. Fortunately, because of the rejection, I and my sisters are here, as he may have been in the P.I. in 1941.
 
I think recruiting was much more strict regarding physical and educational requirements. This kept enlistments down. For example, my father tried to enlist in the AAC in 1937, but was rejected for a stiff knuckle on his left little finger from a whittling accident. A few years later that would not have been a problem. Fortunately, because of the rejection, I and my sisters are here, as he may have been in the P.I. in 1941.

There is a recent book titled 'Doomed at the Start, American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines, 1941-1942' by author William Bartsch which gives a very good overview of what happened in the Philippines during the first weeks of the war.
 
I think I see what you mean. You are perfectly correct in saying there were no shortcuts in training etc. I agree, I'm just saying that all of the training etc. was constrained by the budgets that were allocated. For instance you are an officer in charge of training and you believe that future missions will need twenty trained pilots with two hundred hours each. The government gives you enough money to be able to train ten pilots up to two hundred hours. If you train them to two hundred hours you can honestly say that you've properly trained ten pilots. But you needed twenty. Addition: The Center for Military History (CMH) has an online site with a lot of information regarding American Military History. There is a section there that gives some information on budgetary constraints affecting equipment procurement and training programs.
You're still assuming a lot of stuff. I'd suggest researching more And I'm well aware of the CMH, I worked at the USAFA for 14 years...

During the depression years there were few and far between pilots slots for both armed services so those chosen were top in their classes if from either academy. The Army Air Corps conducted primary and basic flying training at Randolph and Brooks Fields, and advanced training at Kelly Field. The AAC were graduating under 500 pilots a year to fit what was considered required and this training could take over a year so the recruits of the time were VERY well trained for the given technology of the day. Because the military could be picky, pilots could be washed out for almost any reason. All that changed in 1938 and by 1939 there was a mass pilot training program launched as well as a massive defense build up. I think after that you were looking at 4,000 pilot trainees per year.
 
But in the day's following the attack on Pearl Harbor the monetary flood gates truly opened for the US military equipment, manpower, training and everything else they either knew or believed was needed.


One of the great myths of WW II History.

The monetary gates had opened back in 1940. The actual goods/items may not have rolled out the factory doors until mid 1941 to mid 1942 but many of the factories that built the equipment/items were paid for in 1940.

Aug 30th 1940, Army orders 607 P-38 fighters, this is on top of the existing American, French and British orders.
Sept 14th 1940, Army orders 623 P-39 Aircobras in addition to the 80 already on order, not including French/British orders.
Sept 1940, Army orders the P-40D soon changed to the six gun E, 842 will be made for the US not counting direct purchases by the British and lend lease.
Sept 1940 the Army orders 733 P-47B & C fighters.

That is just the fighters, doesn't include bombers. See Navy appropriations for 1939 and 1940.

how about : "Congress passed the Two Oceans Navy Bill in July 1940 allowed for the building of 1,325,000 tons of new warships."

US built over 4,000 tanks in 1941, granted about 2550 of them were M3 Stuarts but you don't build that many tanks, even with British orders if the money gates didn't open in 1940.
 
Does anyone know of original source documentation with information as to how many flight hours the average US pilot had in the late-1930s to the start of the war? In particular the USN, but also the USAAC. The reason I ask is that I am wondering how much of a parallel there was between the 2 services and the counterparts of other nations. The pre-war RAF and FAA had rather high time pilots, many with multi-platform experience. Some of the pre-war FAA pilots in particular were high time on the different airframes in service.

As to the number of pilots available on the carriers, most of the time most nations seem to have had about 1.5 pilots per operating aircraft, although this did vary depending on the theater and operational environment. In the Pacific and other tropical conditions, where disease and heat effects were a factor, the RN sometimes had upto 2 pilots (crews?) per operating aircraft. This information is kind of a conglomerate of various writings, not original source documents, so it could be off.
 
I explained the Luftwaffe training regimen in another thread a while back:

As far as the Luftwaffe pilot training, it was pretty rigorous leading up to, and during the first years of, the war. As the war wore on, Luftwaffe resource and material shortages compromised the program to the point where, in the final stages of the war, training was nearly non-existant.

Prior to 1941, the Luftwaffe training program started with 6 months at the Recruit Training Depot (Fliegerersatzabteilung), which was comparable to boot camp. Here the prospective pilot focused on physical training, endless drills and was introduced to basic flight principles like map reading, two-way radio and lectures. Once he's completed this, he moved on to an Air Traning Company (Fluganwarterkompanie) for two months, studying general aeronautical subjects.

Once this portion had been completed, he moved on to Elementary Flying School (A/B Schule) where he recieved hands-on training in such aircraft as the Bücker Bü131 and Focke-Wulf Fw44.

The next step is the A2 license portion of his training. This is a little more involved and includes courses in Navigation, Meteorology, Aeronautical Engineering, Aerodynamics and Flying Procedures. For the B2 portion, the student flew more advanced aircraft, like the Arado Ar66 and Ar76, Gotha Go145 along with retired combat types like the Heinkel He51 and the Henschel Hs123 (before it was recalled and put back into service). During this portion of his school, he'll have logged between 100 and 150 hours of flight time. Once his B2 portion was successfully completed, he received his Pilot's License (Luftwaffenflugzeugfuehrerschein) and his Pilot's Wings (Flugzeugfuehrerabzeichen).

At this point, the pilot will go on to specialist school depending on whether he's going into single-engined fighter or single-engined dive bomber service.

If the pilot is going to be assigned multi-engined duties (twin-engined fighter, bomber, recon), then he'll continue to a C portion of school, where he'll receive an additional 50 to 60 hours flying time over the course of 6 months. Also, the pilot will have advanced ground training in a variety of subjects, and fly early type multi-engined aircraft as the Dornier Do17, Heinkel He111 and the Junkers Ju86.

Once the C portion is completed, the pilot receives his advanced pilot's license and will continue on to their respective specialty training. IF the pilot is to be assigned bomber or reconnaissance duty, they will receive an additional 50 to 60 hours of blind flying training, the twin-engine fighter pilot bypassed this requirement.

From here, there was additional time in the various specialty schools, where they were assigned to their groups, operated advanced trainer aircraft and learned the various procedures unique to their assignments. Then on to Operational Training Units (Ergaenzungseinheiten) where they were introduced to their front line aircraft and received "hands-on" experience.

So basically, from the time a pilot candidate stepped foot in boot camp, to the time they arrived at their Operational Training Unit, a Luftwaffe pilot with a single-engine rating has had 13 months of training with about 150 to 200 hours logged. For the multi-engine rated pilots, they've had 20 months of training and 220 to 270 hours logged.

As I mentioned before, this was the procedure until things started falling apart around 1941.
 
One of the great myths of WW II History.

The monetary gates had opened back in 1940. The actual goods/items may not have rolled out the factory doors until mid 1941 to mid 1942 but many of the factories that built the equipment/items were paid for in 1940.

Aug 30th 1940, Army orders 607 P-38 fighters, this is on top of the existing American, French and British orders.
Sept 14th 1940, Army orders 623 P-39 Aircobras in addition to the 80 already on order, not including French/British orders.
Sept 1940, Army orders the P-40D soon changed to the six gun E, 842 will be made for the US not counting direct purchases by the British and lend lease.
Sept 1940 the Army orders 733 P-47B & C fighters.

That is just the fighters, doesn't include bombers. See Navy appropriations for 1939 and 1940.

how about : "Congress passed the Two Oceans Navy Bill in July 1940 allowed for the building of 1,325,000 tons of new warships."

