SPENCE RECORD OF EVENTS  (1951-1961)

* * * * 1951 * * * *

March-Air Force announces Hawthorne's successful bid to operateSpence. Rehabilitation job begins.

May-Hawthorne gears to train pilots for USAF. Lt. Col. Stephen H. Crosby assumes command 3302nd. Class 52-C arrives for training.

June, July, August-Training activities progress rapidly. Personnel increases and more AF students arrive.

October-Hawthorne reaches full operational status with arrival of Class 52-G, including students from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium. First class (52-C) graduates. Volunteer workers open Community Chest Campaign.

November-Military and Hawthorne personnel donations of $1,301 puts Community Campaign over the top. New instructors uniform adopted.

December-Chaplain's sponsored children's Party.


* * * * 1952 * * * *

January-Annual Moultrie Chamber of Commerce Banquet held at Spence.

May-Lt. Col. Mortimer A. Yates relieved Lt. Col. Stephen H. Crosby as Commander of 3302nd. Thousands view annual Armed Forces Day Program at Spence as Hawthorne also celebrates its first anniversary here. Five classes, about 500 students, graduated during the first year's operation. "Operation Southern Hospitality" opens Moultrie homes and hearts to Allied students at Spence.

August-Rotary entertains Allied students at Banquet.

September-Military and civilian personnel from Spence participate in annual Southeast Tobacco Festival held in Moultrie.

November-Maj. Gen. Gabriel P. Disosway, Commanding General FTAF, visits Spence. Improvement program totaling $121,521 for new taxiways and resealing all runways announced.

* * * * 1953 * * * *

January-Chaplain Phillip L. Green transferred. Chaplain Herschel H. Day assumes duty at Spence.

February-Spence Cadets donated $584 to March of Dimes Campaign. Civilian employees contributed $845 for a portable respirator for polio victims in a campaign promoted by Moultrie Jaycees.

March-Hawthorne announces a two-year scholarship, valued at $500, in aeronautical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology for a deserving Colquitt County Youth.

April-An award of $1,000 for the first Spence graduate who shoots down five Red planes over Korea announced.

May-Representative J. L. Pilcher addresses crowd at Spence during Armed Forces Day Program. T-6 training plane set up in front of Moultrie Courthouse as part of Armed Forces Day Program.

June-Hawthorne employees vote "No" on Transportation Workers Union attempt to establish a union at Spence.

July-Air Training Command's tenth birthday observed at Spence with a dance at the Hawthorne Club.

August-Spence is host to 220 members of AFROTC on their visit from summer encampment at Turner AFB. Cadets and employees participate in annual Southeast Tobacco Festival in Moultrie. Personnel attend picnic held on the base. Bert Harsh appointed General Manager, replacing Kenneth V. Brugh.

October-United Givers Fund Drive launched under the direction of R. Thurman Taylor, Director of Personnel. Lt. Col. Mortimer Yates receives assignment to duty in Washington, D. C. Forty company supervisors receive two-year service pins.

November-North American T-28 to replace T-6 at Spence announced. "Operation Joy Toy" launched to provide toys for needy children at Christmas.

December-First T-28 arrives at Spence. "Joy Toy" Caravan spreads Christmas cheer.

* * * * 1954 * * * *

January-Lt. Col. William S. Chairsell to assume command of 3302nd  PTS.

February-President Eisenhower and his party landed at Spence for first time. AF Secretary Harold Talbott inspects Spence, the first time he has ever visited a primary flying school. He was accompanied by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. and Commerce Secretary Sinclair Weeks. Spence graduates Class 54-N, its 20th class.

March-Hawthorne Ladies Club presents "Old Broadway" shop at Hawthorne Club.

May-Beverly E. Howard elected President of Aeronautical Training Society. Officer's Wives Club stages style show at Spence. Fifth annual observance of Armed Forces Day celebrated.

June-Lt. Col. William S. Chairsell, Commander 3302nd PTS, re-assigned to Greenville AFB, Mississippi.

July-Chaplain Herschel H. Day assigned to overseas duty in Far East. Chaplain William M. Miller replaces Chaplain Day. Lt. Col. Robert M. Levy assumes command of 3302nd.

August-Cadets at Spence honor Mrs. Beulah Kilgore, Hawthorne's Director of Food Service, with a review in appreciation of her family style meals. Beverly E. Howard received the Ribbon of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor for his work in training French Pilots.

