______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Attached is a photo of my dad, William ‘Bill’ Braswell, that you may want to add to the individual instructor pictures portion of the Spence website. The website is absolutely fantastic.....brings back a lot of very early childhood memories of living in Moultrie through 1960. I’m sure my dad would have really enjoyed reliving his days at Spence through this site.
Spence Air Base From a Washed Out and eliminated Cadet's Perspective. I am overjoyed to see this website. Even though I did not achieve the dream of becoming an Air Force pilot, the skills I learned as an Aviation Cadet at Spence proved to be invaluable to me in my military career. I retired from the Michigan Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve as a Lt. Col. with over 34 years of service both part and full time as a Technician for two different units at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan. One of those assignments was as tenant Base Commander. -- Within a year of leaving the Cadet program and returning to my Air Guard unit as an enlisted man, I used the skills learned at Spence to win "Outstanding Enlisted Man of the Year" in the fall of 1957 for the State of Michigan. I went on as a part-time warrior to get a direct commission to 2nd Lt. in December of 1961 in photo intelligence. My ability to work with and understand pilots, several of whom were trained through Spence, was such that we never failed to pass an Air Force inspection and were always combat ready. -- One of my proudest efforts though, was encouraging enlisted people worldwide to persistently pursue their military professional growth through Community College of the Air Force. My work in this area resulted in the honor of being presented the Citation of Honor from the Air Force Association in 1979 for being instrumental in the CCAF's ability to grant degrees. -- But my greatest achievement is that five of my six children also served in the military; one in the Navy part of which was on the USS Iowa, and four in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Those four are still serving, two as full time technicians, and two part-time, with ranks of SMSgt, MSgt, and two Majors, all with over 27 years of service each. Our eldest daughter, SMSgt. Christine Koch, with 32 years of service in the MIANG, will get her CCAF degree this Fall. She's been a bit busy since she "unretired" and was called back into full time Air Guard service on 9/11 in Sq. Ops. for the 127th Wing MIANG. -- My love of flying and my association with pilots and encouraging enlisted people to enhance their careers through education especially in CCAF, resulted in my becoming one of the first Caucasian members of the Tuskegee Airmen due to the fact that many of the enlisted men assisted were African-Americans -- I wanted to make you aware that even eliminated student pilots put the training learned at Spence to good use in their careers throughout the Air Force. Thank you so much for this web site._______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Lt.Col. Robert A. Heyart, USAFR (ret.) (Class 58-H) < firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - Jun 28, 2013 at 2:08AM
Wayne Braswell < email@example.com >
USA - Feb 16, 2013 at 10:28AM Photo added to bottom row of Instructor Pilots on INSTRUCTORS page
I was a cadet in class 57-R. Soloed the T-34 on my 22nd birthday, August 1, 1956. Ray Clayton taught me to fly and he must have done a good job; 5000 hours and never bent the sheet metal.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ed Carr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
USA - Feb 10, 2013 at 12:05PM
My name is Felix Geraets ( Royal Dutch AF). I was an aviation cadet in Class 52-F. Would love to hear from anybody of 52-F at Spence AB. My instructor was Les Williams. I really enjoyed my time at Spence. I'll never forget my stay there and Moultrie.
Felix Geraets < email@example.com >
USA - Feb 04, 2013 at 4:41PM
My name is John McEvoy. I was at Spence in Class 53-E. It is truly a thrill to visit your site as it brings back many pleasant memories. My Spence Instructors were Ira Misenheimer and Henry C. Gray. Both were excellent instructors and fine men. I spent three years in SAC at Loring AFB then went to Boeing Flight Test. Would love to hear from those in my class.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
John McEvoy < firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - Feb 03, 2013 at 9:51AM
Do you remember the Spence Air Base monthly publication by Hawthorne called the “Hawthorne Herald.” The Museum of Colquitt Co. would love to get copies of as many of these as possible. If anyone has copies and would like to place them where they will really be appreciated please contact me. We saw a group of these on ebay recently but did not win them. This is the first any of us knew they existed.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Clint Chafin" <email@example.com>
Moultrie, GA USA - Jan 23, 2013 at 11:35AM
Edward Sullivan of Class 59-E. What a wonderful web site. I have sat here for over 3 hours by the clock and it seems like I just sat down. Wow! Thank you for the wonderful memories. My wife is from Moultrie Jeanette Sellars (Moultrie grad class of 1954) and we come to Moultrie to visit friends and relatives often. The Cadet club was where I met my wife of 54 years. The Chapel was where we were married. The O'Club was where we had the reception. The other places were remembered with equally great joy. Before I left Spence for Reese AFB TX, my finance and I were engaged. I returned at Christmas of 58 to the coldest spell I ever remember in GA. We had 5 Cuban, 5 Vietnamese, 2 Bolivian, 1 Guatemalan, and 12 American Students in our graduation class at Reese. So we were certainly a diverse group. We were told that we would actually graduate a week early (Jan 21 1959) from Reese, because Jimmy Doolittle and the Secretary of the Air Force was to be at our graduation since it was the last class that flew the B25's. We all went on leave over Christmas, little did we know to expect changes. My lovely to be Bride made all the arrangements for the wedding on the day we were to have actually graduated. It was all set. There were several unexpected events that happened. Not all the Cuban students were allowed to come back as Castro had become the dictator. Luckily they came back a few days late and completed the course. I learned of a change that we could not graduate early, because we really were not 2nd Lt's for another week and that would complicate a lot of things. So I had a problem of being in two places at the same time several thousand miles apart. I talked to the Tactical Officer and was told to change the Wedding. That went over very well!!! Anyway it all worked out and at 0600 on Jan 28 1959 my best man, Daniel T. Berube, and I raised our right hands and were sworn in. And, there were several instructor pilots who were willing to get a few more hours in the "Old bird" and agreed to take a cross country to Turner AFB, GA. The instructors would not let me at the controls. They said my judgement was not good enough that day!!!! We landed at Turner AFB about 14:00 hours and were driven by my Brother in Law to Moultrie. In one day I said the best two words I ever said in my life, "I DO". I was a single Officer for less than 12 hours. The rest is history. I retired from the Air Force in 1979 after 24 years. I flew more than 10 different types of aircraft and over 7,000 hours of flying time. I look back and see that what I learned and done at Spence was the basis for much of my future success. One of the greatest joys I have had in the last few years is finding and communicating with many of my Aviation Cadet classmates. What a wonderful group of guys. May God continue to bless America with such men!