US built over 4,000 tanks in 1941, granted about 2550 of them were M3 Stuarts but you don't build that many tanks, even with British orders if the money gates didn't open in 1940.

There was a very good book on the subject titled 'Freedom's Forge that went into a great deal of detail on American industry gearing up for war both in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and what happened afterward. The US knew that war was on the horizon and began gearing up for it. I think FDR gave his 'Arsenal of Democracy' speech around the end of 1940. The Naval expenditures (I had to look this up) began in 1934 with the Vinson-Trammel act. This was known to the Japanese and it would be reasonable to believe it might have had an effect on their thoughts and plans with the US as a potential adversary. Along with this, the US began allotting more monies to the Army. The increase in these expenditures while certainly an improvement, were gradual. Compare that to the quantity of orders after the attack along with the accelerating rates of production from January 1942 and the difference is remarkable. There are other books, some with 'Arsenal of Democracy' in their titles that cover the same ground from different perspectives.
 
Does anyone know of original source documentation with information as to how many flight hours the average US pilot had in the late-1930s to the start of the war? In particular the USN, but also the USAAC. The reason I ask is that I am wondering how much of a parallel there was between the 2 services and the counterparts of other nations. The pre-war RAF and FAA had rather high time pilots, many with multi-platform experience. Some of the pre-war FAA pilots in particular were high time on the different airframes in service.

I remember reading somewhere "newer" AAC pilots averaged between 200 - 300 hours after they were assigned to a unit. Remember in the pre-war years officers (and enlisted men) ranked slowly and you may have a pretty capable 1st Lt holding a pretty important position within a unit (Ex., 1Lt Benjamin S. Kelsey) and also have many flight hours. I remember reading for the Navy you were looking at 600 hours to include flying NCOs. Again, this is from memory, I can't recall the exact reference.
 
A rough guide to the Empire Air Training Scheme for Australia...

Scan0547.jpg


(AEROAustralia 2014)
 
Have read about the USN practice in a couple of histories. Soon as I come across it again I'll add the source to this thread. Remember what I read spoke of substantial time in type, not just a check out. Here's a thought, 1942, two USN pilots have 400 hours each in SBD, both checked out in F4F, while flying CAP they are attacked by A6Ms with typical high time pilots. How do they respond? Classic military answer, when you don't know what to do, you do what you know. Result A6M gets a killer reputation.

In your scenario you take a lot for granted, in a lot of cases it depends on who sees who first.
And the Dauntless they usually had for CAP wasn't toothless.
As Swede Vejtasa proved when he brought down 3 Zeros in one mission.


One of my kin took flight training under the civilian pilot training program, then entered the USAAF, flew C-47s.

His wife gave me a lot of his old training manuals in the late 50's. I read them cover to cover many times.
 
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Does anyone know of original source documentation with information as to how many flight hours the average US pilot had in the late-1930s to the start of the war? In particular the USN, but also the USAAC. The reason I ask is that I am wondering how much of a parallel there was between the 2 services and the counterparts of other nations. The pre-war RAF and FAA had rather high time pilots, many with multi-platform experience. Some of the pre-war FAA pilots in particular were high time on the different airframes in service.

As to the number of pilots available on the carriers, most of the time most nations seem to have had about 1.5 pilots per operating aircraft, although this did vary depending on the theater and operational environment. In the Pacific and other tropical conditions, where disease and heat effects were a factor, the RN sometimes had up to 2 pilots (crews?) per operating aircraft. This information is kind of a conglomerate of various writings, not original source documents, so it could be off.
The following is from a book titled 'The Battle of Midway' authored by Craig Symonds. Naval Aviation Cadet program (AVCAD) accepted young men, graduated from high school and having two years college (college requirement dropped a short time later) between the ages of 18 and 26, unmarried. First three months were a short boot camp with classroom instruction and primary flight training. This was followed by 14 weeks intermediate training chiefly in Stearman N3N aircraft after which they began 'Field Carrier Landings'. These landings were practiced on the white outline of a carrier deck on a runway. After successful completion they moved on to 'Advanced Carrier Landing' where they practiced landings on aircraft carriers using training aircraft. After being assigned to a unit they would begin practicing flying procedures, takeoffs and landings in the aircraft with which their unit was equipped. During the period of time before and leading up to the battle of Midway 70% of USN pilots had less than three years flight experience with one third of these having less than one year.
The average US flight class during this period consisted of one instructor for every ten students. The Japanese system was one instructor for every four students with more stringent standards than the US for accepted students. By the time of the Midway operation, not only did the average IJN pilot have far more flight time than the US pilots but also substantial hours in combat. I do not have figures but, given that the IJA and IJN had been deeply involved in combat air operations in China since 1937 and had been conducting combat related operations since 1931 with the invasion of Manchuria, their experience level would have been extensive.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the Luftwaffe rotated their pilots through the Condor Legion to give them some combat flight experience. Just looking at the conflict's years alone should give an indication of the level of experience the Japanese would have had.
 
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Most of the topics in this thread revolve around Technology. How about looking at 'What If' from the doctrines of the various belligerents. I came across an article recently in which the author stated that while totals in flight time were not that far apart, total time in type would be completely different. As an example, a Japanese and American pilot might each have a total 600 hours. This author argued that the IJA/IJN pilots time would be in a specific type, fighter, bomber or torpedo aircraft while the American would have his time divided among all two or three types. Did other nations follow the Japanese or the American Models? What if US pilots trained only or mostly in one type?

PART 1 of Response (banged up against the 20K character limit)

Leading up to the war, in the carrier end of things, one saw ensigns who had completed their intermediate flight training being shuffled of to an Aircraft Carrier Training Group. There were two of these ACTGs, on at NAS Norfolk and the other at NAS San Diego. By this time, the individual community type (VSB, VT, or VF) had already been decided and their training structured accordingly. This involved tactics, gunnery, bombing, what have you and, as often as they were available, trips out to carriers operating nearby to work on their carrier qualifications. When deemed ready the entered the pool for squadron assignment.

Likewise, the VCS/VO community honed their skills on scouting, gun fire spotting, and the all important landing and taking off (either open water or by catapult) in a float plane.

The new patrol plane types, who by that time had been married up with a complete crew went initially to the Transition Training Squadron (TTS) before being sent directly to the VP squadrons. Once in a squadron, they were put to work in active patrol activities, usually under the watchful eye of one of the squadron’s senior aviators. Eventually, sometime after reaching the exalted status of LTJG, one might expect to be rated a PPC (Patrol Plane Commander) and pretty much left to handle missions and responsibilities as they arose.

Folks going to the VR (Transport) community were likewise sent to VR Squadrons where they, no doubt, spent considerable time sitting in copilot’s seat until deemed qualified as a plane commander. It is interesting to note that VR squadrons tended to rather large in terms of complements with, literally, several hundreds of aviators assigned to a single squadron.

By mid-1942 with a massive construction effort to expand facilities, the wartime training process was fairly well established. The large difference between the wartime training process and the prewar was the advent of the operational training units. Prewar, a newly designated aviator, if headed for carriers, went to one of two advanced carrier training groups (ACTG), one based in Norfolk and the other in San Diego. For the patrol plane types there were the transitional training squadrons (TTS) one each at the same locations. The ACTGs slowly morphed into unit training programs under the Fleet Air commands rather than individual programs, the TTS eventually went away in late 1943.

