13 October 2010
A Family's Pride for "Our" WWII Veteran
A little background history on naval aviation in the US:
By the end of WWI, Naval Aviation had firmly established itself as a premier fighting force for our country. At this time, approximately 100 pilots were being trained each month. As the nation entered into WWII, Naval Aviation and Pensacola was again called upon to produce the much needed flight crews to support the war effort. Naval Aviator production grew to over 1000 pilots a month and the Navy's aircraft inventory swelled to over 130,000 aircraft and during 1944, NAS Pensacola trained an all time high of 12,010 pilots that year. It is said that the War in the Pacific was largely won by the heroic actions of Naval Aviators aboard the carriers that wages war both at sea and during the island campaigns supporting the Marines and Army ground forces.
After college, my father joined the Navy and waited to be called. Upon graduation from Springfield College, with a degree in Phys.Ed., he returned to his hometown in New Jersey and taught the same while coaching Basketball. I recently learned that during this same time, in addition to teaching and coaching, he also travelled the short distance to Philadelphia and was a dance instructor (in his spare time) for Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
When dad was called up, he was selected for Naval Air Primary Flight Training Command, studying long and hard over the next 9 months, to become a pilot. He studied at some of the top universities on the east coast and was eternally grateful for what he called, "a million dollar education!"
Following several months deliberation, it was determined that dad's graduating class would not be needed for active duty, as our military successes increased and there was no longer a need to replace our downed pilots. My father would become a (fighter plane) Flight Instructor. Having gotten his wings, my parents could now go forward with their plans to be married. What a relief my mother must've experienced to learn her new husband would remain stateside and they could live off-base together!
... and they lived happily ever after, married for almost 60 years - xo