Edward Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - Jan 20, 2013 at 1:00PM
Otha H "Skeet" Vaughan Jr, Class 52G < email@example.com >
USA - Sept 17, 2012 at 2:30PM
Mike Perry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm
As someone who loves the History of Moultrie/Colquitt Co., I have a request for all who served at Spence Field. I would like to ask all of you if you would send me your autograph. Would you please put your Rank and what year(s) you were at Spence. This would mean a lot to me. As I said before, I love local history. If any of you are ever in Moultrie, please come by and visit the Museum of Colquitt Co. History. We are open on Fridays, Saturdays (10am – 5pm) and Sundays (2pm – 5pm). You can also call the Museum and arrange a tour (Groups or individual). Please call: 1-229-890-1626. We would enjoy having you visit and you will not be disappointed. Also, If you would like to donate an item from Spence Field, we would love to have it. You can donate your item(s) or put on loan. May God Bless all of you and thanks for your service to our great Country._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Clint Chafin, Museum President. < email@example.com >
4789 Tallokas Rd., Moultrie, GA. 31788 USA - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:24AM
My father, Virgil T. Michels (they called him Mike) was a flight instructor at Spence when I was very young. I think I was 3 when we moved there & 7 when left because they planned to close the base. My mother was Yolanda. I have two brothers, Mickey & Dennis. I remember Col. Rogers had a daughter my age. I loved living in Moultrie & remember the airbase very well, especially the pool! Would be interested in knowing if anyone remembers my dad. Thank you.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Roxanne Michels <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paris IL USA - Jun 07, 2012 at 5:40PM
Larry Hart, P CTR USAF AFMC WR-ALC/GRMIB < Larry.Hart@robins.af.mil >
USA - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:24AM
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Chuck Bartlett and I was a student at Spence in early 1956. I would like to ask about one of my instructors, Veo "Swede" Swenson. Does anyone know any thing about him? If he is still alive I would like to contact him. My class was 57-F. One of my Flight Commanders was Bob Rose. Any one that can fill me in would be appreciated. I spent 14 years in the Air Force and then a little more than 27 years with Northwest Airlines retiring in 1995 at age 60.
Chuck Bartlett < email@example.com >
USA - Apr 05, 2012 at 7:45PM
Ben Newell, former Spence Instructor Pilot, passed away recently. He started at Spence about the same time I did. I worked with him in several flights and he was in my flight for some time after I became Flight Commander. He was a big golfer at Spence and was well known around Moultrie. I had contacted him a few months ago after he had a heart attack and he was not in very good shape then and was living with a son. You may want to put a notice on the Web for the few of us who are left. I'm sending this obit just as I received it from a friend of his.
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John Freese < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Greeley, CO USA - Feb. 3, 2012 at 9:04PM
My late father, Verne Reisinger, was an Aviation Cadet at Spence, Class 55-Q. He went to Williams AFB after Spence. I didn't come along until a year after he graduated at Williams in 1955, so I never got a chance to see Spence. I thoroughly enjoyed the website and particularly the slide show. Now I have some idea of how Spence appeared back then and I thank and commend those responsible for contributing the photos and putting together such a nice presentation. --- I am a full scale pilot as well as an RC pilot and I would like to paint my T6G to resemble any of those used at Spence. I have my father's yearbook but it is in all B&W. If anyone has detailed photos of the T6 in color, I would appreciate seeing them. I would really appreciate any close-ups of the training emblem that was painted on the cowl. --- Thanks again for such a thoughtful site and I enjoyed reading many of the entries in this guestbook.
David Verne Reisinger < email@example.com >
Carlisle, PA USA - Dec 19, 2011 at 4:03PM
Have enjoyed the Spence Website. Began my aviation and military life at Spence in Class 53-E.
Stewart McLay < firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - Nov 24, 2011 at 2:22PM
I was a cadet at Spence in class 61-F. I was a yank from Wisconsin and being in reb country for the first time in my young life was a real experience. A great experience!
Paul Saastad < email@example.com >
USA – Nov 11, 2011 at 2:19PM
If you are aware of the life and times of my father, Beverly "Bevo" Howard, you probably know that in 1947, Bevo and William Strohmeier co-wrote an excellent primary flying textbook named "You Can Learn to Fly." -- Sometime around 2001, I came across a discussion among pilots who were discussing this book and the fact that copies were no longer available. That encounter prompted me to convert the copy I had to electronic format and re-release it as an Acrobat PDF EBook in 2004 and a few of you purchased it on CD Rom. -- As EBooks progressed over the years since that release, they have become more common and much easier to use. With that in mind, I have just finished reformatting the book to optimize it for the Kindle EBook Readers and other devices such as the iPhone and iPad running the Kindle Reader "App" and am sending this in the event that you may want to obtain the book in Kindle format. -- You can obtain the Kindle Edition of "You Can Learn to "Fly" or view and download an extensive sample of it's contents by going to the link below.
Beverly Howard < Bev@BevHoward.com >
USA – Nov. 8, 2011 at 8:38PM
Les Williams (former Spence IP) is planning to hold a Spence Reunion at The Hampton Inn in Moultrie as we have done before. I told Les that I would help him as much as he needs me. We are planning to have the reunion starting with people arriving on the afternoon of October 7th and hold the first meeting on the 8th. The Hampton Inn telephone number is 229-616-7777. Vivion Griner, who has coordinated past reunions, has been having health problems so Les has decided to hold a very simple reunion this year. All former Cadets, Instructors, and Student Officers for Classes 52G and 52 H are invited and any other class members that can attend are invited. Please post this information on your Spence Air Base Web Site.
Otha H "Skeet" Vaughan Jr, Class 52G < firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - Sept 18, 2011 at 4:30PM_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Arnold Lester < email@example.com >
USA - August 25, 2011 at 6:52 PM
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________I graduated in the class of 60F. I was Tiger 61 and my instructor was Ben Newell. Went to Larado AFB for jet training in the T-Bird. I just missed the T-37 at Spence. Like everyone I knew, it was a great experience. When I last visited Moultrie, the base reminded me of the scenes from the movie, "12 O'Clock High" when Dean Jaeger biked out to that old WW II airstrip and then told the story. It was sad but all of my memories were good of Spence.
Ron Friday < firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - Aug 24, 2011 at 5:54 PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Butch Lesley. I am a retired C-130 Loadmaster. It was my experiences as a young boy enteracting with cadets that influenced me to chose a career in the Air Force. My parents worked at Spence in the mid 50's. Dad, Woodrow Lesley, was a maintainence foreman and mom, Mabel Lesley, was a secretary for one of the commanders, I am thinking it was the base commander but I am not sure. I visited the site this past Sunday for the first time since we left in 1956. Was sad to see what little is left so rundown. Thank you for your fine site.