Officers of the regular Navy, after two years of sea duty, could apply for aviation training. Enlisted men of the regular Navy who, in the opinion of their commanding officers had the potential to qualify, could request aviation training and, upon completion, would be designated as Naval Aviation Pilots - by the middle of the war, such enlisted personnel were sometimes rolled into the Aviation Cadet (AvCad) program and commissioned as Ensigns, USNR or USCGR or 2d Lieutenants, USMCR, upon completion of intermediate flight training.

Civilians were enrolled through the V-5 program as AvCads and commissioned in Reserves upon completion of flight training. These civilians were the source of the vast majority of the USN and USMC aviators. The Navy’s pilot training program, as it evolved, was designed to bring in up to 2500 pilot candidates a month, certainly far more than could be drawn from the regular naval establishment. Between 1940 and 45 a total of 65,478 individuals were designated as Naval Aviators or NAPs (enlisted aviators). On 1 Jul 41 there were 4,617 naval aviators on active duty (3,936 officers & 681 NAPs); on 1 Jul 45 there were 60,095 naval aviators on active duty (59,609 officers & 486 NAPs).

The V-5 program provided for qualified civilians to enlist in the Navy for the purpose of attending flight training. The training of AvCads, as developed in the first year of the war, provided for selected applicants to attend a flight preparatory course for three months at one of 20 colleges across the country. This was an academic program preliminary to actual flight training. Upon completion, another two months was spent learning to fly light aircraft at one of 250 training centers operated by the Civil Aeronautics Authority. Upon completion of this basic course, the AvCad then attended a pre-flight training course that largely consisted of physical and military training lasting about 3 months. This was followed by 2 months at a Naval Air Station or a Naval Air Reserve Base in Primary Flight Training. Collectively these preliminary training steps were referred to as elimination training. Prior to the war, should a student be eliminated he had the choice of continued enlisted service or separation, once the war started, if eliminated one was sent to other enlisted assignments. The Primary Flight Training portion was divided into six stages:

1. Primary Dual: in company with an instructor - basics of taxiing, take-offs, climbs, turns, spirals, glides, landings, stalls, spins and primary emergency procedures. Upon completion of this first stage, the AvCad performed a solo check flight.

2. Primary Solo: following a general review dual instruction, advanced tasks and techniques. With both dual and solo demonstration, covered in this phase were steeply banked turns, high altitude slips and spirals, spins, wingovers and reactive emergencies. Instruction included small field landings and slips to a landing, both dual and solo.

3. Advanced solo: both dual instruction and solo demonstration - loops, split-S, snap roll, pylons, precision landings with slips, spin recovery and field procedures.

4. Final: both dual and solo demonstration - General review stressing smoothness, reaction to strange field procedures with power, instruction in inverted stalls and spins and progressive spins.

5. Formation: Instruction and practice in formation flying techniques.

6. Night flying: Dual and solo night flying instruction.

At each of these 6 stages the AvCad had to receive a satisfactory check off before proceeding to the next stage. While all this was going on, there was also a ground training school which occupied about half of the AvCad’s time, including study of power plants, photography, gunnery, aerology, aircraft structures, navigation and communications.

Upon successful completion of his primary training, the AvCad moved on to Intermediate Flight Training. This training was usually conducted at naval air training centers such as NAS Corpus Christi or NAS Pensacola. In his intermediate training the AvCad flew service type aircraft (types in squadron service as opposed to simpler training aircraft). Students were given the opportunity to request the type of aircraft in which they wanted to specialize. These types generalized as carrier (CV), patrol (VPB), utility (VJ/VR) or scout/observation (VO/VCS). There was no guarantee that one would be assigned as requested.

Initial intermediate training consisted of a refresh of skills taught in Primary Training in order to indoctrinate the AvCad in the operation of heavier, more powerful aircraft. Instrument training was heavily emphasized with the use of Link trainers and “under-the-hood” flying. The instrument flying program began with basic familiarization with instruments and their part in trimming; straight, smooth flight; climbs, glides, spirals, stalls and spins; intricate patterns; recovery from unusual situations; and rough air procedures. This phase also covered radio ranging, beam navigation, and methods of orientation. The satisfactory check for this phase included demonstration of primary skills, instrument flight and navigation, and instrument guided landing.

The next phase of intermediate training was Specialized Intermediate Training based on the AvCad’s by now expected community assignment and centered on specific operational types. For carrier-based types: VF training was 100 hours and included familiarization, acrobatics, formation tactics, primary and advanced fixed gunnery, combat tactics, glide bombing, navigation, night flying and carrier operations. VB training was 100 hours including familiarization, gunnery, as well as carrier operations and with the greatest emphasis placed on glide and dive bombing, navigation, scouting, communications and formation tactics. VT training was similar to VSB with the elements of the torpedo attack being the emphasis vice dive bombing. Intermediate ground school subjects included engineering and maintenance, navigation, communications, aerology, survival, and organization and operations of squadrons.

At the completion of Intermediate Flight Training the Aviation Cadet was awarded his wings, was assigned a permanent Naval Aviator number and, except for a very small number of NAPs, was commissioned in the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. By now, the new naval aviator has spent seven or so months in the training pipeline.

The next step in Naval Aviator training was assignment to an operational training unit of the Naval Air Operational Training Command, NAS Jacksonville (NAOTC). It was at the Operational Training Unit (OTU) level that air crews were established, with enlisted aircrewmen being assigned with pilots in VB and VT aircraft types. These personnel assignments generally continued through the OTU period and on into operational squadrons. Prior to the Apr 42 establishment of the NAOTC, advanced training was accomplished at the Advanced Carrier Training Groups located at NAS Norfolk and NAS San Diego. OTUs were where most of the newly designated aviators received their training associated with his type assignment. Between one third and one half of each intermediate training class, the new naval aviators, were selected for carrier training.

Focusing on training of carrier pilots, those of the VF, VB, and VT variety of the species, operational training exposed the new aviator to in-type training in an environment not dissimilar to an active squadron. OTUs were deliberately organized as nearly as possible along the lines of an operational squadron.

In carrier-type OTUs there were approximately 100 aviators, with a sufficient number of instructors and service type planes. Each OTU was commanded by a Training Officer with the rank of lieutenant or above. Among his training staff were a ground training officer, a flight officer, a navigation officer, and officers bearing titles and responsibilities similar to those typically assigned to aviators in squadrons operating from a carrier.

Operational training was eight weeks in length. The average CV type aviator would accumulate about 110 flight hours during this time. In the typical training day, aviators were scheduled for not more than 4 hours flying a day with the remainder of the day’s activities involving ground training activities.

In general, CV type OTU training instructions included five major points: (1) The use of the type’s primary weapon, (2) Tactics and formation Flying, (3) Navigation, (4) Carrier operations – landing and launching, and, (5) Instrument-flying.

As training progressed, increasing emphasis was given to the employment of the primary offensive weapons of the type (VF, VB, or VT) to which the aviator was specializing; VF Fixed Guns, VB Bombs (by diving), VT Torpedoes and glide and level bombing. The CV bound aviator, before assignment to a fleet carrier squadron, was required to demonstrate their mastery of taking off from and landing aboard a floating airfield. In preparation for that milestone, experienced landing signal officers trained the fledglings on airfield marked to resemble the flight deck of a carrier, using the same signals that are used in the fleet. Following this ground training the aviator students, usually as a unit, were normally sent to the Carrier Qualification Training Unit located at NAS, Glenview, Illinois. There, using the available training carriers, USS Wolverine and the USS Sable the prospective carrier pilot performed the required number of take offs and landing to be certified as carrier qualified. On some occasions, a regular line carrier might be available in the waters near the OTU base allowing carrier qualifications to be performed without traveling to NAS Glenview. Completion of OTU was followed by assignment to an active squadron or back into the training command as an instructor.

