Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator

By Michael J. Novosel | Go to book overview

2 1942
Kelly Field, Texas: Early

People accepted into the aviation cadet program were assigned to a cadet processing center. They would spend about six weeks there, get their shots, be issued uniforms, and attend preflight training. Then they would go to flight school.

When I received my new uniform, it was evident that cadets were expected to present a sharp military appearance. The people issuing clothing made every effort to make our uniforms fit well -- quite different from my days as a recruit, when a specialist looked at me and said, "This is about your size; it should fit well enough," then threw the item over the counter in my general direction. This time, as a cadet, I was measured first, given a uniform to try on, and was inspected for proper fit.

A few days before completing preflight at Kelly, I saw my first Army Air Forces pilot. He was inspecting cadets in formation and looked sharp in his "pinks and greens," the term for the army officer's uniform. He was a captain of medium height and ramrodstraight posture. I watched him proceed down the line of cadets. At first I didn't notice, but then I was shocked to see that he had only one arm. The empty sleeve was folded under neatly and pinned so that it did not hang loosely at his side. Normally this officer would have been medically discharged. He couldn't fly airplanes, but he could help young cadets get started in their flying careers. Most importantly, he was proof that aviation had its dangerous side. The captain was my first lesson in aviation safety. I learned that in a moment of distraction or inattention to his duties, he inadvertently stepped into the path of a spinning propeller and his arm was severed at the

-6-

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Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - A World of Turmoil 1
  • 2 - 1942 Kelly Field, Texas: Early 6
  • 3 - Laredo, Texas 11
  • 4 - The B-29 Superfortress 20
  • 5 - Tinian, Clark Field, Okinawa: 1945-47 32
  • 6 - The Best of Times, the Worst of Times 43
  • 7 - You'Re in the Army Now 62
  • 8 - January 1966: the Flight Over 92
  • 9 - Vietnam: 1966. 104
  • 10 - Military Operations Increase 137
  • 11 - Beating the System and Getting Short 171
  • 12 - My Plans Go Awry 183
  • 13 - Vietnam: the Second Time Around 196
  • 14 October 1969: An - Impossible Mission 228
  • 15 - A Father and Son Combat Team 269
  • 16 - The Medal of Honor 307
  • 17 - Korea, Fort Rucker, and Switches Off 317
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