Butch Lesley, Tsgt, USAF Ret < email@example.com >
USA - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:25 AM
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________"Abbey" Abbaticchio, class 57L....writing memoir about flying, with a chapter about Spence. The theme is "Why We Fly." At my age (79) just had a crash in an experimental airplane and what saved my life was, "fly it into a crash" as Bevo drummed into us. And as I laid in the hospital bed I decided to write about why we do this. 22 years after graduating from Spence, I happened by Moultrie on business and decided to have a sentimental look-see at the old base. The guard at the gate said “there isn't a week that goes by without one of you guys coming back." I am writing to find out why this means so much to all of us. Be glad to hear from anybody.
Robert “Abbey” Abbaticchio < firstname.lastname@example.org >
New Smyrna Beach, FL USA - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:03 PM
We are trying to locate Ben Newell. He is a former Spence Instructor Pilot and a few years ago we helped him locate a T-6 for a Spence reunion. We have since lost touch with him. I hope someone can let us know his present contact information. Thanks.
Jackie Dankos, 804-334-7533 < email@example.com >
USA - July 13, 2011 at 7:09 AM
My name is Robert Wavra. Just came across the Spence AB web site on the internet. WOW, what memories. I was in class 53B (T-6) then went to Bryan AB TX (T-28, T-33). I did not see my instructor Mr. Smith on the Instructors page. I believe it was H.G. Smith, but a long time to remember, I am 82yrs old. The one instructor I did recognize is Ray Arnold. I did not know him at the time I was at Spence but in the 1980s I meet him when we were both working at Southern Air Transport flying Lockheed L-382’s. I lost track of him when both of us turned 60yrs and retired from the airline (FAA rules at the time). Retired from the AF in 1971 and attended a few 53B reunions.
Bob Wavra < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Hello, my name is Chaplain Philip Green. I am 97 years old. I was the Chaplain at Spence Air Field from late 1951 to January 1953. I will write lots more later about my experiences there, but if you care to contact me in the interim, you can reach me at the email address below. I am currently writing a book entitled "Much Alive at Ninety-Five". I know I said I'm 97 years old but writing a book takes awhile. The book mentions my time and experiences at Spence Air Field. I'll write more later.
Chaplain Phil Green, Col., USAF Ret. < email@example.com >
Colorado Springs, CO USA – June 28, 2011 at 1:48 PM
My name is Patsy Goodwin Bentz. I am originally from Moultrie. We are planning the 50th reunion of the Moultrie High School class of 1962 and are trying to locate classmate Ree Sumner. She was with us in the 8th through 10th grade and we think her father worked at Spence Air Base. If anyone knows her whereabouts please let me know. Thanks.
Charles Kreis <firstname.lastname@example.org> 505-296-8995
USA - June 6, 2011 at 8:01 PM
Class 55H, Feb - Aug '54. Instructor was David Spears. Great foundation for flying and I really enjoyed the tour.
Frank Smith < email@example.com >
Lynn Haven, FL USA – May 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Judy Phillips Georgiades <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SunKissed Alpaca Ranch USA - April 4, 2001 at 12:04 pm
I know my brother, Kap, has been in touch in the past about the time our Dad served at Spence during WW2. This weekend, I came across the attached documents in a file of my Grandparents and wondered if it's something you could use on the Spence page - it's a copy of the graduation program, as well as a thank you from the Class of 44B. Thanks for all your hard work on the Spence website - it's nice to know someone remembers the men who served in WW2.
Wendy Paquette < email@example.com > daughter of Elmer G. Paquette, Class of 44B
USA - February 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm
I've just about worn out my scrolling finger, looking for any commentary from former members of Class 53A at Spence Field. I washed about midway through but went on from there to James B. Connally AFB, Waco,TX, and won my wings as a "radar observer all weather intercept," known today as “radar intercept officer,” class 52-27. My best friend then, as he is now, was Duane Dunham from Wisconsin. It was a wonderful experience, and I'd sure like to hear from any dinosaurs of that era.
Ron Ziegler < firstname.lastname@example.org >
FL USA -
2011 at 9:39AM
I recently found your very wonderful website about Spence Air Base. I was an Aviation Cadet in class 56-P. After Spence I spent 6 months at Bryan (T-28 and T-33) and 3 months at Williams (F-86F). After Willie I returned to the Oregon ANG at Portland, OR (F-94B - ugh). I didn't get much military flying as I went to work for CAA at Oakland ARTCC in early 1957. I spent 6 years at Oakland, 27 years at Denver ARTCC and a couple of years at Miami ARTCC. I retired in 1994 and now live near Redmond in central Oregon where I play lots of golf and enjoy the magnificent scenery.
Jim Platz <email@example.com>
USA – October
16, 2010 at
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1951 til its
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told me that
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I received a phone call recently from Homer Hulme, class of 57R. He had seen my earlier entries about my father, Ashby Grimmett. Mr. Hulme is now in Chickasha, Oklahoma, and a CPA, in practice for 52 years. I told him I would make an entry for him in the Guestbook – after Spence he went to Reese Airbase in Lubbock and then had jet training at McConnell in Wichita, Kansas (pardon any misspellings I might have made!). He served on lead crew 71 in the 40th Bomb Wing. He would love to hear from anyone of his class and would like to know anything about Bob Weaver and his family. He doesn't have email, but his son had shown him this website. I'm sure he would see any reply on this guestbook.
Linda Rhodes, CPA < firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - September 15, 2010 at 3:04P
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________My father, Frank Haines, was an instructor pilot at Spence from mid ‘55 to late ‘60. I was only about 4 when we left Spence but I remember going to the pool and the church. My dad went on to El Paso, Texas when he left and worked for, I believe, Ross Aviation. He then worked Civil Service at Ft. Rucker, AL. in Hueys, then Cobras. He went back to fixed wing at Ft Stewart, GA. and did a little moonlighting at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA. until he retired. While at Spence in the 50's he purchased the old women's mess hall with about 6 acres located on the southeast corner of the Spence Field. He then turned it into a large house we lived in and started a mobile home park there. He later retired there and purchased another 7 or 8 acres closer to the field. Not sure what happened to the place after his death in December 1997 at age 76.
Walter E. Haines, Information Manager, JSF/F-35 SATAF <email@example.com>As a member of UPT Class 68G at Moody AFB, I made lots of touch and go's at Spence in the T-37 between Jun and Aug 1968. Undergraduate Pilot Training was the term USAF used for the 53-week course to award wings. We started at Valdosta airport with a civilian-taught, 30-hour program in the T-41 (Cessna 172). Then we moved to Moody AFB for the T-37 (90 hrs) and T-38 (120 hrs). It was during the T-37 portion of the syllabus that we flew over to Spence to do traffic patterns, low approaches and touch and go’s. Moody sent an IP to man mobile control at the runway because Spence was not an active base by then. There was one tragic occurrence in this period. A student pilot in our class, Fred DiGiacomo, forgot to perform a fuel transfer switch operation as he got ready to do patterns at Spence, flamed out and was killed. I recall only that you had to do this about twenty minutes after takeoff. This was a chilling event for us all and particularly sad for me as Fred lived a couple of doors away in the same apartment building in Valdosta.