Continuing with carrier types, it should be kept in mind that as much as possible, the Navy and Marines preferred to keep personnel together in their organizations rather than the individual missions accounting often found amongst the USAAF.

A carrier air group would work up at one or more shore installations with a targeted ready date firmly fixed on the horizon. From initial establishment or reforming from a previous deployment an air group might spend six to eight months working up for its next deployment. Once the air group is ready for deployment, presuming the availability of a flight deck, it heads off to combat aboard a carrier. It would remain in the combat theater until its scheduled replacement air group was ready for deployment at which point it would be withdrawn for reforming ashore. Replacement pilots and crews joining over the course of a deployment might, or might not, go ashore with the rotation; most did although there are certainly cases, though generally so unusual as to be remarked upon in the literature, of individuals being transferred to the incoming air group or to another in-theater air group altogether.

Once back ashore following a deployment there was usually a period of leave with the squadrons in a caretaker status until reformed. During that period as many as 60% of a squadron’s pilots and crews or more might be transferred to another squadron or activity. It was in these periods that one sees pilots moving back to the training commands as instructors or for additional training, or for the more senior, as commanders and execs of still new squadrons being formed.

The US practice of moving folks from combat zones to training or other activities is well described in the literature and can be illustrated. Take as examples, depending on one’s orientation some well-known or, perhaps, less well-known, and their wartime assignments:

Louis L Bangs:
Aug to Sep 1940 - AvCad, NRAB Kansas City elimination training
Oct to Nov 1940 - AvCad, NRAB Kansas City solo flight training
Jan to Aug 41 - AvCad, NAS Pensacola
Aug 41 to Feb 42 - ENS, Instructor Primary Flight Training NAS Pensacola
Feb to Dec 42 - LTJG, Instructor, Primary Instructors School NAS Pensacola
Dec to Apr 42 - LT, Chief Flight Instructor - Instructors School NAS Pensacola
Apr 43 - LT, Student Instrument Refresher Course
May to Jul 43 - LT, VF Instructor NAS Pensacola
Aug 43 to Jul 44 - LT, VB-10 (FO) USS Enterprise
Aug 44 - Leave
Sep 44 to Jun 45 - LT & LCDR, VB-98 (XO) NAS Los Alamitos
Jun 45 to Sep 46 - LCDR, VB-80 (CO) USS Boxer
Louis Bangs retired as a Captain in the 1962.

Howard J Boydstun:
Oct 1940 to May 41 - Seaman, USS New York
Jun 41 to Sep 41 Midshipman, V-7 program Northwestern University
Sep 41 ENS - resigned commission to enter V-5 program
Sep 41 to Nov 41 - S1c, elimination training NAAS Opa Locka. Boydstun was able to skip some of the non-flying portions of elimination training based upon his prior service.
Dec 41 to Apr 42 - AvCad, NAS Pensacola
May 42 to Jun 42 - AvCad & ENS, VF Training NAS Miami
Jul 42 to Oct 42 - ENS, ACTG NAS San Diego
Nov 42 to May 43 - ENS, VF-10 USS Enterprise
Jun 43 Leave
Jul 43 to Dec 44 LTJG & LT, VF-8 NAF Pungo, USS Intrepid, USS Bunker Hill
Dec 44 Leave
Jan 45 to Feb 45 - LT, Student, Primary Flight Instructors School NAS New Orleans
Mar 45 to Aug 45 - LT, Primary Flight Instructor NAS Dallas
Howie Boydstun retired a Captain in 1972.

Richard Emerson Harmer
Dec 41 to Aug 42 - LTJG, VF-5 USS Wasp
Aug 42 to Oct 42 - LT, VF-5 (XO) USS Saratoga
Oct 42 to Mar 43 - LT, Project AFFIRM NAS Quonset Point
Mar 43 to Dec 43 - LT, VF(N)-75 (XO) NAS Quonset Point
Dec 43 to Jan 44 - LCDR, VF(N)-101 (CO) NAS Barbers Point
Jan 44 to Apr 44 - LCDR, VF(N)-101 (CO) USS Enterprise
May 43 to Jan 44 - LCDR, VF(N)-101 (CO) NAS Barbers Point
Sep 44 to Sep 45 - LCDR, NAS Vero Beach (Chf TrngOff - VF(N))
Chick Harmer retired a Captain in 1961

Maxwell Franklin Leslie
May 1940 to Dec 41 - LT & LCDR, VB-3 (XO) NAS San Diego
Dec 41 to Feb 42 - LCDR, VB-3 (XO) USS Saratoga
Feb 42 to Apr 42 - LCDR, VB-3 (CO) NAS Kaneohe Bay
Apr 42 to Jun 42 - LCDR, VB-3 (CO) USS Enterprise
Jun 42 to Jun 42 - LCDR, VB-3 (CO) USS Yorktown
Jun 42 to Nov 42 - CDR, CEAG USS Enterprise
Nov 42 to Jan 43 - CDR, NAS Jacksonville staff
Jan 43 to Mar 43 - CDR, NAS Daytona Beach (CO)
Mar 43 to Nov 43 - CDR, Naval Air Gunners School (CO) NAS Hollywood
Nov 43 to Apr 44 - CDR, Student Army-Navy Staff College
Apr 44 to Jun 44 - CDR, Instructor, Command & General Staff School
Jun 44 to Aug 44 - CAPT, ComAirForWestCarolines staff (OpnsO)
Aug 44 to Dec 44 - CAPT, 2 MAW staff (OpnsO) NOB Espiritu Santo
Dec 44 to Aug 45 - CAPT, ComPhibForPac (OIC Air Support Control)
Aug 45 to Sep 45 - CAPT, ComPhibForPac (CO Air Support Control 8)
Max Leslie was advanced to Rear Admiral upon his retirement in 1956. Certainly he took some leave somewhere in there, but I've not the dates.

I cannot think of, nor have I ever found mention of any single naval aviator in any of the operational communities who flew in action from the very beginning of the war to the very end. Certainly, there were those who were on active flying duty on 7 Dec 41 who were in operational squadrons at the end of the war and some of those squadrons were in combat. One that immediately comes to mind is Cleo Dobson. As a Lieutenant (jg) in Enterprise’s VS-6, he was shot down over Pearl Harbor by Japanese fighters on 7 Dec. He went on to serve in combat in the early carrier raids of 42 and by the time of the Battle of Midway he was serving as an LSO, still aboard Enterprise. From there he went to training duties at VTB-OTU-2 at NAS Jacksonville. He moved on to become exec of VF-86 and then, in Jan 45, when his VF-86 CO took over the newly formed VBF-86, Dobson became the VF-86’s second skipper. As a Lieutenant Commander and CO of VF-86 he deployed aboard USS Wasp and by the end of the war was flying combat missions over the Japanese home islands.

Not all early war aviators were in flying billets at the end. When the Japanese finally threw in the towel, Captain John S Thach - as in “Thach Weave” - a newly made Lieutenant Commander running VF-3 in Dec 41, was by then a Captain, off the coast of Japan aboard USS Shangri-La, the operations officer for the 2nd Fast Carrier Task Force (TF-38), working for Vice Admiral John McCain. His assistants were a couple of lieutenant commanders with whom he had served early in the war, Noel A M Gayler - who had been in Thach’s VF-3 at the start of the war before being sent over to VF-2 as XO just before Coral Sea in May 42 - and William N Leonard - who was the senior of Yorktown’s resident VF-42 pilots assigned to VF-3 for the Battle of Midway deployment and filled the VF-3 XO slot during that deployment.

