William W. True & the U S Army Air Corps July 12, 1944 to November 2, 1945
July 1, 1996
I, William W. True, enlisted in the Army Air Corps Cadet Program in November of 1943 and was deferred from entering the service until I graduated from high school in 1944.
On July 12, 1944, I entered active service in Portland, Maine and was immediately sent to Ford Devens in Massachusetts, where I received my uniforms, had a physical exam, shots, etc.
About a week after that, we were sent on a troop train to Keesler Field outside Biloxi, Mississippi, where we spent two to three months undergoing basic training. During basic training, all of us who enlisted in the cadet program underwent various tests to determine who would qualify for future cadet training; about a third of us passed as I remember. The scores ran from one to nine with the current minimum of seven needed to qualify for future training. My scores were 7 -8-9 for pilot, bombardier, and navigator respectively. It appears that if I had completed my cadet training, I would have ended up as a navigator as at that time the Air Force was already headed for an excess of pilots.
In 1944 the preflight schools for cadets had more qualified applicants than spaces for them so they shipped me and others to a Basic Training field in Greenwood, Mississippi. In the training program, cadets went through Preliminary, Basic, and Advanced training stages to become pilots. We were assigned to help the regular airplane mechanics service the BT-6 airplanes at Greenwood which gave us something to do while waiting for preflight school and also gave us some experience with airplanes.
After a couple of months of "on-line training" at Greenwood, we were transferred to Hendricks Field outside of Sebring, Florida, a town north of Lake Okeechobee in the middle of the state. The Hendricks Field program trained pilots to fly the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. We worked on-line with the mechanics servicing the B-I7's. Often we flew on training missions out of the field which I enjoyed very much as I always wanted to become a pilot. One flight which I remember was a high altitude B-17 flight with an unpressured cabin which required us to use oxygen masks since we flew above 12,000 feet. While that flight was an interesting experience, it wasn't as much fun as a low altitude flight where one could roam about the plane unrestricted by the need to having a mask attached to an oxygen supply. While at Hendricks Field, I was promoted to Private First Class. I also received an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of 747 as an Airplane & Engine Mechanic due to my on-line experience and work with the airplane mechanics.
Germany surrendered in the spring of 1945 and we were making good headway in our conflict with the Japanese. In late summer of 1945, the Air Force "washed us out" of the cadet program for "the convenience of the government" as they already had more than enough pilots, bombardiers, and navigators. We were then given the choice of which school (airplane mechanic, sheet metal, typist/clerk, etc.) we wanted to attend and I elected to go to airplane mechanic school since I needed more experience to complete and round out the training which I had received working "on-line". Subsequently I was shipped back to Keesler Field where they had an airplane mechanic school. We didn't start school immediately and ended up doing guard duty, KP, driving in the motor pool, etc. as the war came to an end and the Japanese surrendered.
With the war over, the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. began to discharge people from the service and on November 2, 1945, I was discharged from the Army Air Force at Grenier Field in New Hampshire.
While in the Air Force, I received the Good Conduct Metal, the American Theater Service Medal, and the Victory Medal World War II.