September-Spence Air Base is host to the Senior Class of Moultrie High School in cooperation with the Kiwanis Club.

November-"Operation Joy Toy" set up again to spread Christmas cheer to poor children by re-conditioning old toys donated by personnel for delivery by Santa.

* * * * 1955 * * * *

January-Col. Levy forecasts jet training at Spence by 1957 in a talk before the Moultrie Kiwanis Club.

February-Maj. Gen. G. P. Disosway, Commander FTAF, inspects Spence Air Base. President Eisenhower and party, including Mrs. Eisenhower, lands at Spence.

May-Armed Forces Day Program attracts about 3,500 persons to Spence. Woman's Club holds a play clothes "Style Revue" at Spence swimming pool.

June-Matthew R. Pelling resigns as Director of Flying Training, and is replaced by Maurice A. Austill.

July-Contracts let for new and improvement projects at Spence total $170,000.00.

August-FTAF approves "Instructor's Handbook" compiled by Link Department.

September-Kiwanis "Youth Day" attracts 175 Senior High School students to base. Officer's Open Mess' formed at base, replacing former Spence Club.

October-Col. Levy announces details of the new Army Pilot Training Program. Spence Air Base records 500,000th flying hour since May 1951. Academic Department holds an "In Service Training Workshop" attended by representatives from seven contract schools.

December-First L-19 arrives for Army Pilot Training Program. Chaplain Karl L. Swain arrives for duty. Kiddies enjoy Christmas Party at Base Theatre. .

* * * * 1956 * * * *

January-Paul Harvey, famous news commentator, visits Spence.

February-Spence again welcomes Eisenhower party, on third visit to Spence. Credit Union declares a five per cent dividend on employee's shares during 1955. Spence Tigers end basketball season
undefeated as Sowega Conference champs, coached by Howard Williams. Flight instructors organize Glider Club.

April-First group of fourteen employees receive 5-year service pins from Hawthorne's president, Beverly E. Howard. Hawthorne "Gals" organize softball team.

May-Armed Forces Day program attracts crowd. Hawthorne celebrates fifth anniversary.

July-Spence nine-hole golf course officially opens.

August-Col. Ernest F. John reports as commander. Perry Doty becomes Director, Base Engineering and Maintenance Dept. LeRoy Spruill takes over as Administrative Assistant and Herald Editor, replacing Jack Scherer. Hawthorne girls win city softball championship.

October-Spence participates with band, floats and girls in Colquitt County Centennial. Belgian Government presents base with plaque honoring the training given that country's students.

November-Donation of $3,500 made to United Givers by employees. Hawthorne receives Award of Merit for employing physically handicapped.

* * * * 1957 * * * *

January-Oliver J. Booker becomes new Comptroller, replacing Mario Eberle. New Hawthorne instructor uniform adopted. Spence Tigers SOWEGA basketball champs.

February-President Eisenhower makes fourth visit to the base. Henry Cabot Lodge and John Foster Dulles also visit.

April-First Commander's Luncheon held, recognizing Air Force Golden Anniversary. May

May-Jim Pierce, instructor with the T-37 "Project Palm" program, flies a T-37 jet into Spence for the first time.

June-Zack Mosley, cartoonist and creator of s y n d i cat e d strip, "Smilin' Jack," visits Spence to gather information for use in the strip. Mrs. Muriel Austill and Lt. Dave Brown crowned first Queen and King of base golfers in first tourney. Ben Newell retires his five-year-old flight cap. Air Explorers Scout Squadron starts, sponsored by 3302 Pilot Training Group.

July-Air Force Academy begins summer indoctrination program. Cadet of Week program launched by Military Training. Aircraft Maintenance IRAN underway.

August-Major John W. Hillen, Jr.,replaces Maj. Ed Miller as Operations Officer. Flourescent paint program for aircraft gets underway here. Fourth mechanic trainee class finishes.

September-Les Locke replaces Sam Austill as Director of Flying Training. Leo Carver replaces Ed King as his assistant. Air Explorers receive charter.

October-Spence appears for first time in "Smilin' Jack" comic strip, the start of six months of base inclusions in the strip.