PART 2 will be forth coming . . .
 
PART 2

As far as moving from community to community is concerned, naval aviators from the mid 1920s up to the very late 1930's could and did move around a bit. Looking through the Golden Eagles biographies (http://www.epnaao.com/Chronolog/2018 Chronolog.pdf - it's a BIG file), which most of the individuals listed provided themselves, below is some info from their own write ups in the Golden Eagles except where I’ve reformatted and used abbreviations for brevity sake. The point to be made it that it can certainly be demonstrated that naval aviators, especially those designated as such from the 1920s up through the late 1930s, certainly did move from community to community.

Frank Akers
6/22 Commissioned Ensign, USNA Class of 1922. 7/22-3/25 USS Sumner, Engineering Officer. 3/25-11/25 NAS Pensacola, Flight Instruction. 9/11/25 Designated Naval Aviator. 11/25-2/26. VT Squadron, Pilot. 2/26-8/26 USS Nevada, VO Pilot and Gunnery Officer. 8/26-3/27 USS Langley, VF-1 Pilot-Engineering. 3/27-4/28 USS Lexington, VF-5 Pilot - A&R. 4/28-5/31 NAS Pensacola Instructor, Squadron Commander. 6/31-6/32 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. Instruction in Postgraduate-Electronics. 6/32-6/33 Harvard University, Postgraduate Instruction. M.S. Degree, Electronics. 6/33-6/34 NAS Anacostia, Flight Test. 6/34-6/36 USS Langley, V-Division OIC Instrument Landing Development. 6/36-6/37 COMAIR BASEFORCE on Staff Communications Officer, USS Wright. 6/37-9/39 Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department. Head Aircraft Radio Branch. 9/39-4/41 USS G.E.Badger. CO Neutrality Patrol in Caribbean, Bermuda and North Atlantic. 4/41-7/42 USS Hornet, Navigator. 8/42-2/45 BUAER, Navy Department, Head, Aircraft Radio. 4/45-2/46 CO, USS Saratoga.

Jackson D. Arnold
1930-1934 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. 1934-1937 USS Arizona. 1937 Flight Training, NAS Pensacola, FL. Designated Naval Aviator Dec. 18, 1937. 1937-1938 Material Officer, Torpedo Squadron SIX. 1938-1940 Senior Aviator, Cruiser Scouting Squadron EIGHT, USS Savannah (SOC-1). 1940-1941 Assistant Assembly & Repair Officer, Inspector and Survey Officer, Pearl Harbor. 1942-1943 CO, Torpedo Squadron TWO, USS Hornet. 1943-1944 Commander, Carrier Group TWO, USS Hornet. 1944-1947 Aviation Plans Division, Office of DCNO(Air).

Evan P. Aurand
6/34-6/38 USNA Midshipman, Annapolis, MD. 7/38-8/39 USS Lexington, Gunnery, Communications and Engineering. 9/39-9/40 USS McCormick, Gunnery, Communications. 9/40-3/41 Pensacola, FL. Student aviator. 4/41-5/42 VS-2, Navigator. 6/42-9/42 VSG-28 Flight Officer. 10/42-7/43 NAS, Quonset Point, VFN Test Pilot. 8/43-10/44 Commanding Officer, VFN-76. 11/44-3/45 Executive Officer, NACTULANT. 4/45-6/47 BUAER

John J. Ballentine
Graduated USNA 6/1917. 1917-1919 USS Nebraska. 1919-1920 USS Arizona. 1920 NAS Pensacola flight training designated naval aviator 11/22/20. 5/1921 Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Plane Division (redesignated VT-1) Yorktown, VA. 6/1922 OIC Air Det USNProvGrd Dahlgren VA, Norden bombsite and radio control aircraft tests. 4/1926 CO VT-20 USS Jason. 5/1927 CO VOS-11 USS Marblehead. 8/1927 OIC Air Det USNProvGrd Dahlgren VA Ordnance Development and Testing. 7/1931 CO VT-2 USS Saratoga. 6/1933 BuAer Washington Chf War Plans. 5/1936 Navigator, USS Wright. 6/1937 Operations Officer Aircraft BaseFor/BatFor. 1/1937 Gunnery Officer AirBatFor USS Saratoga. 6/1938 Operations Officer AirBarFor. 6/1939 Personnel Div BuAer. 5/1940 Head Flight Div BuAer. 6/1941 XO USS Ranger. 12/1942 CO USS Long Island. May 1942 CoS ComCarLant. 2/1943 PCO USS Bunker Hill. 5/1943 CO USS Bunker Hill. 2/1944 Dep & CoS ComAirPacFlt. 9/1944 COMFltAirSeattle. 6/1945. ComCarDiv2 USS Bon Homme Richard. 9/1945 Fleet Liaison for CinCPac HQ SCAP.

Joseph Dean Black
USNA Class of 1931. 7/31-7/31 NAS, Hampton Roads, VA. (Student). 7/31-4/32 USS Maryland (BB-46). 4/32-5/33 NAS Pensacola, FL. (Student). 5/33-6/35 Fighter Squadron SIX, USS Saratoga. 6/35-5/36 USS Texas (BB-35). 5/36-5/38 Patrol Squadron THREE (PBY). 5/38-10/41 XO, Fighter Squadron TWO, USS Lexington. 10/41-4/42 NAS Corpus Christi, TX. 4/42-3/43 CO, Carrier Pilots Training School, NAAS, Kingsville, Texas. 3/43-12/43 Commander, Air Group THIRTY, USS Monterey. 12/43-2/44 Receiving Station, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA. (PXO USS Ommaney Bay. 3/44-2/45 XO, USS Ommaney Bay. 2/45-3/45 Bureau of Naval Personnel, Wash., D. C. 3/45-1/46 Staff, Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet (Head of Officer Personnel Section)

Walter F. Boone
USNA Class of 1920. 6/20-4/21 USS Texas (Engineering). 4/21-6/24 USS California (Deck Division Officer). 6/24-6/25 USS Burns (DM) (Gunnery officer). 6/25-7/26 Naval Air Station, Pensacola (Flight Training). 7/26-6/27 USS Cincinnati and USS Raleigh (Aircraft Squadrons). 6/27-6/30 Postgraduate School (Aviation Ordnance course). 6/30-6/32 VF-6 (Gunnery O, XO). 6/32-6/33 Staff, Command Aircraft, Battle Force (Gunnery and Assistant Operations Officer). 6/33-6/35 Naval Proving Ground Dahlgren, Va. (OIC, Air Detail). 6/35-5/37 VP-6; VP-4 (CO). 5/37-6/38 VF-3 (CO). 6/38-6/39 Staff, ComAirBatFor (Gun & Tactics Officer. 6/39-4/42 BuAer, OIC Armament Section. 5/42-1/43 USS Enterprise (XO). 1/43-3/44 Com TF 22 (CoS). 4/44-2/45 12th Naval District (Commander of Naval Air Bases; CO, NAS Alameda, California). 2/45-3/45 ComAirPac. 4/45-12/45 USS Yorktown (CO).

And it goes on and on and on . . .