Beaufort, SC USA - Aug 20, 2010 at 10:24AM
I was stationed at Spence in 1959 (I don't remember the class number), and my roommate was Joseph Arsenault. While at Spence I formed a fancy exhibition drill team. Over the last 50 years I have lost contact with everyone I knew there. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who remembers.
Bill Weistroffer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MI (in 1959,
IL) USA -
I’m Paul Soulé, proud to have been in class 59A at Spence in 1958. Many fond memories. I didn’t want anything more in life than to fly and be an Air Force pilot, and as a kid – I celebrated my 20th birthday at Spence, I worked hard and learned to fly all over again! I don’t remember much in the way of details, other than the ‘fire like’ look of the T-28 during night flight, getting lost, and then finding myself on a night cross country check ride. The circuit breaker panel caught on fire on gear extension during the pitch out for landing. Managed to continue the approach, the gear was, in fact, down. Landed and safely evacuated the aircraft. (The fire probably let me pass the check ride!) Also remember having to get my parents’ permission to continue in pilot training with the ‘contract change’ to four year commitment after graduation. (Under 21, I couldn’t sign it myself!) Finally graduated, on to Reese in B-25’s, and commissioned 2 days before my 21st birthday. I’m happy to say, I still can’t get flying out of my system, as I approach 20,000 hours, 7000 of which are military, and NO airline pilot time! Managed to remember the safety lessons taught by Mr. Kitchens at Spence, and was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by the FAA a couple of years ago. Haven’t flown in a couple of days – better get out to the airport now before I forget how! And thanks for the great job on the website, and the wonderful memories!Paul S. Soule' <email@example.com>
Miami, FL USA - August 14, 2010 at 6:33AM
My Dad, Howard Phillips, was one of the first Army Air Force personnel to set foot on Spence Field in 1941. He is now 92 years old, soon to be 93 and I was showing him pics of the Spence website. His memory has faded a lot, but he thinks he was a Sergeant, aircraft mechanic at the time. He was transferred from Maxwell Field in Montgomery, AL. It was before Spence Field actually was operational. He ended up being involved in setting the whole field up, accepting shipments, aircraft, gasoline, supplies and ground equipment, and helping arrange everything. Included was going over the buildings, turning on and off every faucet and flushing every toilet before the job was signed off. Also, in the final signing off when the builder was finished. The intent was to make sure Uncle Sam was getting his money's worth. -- One dark, rainy night he heard an aircraft flying overhead, circling around, apparently looking for a landing spot. He jumped in a weapons carrier and drove over to the runway, fired up the generator and turned on the runway lights. The air force trainer - he can't remember what it was - landed and ran out of fuel on the runway. Dad had to fuel him up to get him off the runway. The pilot told him that he knew there was a new air base down here somewhere, but never would have been able to find it if Dad hadn't heard him and lighted the way for him. I wish he could remember the pilot’s name, but 70+ years have taken a toll. -- He's sitting here with me, telling me how much he enjoyed being there and how much he grew up in the process. When he left shortly after the brass arrived, he was commended for a job well done. -- He subsequently served as a crew chief (flight engineer) on B-17's & B-29's and served in the Pacific theater. -- Thanks so much, and thanks to all for their service.
USA – August 6, 2010 at 7:20AM
I was in class 60-A, in Polecat flight. I do remember well those days as a cadet. I started with Red Gargaly as my instructor but his method of instructing didn't work well with me. I didn't respond well to the constant cussing. I do bless the day when Dick Weeks was assigned as my instructor, he had a different style. He explained what and how. With him I never had a problem again. I went on to Greenville, MS and into the B-47 duty in SAC. When that became unacceptable I resigned and went to fly for US Steel Corp, two years later I was with TWA and spent 25 wonderful years flying for them. Thank you so very much Dick Weeks!! My wife of 50 years I met while a cadet at Spence and we married in April of 1960. It was a great place and I will always value my time there.
Excellent job on the web site. Renewed a lot of old memories. I was a flight instructor based at Spence during 1944. Flew the AT-6 and also P-40's out of Tifton. I graduated from advanced at Craig Field, Selma, Alabama and then went to Instructors School at Randolph Field, Texas. On completing that course I was assigned to Spence. After all these years, I have almost no memories of the other instructors at Spence except for one or two that were in my squadron. I believe there were four squadrons of students per class, with two classes in training at the same time. I left Spence in December 1944 and went to P-47 Transition School. I am now involved with the P-47 museum and library at the airfield in Millville, NJ. Keep up the good work!!!
Warren W. Smith <WWS328@aol.com>
Millville, NJ - July 6, 2010 at 1:28PM
Bill Bovard, a former Spence Instructor Pilot, was my first flight instructor and a great pilot and friend. We lost contact in 1974. Does anyone know of his whereabouts? I should let you know that I was never at Spence. I was a generation younger and was fortunate enough to have Bill as my flight instructor in 1973-4 when he worked for Sowell Aviation in Panama City, Florida. I was wet behind the ears at age 23 and he kind of took me under his wing. He was probably in his fifties at that time and married to Anna, his Mexican wife. They were kind enough to have me over for tacos and other Mexican food during my stay in Florida. I was a foreign student from Canada at the time. We had lots of fun flying together and he would tell me some of his stories and talk about old friends. I was quite amazed to see his picture on your site. The Spence experience must have been wonderful, looking at all those Harvards and PA-18’s lined up and ready to go! I imagine Bill must be in his eighties now but some people leave lasting impressions on us and Bill was one of those guys. Thanks for keeping such a great web site. And Bill, if you are out there, I am proud to still have your signature in my log book!
Gerry Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Canada - July 5, 2010 at 4:48AM
STUART ROOSA FAMILY-AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY (UPDATE): Seeking any and all information available about Spence class 55-K (April-September, 1954), of which future Apollo astronaut Stuart Roosa was a member. I'm still working on the family-authorized biography of Roosa, and am seeking recollections, photos and other input from classmates, instructors, or students from other classes in that era about his days at Spence. Anybody got a 55-K classbook? Any group photo(s) that include Roosa available? Thanks in advance for your help with this worthwhile project. Any contributions that are used will get the contributor listed in the book's "Acknowledgements" section.