November-Employees donate $4,000 to United Givers. December-Operation Joy Toy breaks previous records in fixing up old toys for the community's needy. First three-day hosting of Allied students over holidays started by Tallahassee, chairmanned by Ted Kiper.

* * * * 1958 * * * *

February-President Eisenhower visits Spence for the fifth time.

April-Herald magazine retired and is replaced by new publication, a newspaper re-named the Spence Approach. FTAF absorbed by ATC in re-organization move. Lt. Hank Morgan new base golf champ. Ashby Grimmett replaces Thurman Taylor as Director of Personnel.

May-Bert Harsh charter president of the Moultrie Parents League. Second Family Field Day held, with over 2,000 attending. Jody Shattuck, Miss Georgia, 1957, visits base. Safe driving awards to 57. Chapel completed.

July-Lt. Francis A. Wiegers named "Mr. 5,000" for becoming Hawthorne's 5,000th Air Force student pilot completion at Spence. Rehab projects totaling $395,993 underway. Col. Carleton W. Rogers replaces Col. John as new commander. Pistol and Rifle Range opens.

October-Employees donate $3,500 to United Givers. Spence breaks own all-time stan board record.

November-First Red Carpet social welcome held for Class 60-C. Bob Weaver emotionally upset when his flight's mascot, a mynah bird, shows disloyalty by talking about another flight. Vickie, motor poolpup and mascot, receives Five-year pin.

December-Chaplain's Christmas party held for kids. Hawthorne gives hams to all employees. Carl Gibson new base golf champ. Tallahassee hosts Allies.

* * * * 1959 * * * *

January-Hawthorne's sailplane test flown. Bevo named "Boss of the Year" by local Jaycees. Electronic Hobby Shop opens.

February-The sixth and final visit is made by the President.
 
March-Hawthorne's "Mr. 5,000" named as Basic honor graduate.

April-Spence captures tri-base golf trophy.

May-T-37 jet introduced to community leaders. Lady golfers place second in tri-state league.
 
June-Six months of accident-free flying attained.

July-First T-37 assigned here as phase-in underway. Col. Rogers flies it in. Chaplain Angus Youngblood replaces Chaplain Karl Swain. Dick Aycock new golf pro.

August-Girls softball team city league runners-up.  Hickson Skinner attends world-wide flying safety conference. Spence again breaks its own standardization record. First T-28 retired, piloted by Gus Sermos.

September-Carl W. Dahl replaces Ashby Grimmett as Director of Personnel; Department renamed Industrial Relations.

October-David Holcomb new base golf champ. Bill Grigg and Hubert Owens tennis doubles champs. Spence chosen as Number One school by ATC.

November-United Givers $4,300 from employees. Spence Flying named to receive USAF Safety Award.

December-FlySafe Plaque presented by Gen. Brandt. Spence story told on WCTV in Tallahassee by Maj. Hillen and George Goulette. Six lane bowling center opens. Tallahassee entertains Allied students. Hawthorne again gives out hams.

* * * * 1960 * * * *

January
-Spence Toastmasters Club formed. Over 300 bowlers sign for leagues.

March-Class 61-F, first jet class, enters training.

April-Base hosts inter-base, military-civilian Academics Work Shop. Second USAF FlySafe Plaque earned. Air Force announces all contract schools termination. Credit Union liquidates.

May-Holcomb re-crowned golf champ. Tigers solo first jet student, Lt. Raymond Walter, Jr. Stu Phillips was his instructor. Phaseout plans and procedures underway.

June-Second USAF FlySafe Plaque presented.

July-Last T-28 flown by American student, Cadet Bill Hayes in Polecat Flight, Commander George Freeman. Last T-37 assignment ferried in by J. R. Kitchens. Spence Chapel Choir places second in ATC contest.

August-Col. Rogers departs and is replaced by Maj. Bill Hillen. Maj. Johnson becomes Operations Officer. First T-37 solo finishes as class honor grad. Final Red Carpet held; Class 62-B recognized.

September-Base's first evacuation in the face of Hurricane Donna. Second evacuation within week, charged to Ethyl. Cut-off date for December-Classes 62-A and 62-B final students at base. Training shuts down.

* * * * 1961  * * * *

January, February, March
-Facility phase-out underway and completed. Hawthorne departs Spence.


Source:  THE SPENCE  STORY 1951-1961
, published 1961


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