John S. Thach
USNA class of 1927. 7/27 USS Mississippi. 7/28 USS California. 3/29 NAS Pensacola for flight training. Designated Naval Aviator 1/4/30. 3/30 VF-1. 7/32 NAB Hamptons Roads Experimental Aircraft Division. 6/34 VP-9. 6/36 VS-6B. 6/37 VP-5F. 6/39 VF-3 (GO) NAS North Island. 3/41 VF-3 (CO) USS Saratoga. 1/42 VF-3 (CO) MCAS Ewa. 2/42 VF-3 (CO) USS Lexington. 3/42 VF-3 (CO) NAS Kaneohe Bay. 6/42 VF-3 (CO) USS Yorktown. 7/42 ComAirPac. 8/42 NAOTC (Gun Trng Chf) NAS Jacksonville. 2/43 NAOTC (Chf of Trng) NAS Jacksonville. 8/44 to EOW 2FastCarTaskFor/TF38 (OpnsO).

Thach obviously got around a bit, fighters, experimental craft testing, patrol planes, scout bombers, back to patrol planes, and back to fighters, training and staff duties.

Shoot, my father got his wings in Nov 1940 and went to VS-41, a Ranger Scouting squadron. In March 1941 the entire squadron was redesignated VF-42 and, magic, they were fighter pilots. Probably saved his life.

Can't really comment on flight hours navy-wide, but I can point to a report filed by VF-42 on 30 April 1942 just prior to the Battle of the Coral Sea. VF-42 had spent some 8 months on Neutrality Patrols in the Atlantic, flying F4F's (and before that in its previous identity of VS-41, SBUs) off Ranger, Wasp, and Yorktown before the attack on Pearl Harbor. In June of 1941, the squadron was attached to the Yorktown and, with the coming of the war, went to the Pacific aboard her. The experience level for the squadron, reported on 30 April 1942, ranged from a high of 3019.3 hours (Flatley, the XO) down to 274.4 hours (Ens Harry Gibbs, who joined the squadron on 8 December 1941, straight from ACTGLant just a week before the ship left Norfolk, VA for points west). The average pilot hours for the squadron were 989.4.

Enough for now.
 
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PART 2

As far as moving from community to community is concerned, naval aviators from the mid 1920s up to the very late 1930's could and did move around a bit. Looking through the Golden Eagles biographies (http://www.epnaao.com/Chronolog/2018 Chronolog.pdf - it's a BIG file), which most of the individuals listed provided themselves, below is some info from their own write ups in the Golden Eagles except where I’ve reformatted and used abbreviations for brevity sake. The point to be made it that it can certainly be demonstrated that naval aviators, especially those designated as such from the 1920s up through the late 1930s, certainly did move from community to community.

Frank Akers
6/22 Commissioned Ensign, USNA Class of 1922. 7/22-3/25 USS Sumner, Engineering Officer. 3/25-11/25 NAS Pensacola, Flight Instruction. 9/11/25 Designated Naval Aviator. 11/25-2/26. VT Squadron, Pilot. 2/26-8/26 USS Nevada, VO Pilot and Gunnery Officer. 8/26-3/27 USS Langley, VF-1 Pilot-Engineering. 3/27-4/28 USS Lexington, VF-5 Pilot - A&R. 4/28-5/31 NAS Pensacola Instructor, Squadron Commander. 6/31-6/32 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. Instruction in Postgraduate-Electronics. 6/32-6/33 Harvard University, Postgraduate Instruction. M.S. Degree, Electronics. 6/33-6/34 NAS Anacostia, Flight Test. 6/34-6/36 USS Langley, V-Division OIC Instrument Landing Development. 6/36-6/37 COMAIR BASEFORCE on Staff Communications Officer, USS Wright. 6/37-9/39 Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department. Head Aircraft Radio Branch. 9/39-4/41 USS G.E.Badger. CO Neutrality Patrol in Caribbean, Bermuda and North Atlantic. 4/41-7/42 USS Hornet, Navigator. 8/42-2/45 BUAER, Navy Department, Head, Aircraft Radio. 4/45-2/46 CO, USS Saratoga.

Jackson D. Arnold
1930-1934 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. 1934-1937 USS Arizona. 1937 Flight Training, NAS Pensacola, FL. Designated Naval Aviator Dec. 18, 1937. 1937-1938 Material Officer, Torpedo Squadron SIX. 1938-1940 Senior Aviator, Cruiser Scouting Squadron EIGHT, USS Savannah (SOC-1). 1940-1941 Assistant Assembly & Repair Officer, Inspector and Survey Officer, Pearl Harbor. 1942-1943 CO, Torpedo Squadron TWO, USS Hornet. 1943-1944 Commander, Carrier Group TWO, USS Hornet. 1944-1947 Aviation Plans Division, Office of DCNO(Air).

Evan P. Aurand
6/34-6/38 USNA Midshipman, Annapolis, MD. 7/38-8/39 USS Lexington, Gunnery, Communications and Engineering. 9/39-9/40 USS McCormick, Gunnery, Communications. 9/40-3/41 Pensacola, FL. Student aviator. 4/41-5/42 VS-2, Navigator. 6/42-9/42 VSG-28 Flight Officer. 10/42-7/43 NAS, Quonset Point, VFN Test Pilot. 8/43-10/44 Commanding Officer, VFN-76. 11/44-3/45 Executive Officer, NACTULANT. 4/45-6/47 BUAER

John J. Ballentine
Graduated USNA 6/1917. 1917-1919 USS Nebraska. 1919-1920 USS Arizona. 1920 NAS Pensacola flight training designated naval aviator 11/22/20. 5/1921 Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Plane Division (redesignated VT-1) Yorktown, VA. 6/1922 OIC Air Det USNProvGrd Dahlgren VA, Norden bombsite and radio control aircraft tests. 4/1926 CO VT-20 USS Jason. 5/1927 CO VOS-11 USS Marblehead. 8/1927 OIC Air Det USNProvGrd Dahlgren VA Ordnance Development and Testing. 7/1931 CO VT-2 USS Saratoga. 6/1933 BuAer Washington Chf War Plans. 5/1936 Navigator, USS Wright. 6/1937 Operations Officer Aircraft BaseFor/BatFor. 1/1937 Gunnery Officer AirBatFor USS Saratoga. 6/1938 Operations Officer AirBarFor. 6/1939 Personnel Div BuAer. 5/1940 Head Flight Div BuAer. 6/1941 XO USS Ranger. 12/1942 CO USS Long Island. May 1942 CoS ComCarLant. 2/1943 PCO USS Bunker Hill. 5/1943 CO USS Bunker Hill. 2/1944 Dep & CoS ComAirPacFlt. 9/1944 COMFltAirSeattle. 6/1945. ComCarDiv2 USS Bon Homme Richard. 9/1945 Fleet Liaison for CinCPac HQ SCAP.

Joseph Dean Black
USNA Class of 1931. 7/31-7/31 NAS, Hampton Roads, VA. (Student). 7/31-4/32 USS Maryland (BB-46). 4/32-5/33 NAS Pensacola, FL. (Student). 5/33-6/35 Fighter Squadron SIX, USS Saratoga. 6/35-5/36 USS Texas (BB-35). 5/36-5/38 Patrol Squadron THREE (PBY). 5/38-10/41 XO, Fighter Squadron TWO, USS Lexington. 10/41-4/42 NAS Corpus Christi, TX. 4/42-3/43 CO, Carrier Pilots Training School, NAAS, Kingsville, Texas. 3/43-12/43 Commander, Air Group THIRTY, USS Monterey. 12/43-2/44 Receiving Station, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA. (PXO USS Ommaney Bay. 3/44-2/45 XO, USS Ommaney Bay. 2/45-3/45 Bureau of Naval Personnel, Wash., D. C. 3/45-1/46 Staff, Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet (Head of Officer Personnel Section)

Walter F. Boone
USNA Class of 1920. 6/20-4/21 USS Texas (Engineering). 4/21-6/24 USS California (Deck Division Officer). 6/24-6/25 USS Burns (DM) (Gunnery officer). 6/25-7/26 Naval Air Station, Pensacola (Flight Training). 7/26-6/27 USS Cincinnati and USS Raleigh (Aircraft Squadrons). 6/27-6/30 Postgraduate School (Aviation Ordnance course). 6/30-6/32 VF-6 (Gunnery O, XO). 6/32-6/33 Staff, Command Aircraft, Battle Force (Gunnery and Assistant Operations Officer). 6/33-6/35 Naval Proving Ground Dahlgren, Va. (OIC, Air Detail). 6/35-5/37 VP-6; VP-4 (CO). 5/37-6/38 VF-3 (CO). 6/38-6/39 Staff, ComAirBatFor (Gun & Tactics Officer. 6/39-4/42 BuAer, OIC Armament Section. 5/42-1/43 USS Enterprise (XO). 1/43-3/44 Com TF 22 (CoS). 4/44-2/45 12th Naval District (Commander of Naval Air Bases; CO, NAS Alameda, California). 2/45-3/45 ComAirPac. 4/45-12/45 USS Yorktown (CO).