Willie G. Moseley, Senior Writer, Vintage Guitar Magazine <email@example.com>, cell ph. (334) 201-0112, office ph. (334) 283-1188
USA – June 6, 2010 at 11:26AM
If the attached picture of Class 57-U Cadets is useful for the website, please feel free to use it. If you wish, I can name most of the guys in the photo. I've also attached a T-28 photo that you may want to use. This was a solo flight one Saturday morning. I was usually able to taxi to the ramp after a flight but this time it didn't work out that way. In later years, I reflected on this incident and was glad that I was such an experienced pilot at the time. I had some 80 hours total. Given the choice between skill and luck.....I guess luck wins out. Thanks for the great web site. Many good memories. (See Tom’s pictures and report at top of MEMORIES page)
SPENCE AIR BASE NOW HAS IT'S OWN PAGE ON FACEBOOK. CHECK IT OUT AND IF INTERESTED SIGN ON AS A FRIEND.
(if not a Facebook member copy and paste the following address to your browser)
Bruce R. Watson, Spence Webmaster <Bruce@spence-air-base.com>
Phoenix, AZ USA - April 27, 2010 at 3:17PM
My daddy, Henry C. Gray, Jr. was a instructor pilot at Spence Air Base for several years when I was a child. He has been deceased since 1984. I am curious to know if any of his former students or instructor friends are still around. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who knew my daddy back then.
Kathryn G. Wright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Moultrie, GA USA – Apr 13, 2010 at 11:21AM
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Not an Option:
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“My travels in the Air Force took me to Spence Air Base in Moultrie, Georgia, where Jack Colman, my primary flight instructor, opened the world of flight to me and taught me much more. In the hot steamy air over southern Georgia he tested my skills, but in the briefing room and on the ramp he taught teamwork and the belief that “There is no such thing as good enough. You, your team. and your equipment must be the best. That is how you will win victories.” The day he turned me loose to solo, he taught me that the teacher’s role is to instill the confidence to fly at the edge of peak performance. Your primary flight instructor is the man you will never forget. Coleman’s lessons helped me in my years at Mission Control. I could empathize with what the controllers felt during the brutally demanding debriefings after a mission and tactfully handle the one-on-one critiques after a simulation. He taught me, by example, how to train my controllers, build their confidence, and turn them loose when they were ready. Coleman also gave me an appreciation of the fundamental importance of teamwork and mutual trust among team members.”
The world wide search is on for "Tony the Tiger," Class 60-F. If anyone out there knows where Tony and his logbook ended up please let me know.
USA - March 14, 2010 at 5:51AM
Pilot class 57-R (Spence only) is having a reunion in 2011 and considering holding it in the Moultrie area. Please let me know if you are aware of any other Spence/Moultrie reunions planned for 2011.
Bill Doerler <PSDWKD@aol.com>
Princeton, NJ USA (609-575-8718) – March 13, 2010 at 1:40PM
I am Bob Archibald. I was in Class 56A at Spence. We were the first class to fly the T-34 and T-28. My instructor was Gordon F. Ward. What a great place and group of people to start my Air Force Career. I soloed the T-34 in late Sep or early Oct 1954 at the Tifton auxillary field. I remember driving daily in a bus from Spence to Tifton in those days and buying peanuts from young kids at the railroad crossings in Tifton. Those kids must have been about 8 years old and smoked cigarettes. The peanuts were either "parched" or "biled." When we got some of the "biled" ones, we realized they were boiled and sloppy wet. I never developed a taste for the boiled peanuts until a few years ago in a Hunan Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. - - I don't know why I recall more about Tifton than the other auxillaries at Sunset and Thomasville. In recent years I have visited Spence twice and stopped in at the auxillaries once each. Moultrie has sure grown, but what hasn't. - - After Spence I went on the Greenville for basic in the T-28 and T-33. Then to all weather school at Tyndall, first in the T-33 then the F-86D. First assignment was 85th FIS at Scott AFB which was a great assignment, then 514th FIS at RAF Manston, England, then 512th FIS at Sembach AB. Germany, all in the F-86D. Then a T-33 instructor assignment at Laon AB, France, bartering another year in Europe for assignment to the 18th TRS in the RF-101. Then to George AFB in the F-106. After a year in AFIT went to the F-106 again at 27th FIS, Loring AFB. A year in SEA, first in a recce command post, then flying the RF-101 again with the 45th TRS at TSN, 20th TRS at Udorn and finally assigned to 7th AF Hq, 120 missions. - - I returned to States as F-106 flight test officer at ADC Hq, was instrumental in getting the 20mm cannon installed in that plane, then back to TAC at Shaw AFB in the RF-101 and then into the RF-4. Four years in England at RAF Alconbury in 32nd TRS and 10th TRW Hq flying the RF-4. Last assignment was SAMSO as staff reliability engineer for the Minuteman III and MX program. Retired after 22 years to Santa Rosa, CA, where I own a flight school and still fly and instruct in Cessnas and Light Sport planes. Cheers!
Bob Archibald <DRAGONFUEL@ aol.com>
David B. Ross <email@example.com>
USA - February 1, 2010 at 7:31PM
My name is Tom Patton. Although he is not listed on the instructors page my father, Al Patton, instructed at Spence from late 1955 until the base closed in 1961. At 86 he is still very active in sport aviation having built over a dozen airplanes including his first, the APF (Al Pattons Folly, so named by my mother) which he designed and built while we were at Moultrie. After leaving there he was a corporate pilot (surviving a crash into a mountain during a blizzard), retired from the Marine Reserves as a Lt. Col. flying F9F Cougars and working as an air traffic controller at the Augusta, Ga. tower for 20 yrs. All during this time he continued to instruct and provide pilot services for anyone who asked. Among his many awards was his induction into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005. We have always had fond memories of the years we lived in Moultrie and I'm sure he would appreciate hearing from any of his former students or fellow instructors. You may reach him through me via email or call him directly at (706)0738-2228. Thanks.________________________________________________________________________________________________
Tom Patton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - January 24, 2010 at 9:44AM
Ron DeWitt, Class 57-C, Polecat Flight. My Spence instructor was Robert Montgomery. After Spence, I completed my flying training at Webb AFB, TX, in the T-33, received my wings, went to advanced training in the F-86-D at Perrin AFB, Dallas TX, and flew with the 41st Ftr Intcpt Squadron, assigned to Guam. My memories of my instructor, Spence AB, and all my AF career are close to my heart. My permanent home is in Cincinnati Ohio, but my wife and I winter in The Villages, FL each year, from Oct-April, and each time I come down I-75 the Moultrie sign gets my attention. A few times I have driven over to Moultrie, and visited what is left of my beloved Spence.