And it goes on and on and on . . .

John S. Thach
USNA class of 1927. 7/27 USS Mississippi. 7/28 USS California. 3/29 NAS Pensacola for flight training. Designated Naval Aviator 1/4/30. 3/30 VF-1. 7/32 NAB Hamptons Roads Experimental Aircraft Division. 6/34 VP-9. 6/36 VS-6B. 6/37 VP-5F. 6/39 VF-3 (GO) NAS North Island. 3/41 VF-3 (CO) USS Saratoga. 1/42 VF-3 (CO) MCAS Ewa. 2/42 VF-3 (CO) USS Lexington. 3/42 VF-3 (CO) NAS Kaneohe Bay. 6/42 VF-3 (CO) USS Yorktown. 7/42 ComAirPac. 8/42 NAOTC (Gun Trng Chf) NAS Jacksonville. 2/43 NAOTC (Chf of Trng) NAS Jacksonville. 8/44 to EOW 2FastCarTaskFor/TF38 (OpnsO).

Thach obviously got around a bit, fighters, experimental craft testing, patrol planes, scout bombers, back to patrol planes, and back to fighters, training and staff duties.

Shoot, my father got his wings in Nov 1940 and went to VS-41, a Ranger Scouting squadron. In March 1941 the entire squadron was redesignated VF-42 and, magic, they were fighter pilots. Probably saved his life.

Can't really comment on flight hours navy-wide, but I can point to a report filed by VF-42 on 30 April 1942 just prior to the Battle of the Coral Sea. VF-42 had spent some 8 months on Neutrality Patrols in the Atlantic, flying F4F's (and before that in its previous identity of VS-41, SBUs) off Ranger, Wasp, and Yorktown before the attack on Pearl Harbor. In June of 1941, the squadron was attached to the Yorktown and, with the coming of the war, went to the Pacific aboard her. The experience level for the squadron, reported on 30 April 1942, ranged from a high of 3019.3 hours (Flatley, the XO) down to 274.4 hours (Ens Harry Gibbs, who joined the squadron on 8 December 1941, straight from ACTGLant just a week before the ship left Norfolk, VA for points west). The average pilot hours for the squadron were 989.4.

Enough for now.

PART 2

As far as moving from community to community is concerned, naval aviators from the mid 1920s up to the very late 1930's could and did move around a bit. Looking through the Golden Eagles biographies (http://www.epnaao.com/Chronolog/2018 Chronolog.pdf - it's a BIG file), which most of the individuals listed provided themselves, below is some info from their own write ups in the Golden Eagles except where I’ve reformatted and used abbreviations for brevity sake. The point to be made it that it can certainly be demonstrated that naval aviators, especially those designated as such from the 1920s up through the late 1930s, certainly did move from community to community.

Frank Akers
6/22 Commissioned Ensign, USNA Class of 1922. 7/22-3/25 USS Sumner, Engineering Officer. 3/25-11/25 NAS Pensacola, Flight Instruction. 9/11/25 Designated Naval Aviator. 11/25-2/26. VT Squadron, Pilot. 2/26-8/26 USS Nevada, VO Pilot and Gunnery Officer. 8/26-3/27 USS Langley, VF-1 Pilot-Engineering. 3/27-4/28 USS Lexington, VF-5 Pilot - A&R. 4/28-5/31 NAS Pensacola Instructor, Squadron Commander. 6/31-6/32 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. Instruction in Postgraduate-Electronics. 6/32-6/33 Harvard University, Postgraduate Instruction. M.S. Degree, Electronics. 6/33-6/34 NAS Anacostia, Flight Test. 6/34-6/36 USS Langley, V-Division OIC Instrument Landing Development. 6/36-6/37 COMAIR BASEFORCE on Staff Communications Officer, USS Wright. 6/37-9/39 Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department. Head Aircraft Radio Branch. 9/39-4/41 USS G.E.Badger. CO Neutrality Patrol in Caribbean, Bermuda and North Atlantic. 4/41-7/42 USS Hornet, Navigator. 8/42-2/45 BUAER, Navy Department, Head, Aircraft Radio. 4/45-2/46 CO, USS Saratoga.

Jackson D. Arnold
1930-1934 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. 1934-1937 USS Arizona. 1937 Flight Training, NAS Pensacola, FL. Designated Naval Aviator Dec. 18, 1937. 1937-1938 Material Officer, Torpedo Squadron SIX. 1938-1940 Senior Aviator, Cruiser Scouting Squadron EIGHT, USS Savannah (SOC-1). 1940-1941 Assistant Assembly & Repair Officer, Inspector and Survey Officer, Pearl Harbor. 1942-1943 CO, Torpedo Squadron TWO, USS Hornet. 1943-1944 Commander, Carrier Group TWO, USS Hornet. 1944-1947 Aviation Plans Division, Office of DCNO(Air).

Evan P. Aurand
6/34-6/38 USNA Midshipman, Annapolis, MD. 7/38-8/39 USS Lexington, Gunnery, Communications and Engineering. 9/39-9/40 USS McCormick, Gunnery, Communications. 9/40-3/41 Pensacola, FL. Student aviator. 4/41-5/42 VS-2, Navigator. 6/42-9/42 VSG-28 Flight Officer. 10/42-7/43 NAS, Quonset Point, VFN Test Pilot. 8/43-10/44 Commanding Officer, VFN-76. 11/44-3/45 Executive Officer, NACTULANT. 4/45-6/47 BUAER

John J. Ballentine
Graduated USNA 6/1917. 1917-1919 USS Nebraska. 1919-1920 USS Arizona. 1920 NAS Pensacola flight training designated naval aviator 11/22/20. 5/1921 Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Plane Division (redesignated VT-1) Yorktown, VA. 6/1922 OIC Air Det USNProvGrd Dahlgren VA, Norden bombsite and radio control aircraft tests. 4/1926 CO VT-20 USS Jason. 5/1927 CO VOS-11 USS Marblehead. 8/1927 OIC Air Det USNProvGrd Dahlgren VA Ordnance Development and Testing. 7/1931 CO VT-2 USS Saratoga. 6/1933 BuAer Washington Chf War Plans. 5/1936 Navigator, USS Wright. 6/1937 Operations Officer Aircraft BaseFor/BatFor. 1/1937 Gunnery Officer AirBatFor USS Saratoga. 6/1938 Operations Officer AirBarFor. 6/1939 Personnel Div BuAer. 5/1940 Head Flight Div BuAer. 6/1941 XO USS Ranger. 12/1942 CO USS Long Island. May 1942 CoS ComCarLant. 2/1943 PCO USS Bunker Hill. 5/1943 CO USS Bunker Hill. 2/1944 Dep & CoS ComAirPacFlt. 9/1944 COMFltAirSeattle. 6/1945. ComCarDiv2 USS Bon Homme Richard. 9/1945 Fleet Liaison for CinCPac HQ SCAP.