Ron DeWitt <email@example.com>
USA – January 10, 2010 at 9:28PM________________________________________________________________________________________________
Donn Bruse (firstname.lastname@example.org)____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Merritt Island, FL USA - January 7, 2010 at 6:34AM
Class 60-G, Spring 1959, Beaver 83. The most enjoyable 6 mo. in my 34 years military service. Earned my wings at Vance AFB in November 1959. Attended Class 61-C, the last F-86 class at Moody AFB. Assigned to F-101’s at Dow AFB, Me. Then to 59th FIS Iceland, 437th FIS Oxnard AFB, 98th FIS Suffolk Co AFB, NY, 64th FIS Clark AB, 60th FIS Grand Forks AFB, ND,- rif’ed-, 107th FIG Niagara Falls AB, NY, retired June 1993. -- Acquired over 6000 hrs fighter time during my career. My Spence instructor, Newton J. Cole, and my roommate Wayne E. Kinder were my inspiration setting goals to meet. I am attaching a photo of Newton J. Cole my instructor - I noticed there is no photo of him on the instructors page. (Photo has now been added – BRW)
Wayne O. Craig (email@example.com)
305 Glenvale Rd., Youngstown, NY 14174 USA - December 26, 2009 at 5:22PM
Morris “Mo” Spence <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(301) 374-6566 (H) USA – November 12, 2009 at 2:31PM
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________You don’t know how exciting it has been to find the Spence Air Base site on the internet. You have done an excellent job. My dad was L. Paul Nabors a flight instructor and flight commander at Spence. Bevo called him personally to come to Moultrie in the very beginning and he came in ‘51 and left in ‘61 when the base closed. My mother, Ruby Nabors, taught school at Moultrie High all the years they were in Moultrie. I loved Moultrie. It was a wonderful little town and we called it home because we lived there the longest of any one place in our lives until my folks got older. When my dad left Spence he went to Dillingham, Alaska and formed the Western Alaska Airlines with a group of bush pilots. He left there in ‘64 or ‘65 and went to Fort Rucker, Ala. to teach helicopter flying. They moved back to Moultrie after a couple years at Fort Rucker. Then they moved to Angwin, Calif. where he helped establish a flying school at Pacific Union College. After that he got on with the FAA and was in Atlanta, New York, and Philadelphia before he retired to Ashland City, TN. Finally they came to Chattanooga in 1998 so they could be near me. My dad passed away in 2003 at the age of 88. My mama turned 90 the first of the month and is doing fairly well for her age. I have run into a couple of guys that were at Spence, a Pete Bartholomey who was a flight instructor in ’59 & ‘60 and a former student named John Bobo who was in class 55k if I recall correctly. John passed away several years back but his wife Nancy will be pleased when I tell her about the Spence Web Site.
Paula Nabors Graham <email@example.com>
7417 Twin Brook Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37421 USA – Oct 25, 2009 at 4:23PM
My Grandfather was Melville "Pete" Peterson. He has just passed away last week. He often talked about his time at Spence AFB, being an instructor, and when he was at the last reunion he attended. He had written to the Spence website back in 2003. I would love to hear from anyone that has stories about him. I am in the process of going through some of his memorabilia, and would like to add a personal touch from people that knew him. (Pete's Obituary)___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Joy L. Day <JDay@photoservices.net>
Cape Canaveral, FL USA - Oct 19, 2009 at 4:34PM
Victor Obando <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Peru - Oct 18, 2009 at 10:52AM
I was at Spence, class 56M in 1955. We were one of the first classes to fly the T-34 and T-28. After Spence, I went thru the T-33 program at Webb AFB in Big Spring, TX. My instructor at Spence was Milton Walsh, who flew P-39's in WW II, and I was in Panther flight--Panther 89. Spence was a wonderful experience, which I will never forget -- especially Bevo Howard's air shows. I have owned my own T-34 Mentor and an L-39 for about 5 years now. Most of my flying in these airplanes are taking people for rides. Thanks for the trip down memory lane in your website.
Jimmy Jenkins <email@example.com>
USA - October 04, 2009 at 3:31PM
Be sure to click the link above to check out Jimmy's beautiful flying machines. It must be brutal to have to fly these birds but I suppose someone has to do it;-) BRW
Did anyone know my grandfather “Edwin Edge”. I believe that he worked as an air traffic controller at Spence during WWII. He told me many stories about his experiences but I am not sure whether he was assigned to Spence. He lived in Doerun, Georgia, which is very close to Moultrie.________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Wallace D. Bonner, Jr. <WBonner@mcdr-law.com>
Albany, GA USA – August 19, 2009 at 2:17PM
"Ray Frendo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
France - Aug 17, 2009 7:04 am____________________________________________________________________________________________
Munir Azam <email@example.com>
Santa Clarita, CA USA - August 12, 2009 at 11:35PM
Jim Gosdin <firstname.lastname@example.org> Skype:gosdin
USA - August 1, 2009 at 10:10AM
Working on the family-authorized biography of Apollo XIV Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa (1933-1994), who trained at Spence in class 55K. This will be my eighth book. Would appreciate any input, recollections or images from such times by other individuals who served at Spence. Thanks in advance for the opportunity and consideration.