Joseph Dean Black
USNA Class of 1931. 7/31-7/31 NAS, Hampton Roads, VA. (Student). 7/31-4/32 USS Maryland (BB-46). 4/32-5/33 NAS Pensacola, FL. (Student). 5/33-6/35 Fighter Squadron SIX, USS Saratoga. 6/35-5/36 USS Texas (BB-35). 5/36-5/38 Patrol Squadron THREE (PBY). 5/38-10/41 XO, Fighter Squadron TWO, USS Lexington. 10/41-4/42 NAS Corpus Christi, TX. 4/42-3/43 CO, Carrier Pilots Training School, NAAS, Kingsville, Texas. 3/43-12/43 Commander, Air Group THIRTY, USS Monterey. 12/43-2/44 Receiving Station, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA. (PXO USS Ommaney Bay. 3/44-2/45 XO, USS Ommaney Bay. 2/45-3/45 Bureau of Naval Personnel, Wash., D. C. 3/45-1/46 Staff, Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet (Head of Officer Personnel Section)

Walter F. Boone
USNA Class of 1920. 6/20-4/21 USS Texas (Engineering). 4/21-6/24 USS California (Deck Division Officer). 6/24-6/25 USS Burns (DM) (Gunnery officer). 6/25-7/26 Naval Air Station, Pensacola (Flight Training). 7/26-6/27 USS Cincinnati and USS Raleigh (Aircraft Squadrons). 6/27-6/30 Postgraduate School (Aviation Ordnance course). 6/30-6/32 VF-6 (Gunnery O, XO). 6/32-6/33 Staff, Command Aircraft, Battle Force (Gunnery and Assistant Operations Officer). 6/33-6/35 Naval Proving Ground Dahlgren, Va. (OIC, Air Detail). 6/35-5/37 VP-6; VP-4 (CO). 5/37-6/38 VF-3 (CO). 6/38-6/39 Staff, ComAirBatFor (Gun & Tactics Officer. 6/39-4/42 BuAer, OIC Armament Section. 5/42-1/43 USS Enterprise (XO). 1/43-3/44 Com TF 22 (CoS). 4/44-2/45 12th Naval District (Commander of Naval Air Bases; CO, NAS Alameda, California). 2/45-3/45 ComAirPac. 4/45-12/45 USS Yorktown (CO).

And it goes on and on and on . . .

John S. Thach
USNA class of 1927. 7/27 USS Mississippi. 7/28 USS California. 3/29 NAS Pensacola for flight training. Designated Naval Aviator 1/4/30. 3/30 VF-1. 7/32 NAB Hamptons Roads Experimental Aircraft Division. 6/34 VP-9. 6/36 VS-6B. 6/37 VP-5F. 6/39 VF-3 (GO) NAS North Island. 3/41 VF-3 (CO) USS Saratoga. 1/42 VF-3 (CO) MCAS Ewa. 2/42 VF-3 (CO) USS Lexington. 3/42 VF-3 (CO) NAS Kaneohe Bay. 6/42 VF-3 (CO) USS Yorktown. 7/42 ComAirPac. 8/42 NAOTC (Gun Trng Chf) NAS Jacksonville. 2/43 NAOTC (Chf of Trng) NAS Jacksonville. 8/44 to EOW 2FastCarTaskFor/TF38 (OpnsO).

Thach obviously got around a bit, fighters, experimental craft testing, patrol planes, scout bombers, back to patrol planes, and back to fighters, training and staff duties.

Shoot, my father got his wings in Nov 1940 and went to VS-41, a Ranger Scouting squadron. In March 1941 the entire squadron was redesignated VF-42 and, magic, they were fighter pilots. Probably saved his life.

Can't really comment on flight hours navy-wide, but I can point to a report filed by VF-42 on 30 April 1942 just prior to the Battle of the Coral Sea. VF-42 had spent some 8 months on Neutrality Patrols in the Atlantic, flying F4F's (and before that in its previous identity of VS-41, SBUs) off Ranger, Wasp, and Yorktown before the attack on Pearl Harbor. In June of 1941, the squadron was attached to the Yorktown and, with the coming of the war, went to the Pacific aboard her. The experience level for the squadron, reported on 30 April 1942, ranged from a high of 3019.3 hours (Flatley, the XO) down to 274.4 hours (Ens Harry Gibbs, who joined the squadron on 8 December 1941, straight from ACTGLant just a week before the ship left Norfolk, VA for points west). The average pilot hours for the squadron were 989.4.

Enough for now.
Good info, what sources did you use besides the link?
 
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Good info, what sources did you use besides the link?

The noted Golden Eagles Chronolog is a great place for finding out who was where and when. Some time in the distant past I extracted all of those who served in the war years into a separate document that I keep handy. Most folks here have information on aircraft, for me that is merely incidental; what interests me is people, specifically naval aviators of the USN variety. I maintain a listing of, oh say at last count, last March, some 50,529 individual USN aviators, including NAPs with 185,065 entries, or somewhat less than four per person. When I stumble across a name of someone in a specific squadron or activity I check my lists to see if I have that particular piece of information. If I don't, then I add it for that individual. So, some individuals, such as Max Leslie have a bunch of entries, for others I have but their date(s) of rank and yet to find anything to place them somewhere. Deal with beaucoup squadron and station rosters going back to 1939 and as far forward as the end of 1945.

An abiding interest in Naval Aviation history leaves me with a couple of hundred book either on the subject or dancing around it. Then there are files, lots of paper, unit histories, correspondence, reports and such; and the many many hundreds of digital files, the majority of which are squadron rosters, war diaries, and action reports. And, of course all of these, books, papers, digital files, contain a plethora of information on aircraft, operations, descriptions, maintenance and other factoids. I retained all of my father's (he retired in 1971 after 33 years commissioned service a Rear Admiral) papers, official navy stuff and a couple of file drawer of correspondence. Frankly I have original historic documents that no one, even the Navy, has. If you were to see a listing of who was assigned which plane in VF-3 at Midway, that is because I have the only original of the squadron tactical organization and to go with that originals of all the post battle accounting.

As far as the great list of aviators is concerned, right now I'm spending most of my time on two documents, (1) the 1947 register of reserve officers to go back and pick up promotion dates after the last war issue of same (1 July 1944) and the end of the war, not to mention ensigns designated after that same 1944 issue and not promoted to LTJG until 1946 and later; (2) a NAS Corpus Christi volume which provides names and dates of designation as naval aviators for 1943 and 1944. I thought retirement would provide a hastening of the process, but with enough to do around here (have to paint the laundry room ceiling today) I can only make about 100 -150 entries a week.

Interest in training can be found through some diligent googling I am sure, I don't do a whole lot of that now since I've already made hundreds of search sweeps, but the info is out there, though sometime not necessarily where one might expect to find it . . . always a pleasant surprise. Training? This is a nice easy place to start.
 

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  • Introduction to the Naval Air Operational Training Command.pdf
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I hope arrangements have been made to preserve and protect such important documentation. Multiple storage facilities, back ups, etc. It would be tragic if this information were to be lost. If you have the only source of VF-3's roster at the Battle of Midway (as an example) and it was accidentally lost it would be quite a loss.
 

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