Willie G. Moseley <email@example.com>
P.O. Box 780566, Tallassee, AL 36078 USA - July 25, 2009 at 6:14PM
Clint Chafin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
4789 Tallokas Road, Moultrie, GA 31788 USA - July 22, 2009 at 12:01PM__________________________________________________________________________________________
Jim Roquemore, 57-G at Malden AB, MO <email@example.com>
Camden, SC USA – July 5, 2009 at 3:31PM
Bruce, I can't say enough about your contribution to the countless "Spence Air Base people" who continue to share their experiences and memories at www.spence-air-base.com. There is just no way to measure the appreciation and pure joy that so many have experienced because of your efforts and devotion to the creation and maintenance of the website. To think that the site has averaged over 18,000 hits a year and that they went to over 32,000 in 2008 says it all! Great job and thanks again.__________________________________________________________________________________________
Mac McKinley (Class 55-N) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lodi, NJ USA - Jun 14, 2009 at 12:59PM
I own a Taylorcraft L2M Grasshopper once based at Spence and have researched it quite extensively. The Army Air Force serial no. was 43-26648 if this helps. Am wondering if anyone is still around that knows about these Liaison aircraft and how they were used at Spence. Beverly Howard told me you might be able to help. This aircraft was at Spence from 1944-1945 and was nosed over while two Sergeants were taxiing it. The accident happened July 2, 1944 and Major John M. Simonton was in charge of the accident investigation. I am a history teacher looking for memorabilia from this period to display with the aircraft. Would appreciate hearing from anyone who can add to my information.__________________________________________________________________________________________
USA - June 13, 2009 at 1:13AM
John Blissard <email@example.com>
USA - Apr 10, 2009 at 12:48PM
My class was 57-0. If anybody out there knows others in my class, please let me know. My instructor was Grady Klutz in T-34's and Moose Whiddon in T-28's. Our call sign was "Pole Cat". I went on to Del Rio, then Laredo and then Perrin. After 5 years in the Air Force continued 18 years with the PA ANG. It would be great to hear from classmates.__________________________________________________________________________________________
Earl “Buzz” Mead <ATOldGoat@aol.com>
New Bern, NC USA – April 4, 2009 at 8:30AM
Does anyone who was stationed at Spence during mid 1944 remember the call signs for Tifton, Sunset, and Spence? If so please let me know at the E-mail address below. -- At Bruce’s request I am adding a little concerning my “Spence connection.” Graduated from Advanced at Spence 44-F, 6/27/1944. Basic at Malden, MO; Primary at McBride, Mo. P-40 at Tifton, AT-6 gunnery at #7 Eglin Army Air Field, Fl.; P-47 transition at Camp Springs, Md; Dover AAF, gunnery; Richmond AAF, Camp Shanks, NY; replacement depots, England and Paris; 48th Fighter Group, Illesheim, Germany; Laon, Fr.; Marseille, Fr; Camp Shanks, NY, Seymour Johnson AAF, NC for separation. In the 80's I visited Spence and it was going down or had already gone. Malden was the same way. Marianna, Fl still had some barracks left if I remember correctly. Jackson, MS was a commercial field: Seymour reactivated in 50's or 60's now home to 4th TFW. As I try to pull this up I notice I'm beginning to lose some detail but it was all a real adventure.
Norfleet Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - March 27, 2009 at 8:39AM
Greg Mockford <email@example.com> (780) 991-3792
Millet, Alberta, Canada – February 15, 2009 at 11:16AM
Check Greg's new website at www.norseman100.ca Be sure to view the movie. Interesting! BRW
I am seeking additional information on two WW2 pilots with apparent Spence Field ties. -- 2nd Lt. John W. (Jack) Bence was from Wayne County, Michigan, and shows up on records as a S/Sgt. at Spence Field in Aug. 1942. He was then assigned to the 7th Ferrying Group and went straight to ferrying lend-lease P-39's from Great Falls to Fairbanks. About six months later, at the time of his crash, now a commissioned officer, he had 450 flying hours so he must have been a pilot while at Spence, perhaps an instructor. -- Bence had an engine failure at Fort St. John, BC, on a P-39 test flight. He was fully fueled including ferrying belly tank. He was to carry on up the line if the test flight went OK. He crashed wheels up in scrub bush and the craft burned. -- Six fellow 7th pilots were pallbearers at his funeral at Edmonton Alberta. One of these was 2nd Lt. Marshall F. Blair and it is he that I am writing about. He and his craft went missing from Fort Nelson, British Columbia on 7 June 1943 and he is still missing. -- Despite enlisting a year apart, Bence and Blair were only separated by twenty serial numbers, 0-500609 for Bence, 0-500629 for Blair. -- Maybe Bence was an instructor at Spence? Does anyone out there know anything about him? Blair was from Manhattan. Could he have trained at Spence? How and where were serial numbers assigned? There are many unanswered questions and I will appreciate any help you can give me. If anyone from Jack Bence's or Marshall Blair's family reads this message I would appreciate contact. I do have a funeral photo I could share. Thank you.
Greg Mockford <firstname.lastname@example.org> (780) 991-3792
Millet, Alberta, Canada – March 11, 2008 at 1:52PM
Note: In 1942 there were still a number of enlisted "Sergeant Pilots" in the USAAF and many of those held the rank of S/Sgt. In late 1942, as the Flight Officer Act went into effect, qualified enlisted pilots were promoted to Flight Officer (equivalent to Warrent Officer) or 2nd. Lt. Probably Jack Bence, above, was one of these. BRW, Webmaster
I had been looking for this former student James Wold from Class 53-F for years. The last I heard from him he was at the Pentagon preparing to go to Russia. He invited me to come to DC and take a red carpet trip through the Pentagon but at the time I was not in position to go. My son Kent finally found him for me but a few years late. Since I had tried for so long to find him I just had to try his phone number and believe it or not his widow answered and we had a nice long chat. She is still operating the bed-and-breakfast in North Dakota and their children are all connected to flying in one way or another. He had a brilliant career and I thought you might want to add him to the distinguished list. See the following links ---
Arnold K. Lester <email@example.com>
USA - 188 Ivy Terrace Dr - Apt. 305, Boone, N. C. 28607, 828-355-9608 – February 12, 2009 at 4:15PM
Robert J. Kozar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - January 19, 2009 at 2:42PM
Ben Poitevent <email@example.com>
Tallahassee, FL USA - January 15, 2009 at 11:21AM
I'm a really OLD Spence grad -- of 43-G. Enjoyed all the history displayed on the site & learned of its subsequent reincarnation & demise. Was 19 when I graduated at Spence & was assigned to Greenwood AAF Base as an instructor. Later transferred to Gunter Field, then back to Spence in 44 where I was discharged in Nov 45. -- Got married, got a U of FL architectural degree in 51, had two kids & started an architectural practice in Ft. Lauderdale in 1955. Now retired in Mckinney TX, in reasonable shape considering all the wear & tear. Have many memories from those old days.
Lawrence “Larry” Browning, Former 1st. Lt., AAF Reserve <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mckinney, TX USA – January 10, 2009 at 12:33PM___________________________________________________________________________________________
Response to message immediately below ----
Mike Hurt, as I'd told you during our phone conversation of the other night your dad, Bill, and I were the closest of friends while we were instructing in B-25s at Reese. Your mom, Jane, was along when the four of us drove over to Riodoso in Bill's new Ford stationwagon. I'd been in touch with Robert Grattan after his request on here and, with Bruce's help, was able to tell him who Bill Hurt was and enable you to get that ring back. I'm fairly certain that Bill must have been at Selfridge AFB with his KC-97 and lost that ring while swimming in Silver Lake. The last time I saw Bill was at the Lages O club in the Azores one day in (circa) 1964-65. Glad that Bruce was able to furnish you with my E-mail address and hope to find those 50 plus year old photos of your parents, your brother and all of us when we were at Reese. -- Also, a matter of interest, Bill's table with 4 students was next to mine at Reese, one of his students was Tom Ray. You probably do not remember but Tom was from the Alabama Air Guard, a B-26 unit at Birmingham. Riley Shambarger and Tom were killed during the "Bay of Pigs" deal in Cuba. -- Also yes, Bill and I graduated from cadets together at Reese, commissioned 16 May 55, cadet class 55-N. Tom Lokey on here also is a classmate.
Randy Sohn, 55N <email@example.com>
Savage, MN USA – January 6, 2009 at 9:04AM
Thanks to Robert Grattan for finding my Dad's Air Force ring. (See Robt. Gratton March 26, 2008 entry below). He found it in Silver Lake, Michigan in 2006. Interestingly he found it in 14 ft. of water - 8 inches deep in the sand. William Robert Hurt, my Dad may have graduated in 1955, as his name and class 55N was engraved on the ring. I don't know when he lost the ring, but curious to see if anyone knows or even knew my Dad. Anyone interested in corresponding I look forward to talking to you.
Mike Hurt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Atlanta, GA USA – January 3, 2009 at 1:38PM
Otha H. “Skeet” Vaughan <email@example.com>
Huntsville, AL USA – December 14, 2008 at 8:00PM____________________________________________________________________________________________
Class "52-Charlie" now has a web site at www.52-c.org. Our next reunion is 17 May 2009 in Tucson, AZ.
Bill Payne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ennis, TX USA – October 30, 2008 at 7:28AM____________________________________________________________________________________________
I was in the last USAF unit at Spence Field, the 1st Air Logistics Augmentation Squadron (1st ALCAS), which was an Air Force Reserve squadron for the reconstitution of Robins AFB in the event of nuclear attack or natural disaster. Our last commander was Colonel Irving J. Schwartz. Our unit was disbanded and left Spence as of 30 Sep 1978.
Thomas H. Lokey, Major, USAF, Ret. <TomLokey@aol.com>
Jacksonville, FL USA – October 27, 2008 at 12:52PM More on ALCAS
We recently learned that a good friend, Doyle White, passed away on Sept. 23, 2008. Our condolence to his family. Doyle was a long time employee at Spence in the 1950’s, first as a Link Instructor and then for several years as a Instructor Pilot. For the past several years he, along with Vivion Griner, has planned and coordinated the annual Spence/Hawthorne Reunion. Doyle will be missed by many. OBITUARY
Bruce R. Watson, Spence Webmaster <Bruce@spence-air-base.com>
Prescott, AZ USA – October 22, 2008 at 3:40PM____________________________________________________________________________________________
Arnold K. Lester, Class 44-B. It was sure nice to get back to another Spence/Hawthorne Reunion, since my last one was about 1992, and visit with friends from 50+ years ago. Especially nice for me to have a student from Class 53-F, John Fondren and wife Peggy. Many thanks to Vivion Griner for all her work over the years keeping the reunion going and she forgot to mention the fact that the Reunion Fund is depleted. If you were there and/or have thoughts of going next year please send her a donation to replenish the fund so she can continue to have a place to meet and have those good snacks and drinks that we all enjoy. Her mailing address is 1862 U. S. Hwy. 319 South, Moultrie, Ga. 31768. It seems that I was the only one there that had a Hawthorne Flight Dept. History book that includes a list of all instructors, Hawthorne flight rosters and all accidents. Since several of you wanted a copy of the book, Bruce and I decided the best way to get it to you is with a CD. (Since this is essentially Hawthorne information and some of it is still considered confidential the CD is available to former Hawthorne personnel only.) My son, Kent, has it on CD and is running several for me, so if you would like to have one please contact me at email@example.com [Arnold K. Lester, 1801 Monte Vista Dr., Pulaski, Va. 24301], send your mailing address and you will get it soon. Our ranks are thinning out but I estimate we had about 45 at this gathering and already planning next year.
Arnold K. Lester <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - 188 Ivy Terrace Dr - Apt. 305, Boone, N. C. 28607, 828-355-9608 – October 19, 2008 at 6:07PM______________________________________________________
Otha H. “Skeet” Vaughan <email@example.com>
Huntsville, AL USA – October 13, 2008 at 6:17PM
Harold W. (Rudy) Rudolph, Class 53-D. . . .arrived by train in June, 1952, from Albany. . .it was 'an open air train'. . . no walls, just seats with a small rope to keep one from falling off. . . the train stopped at all road crossings to let the cars pass!!!. . . .my instructor's name was Dave Seitz, I believe. . . .at one point while flying, he said, "Rudolph, do you know what the needle and ball instrument is? . . .you're supposed to use it to make "coordinated" turns!". . .(that REALLY helped!). . . At 29 hours and 30 minutes of logged flying (you had to solo by 30 hours!), he said". . .OK, Rudolph, you got it", and climbed out. . .and off I went solo. . . .then to Bryan AFB to fly T-Bids and the T-28. . . then to Perrin AFB to check out in the F-86D . . .(somewhere I have a photo of the airspeed indicator as I was breaking the sound barrier in the 'Dog". . .MIGHT have been against the rules. . . Went to instrument training at Valdosta, then they asked where to want to be stationed?. . .at the time the Korean War was over so I said 'Selfridge AFB. . .I had been secretly married all through pilot training and my wife was pregnant and wanted to get back to the Detroit area. . . .So I wound up at Selfridge where the unit was just transitioning from the F-86E to the F-86D. . . .I had 10 hours in the airplane and was leading flights as a brand new 2 Lt because I had more "time" in 'D' than many of the older pilots. Finished my 3 year tour and joined the Mich ANG at Detroit Metro. . .flying the F-84-F, RF-84F and the RF-84K. . . . .Moved back to Selfridge in 1971, flying the F & RF-101, F-100D, and the love of my flying life, the A-7D. . .great cross-country aircraft!!. . .Led a couple of 6 shippers to our co-located operating base in Gioia Del Colle, Italy, and a number of trips to Howard AFB, Panama. . .doing "air defense" of the Panama Canal. . . .Oh, what fun!. . . Wound up as the Wing Commander at Selfridge in 1981 and retired in 1988. . . .Ah, those were the days!!.. . .(Have a 21 year daughter in the AFROTC at Loyola University in New Orleans. . .graduates in spring of 2009 with an assignment as an AWACS ABM. . .says it's my fault she is too short to be a pilot!!)
Harold W. (Rudy) Rudolph <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Detroit, MI area USA – October 7, 2008 at 5:09PM
Egon Baek <email@example.com>
Denmark - September 7, 2008 at 8:07AM
Bob Slater. Class 53-C. Learning to fly at Spence was the most fun I ever had. Dan Barton was my instructor, and he was the best. I have nothing but fond memories of that experience - the training, both air and ground, Ma Kilgore's wonderful food, Bevo doing his airshow for our graduation, everything. I'm now retired in Scottsdale, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). For various reasons I missed the 53-C reunions, but would welcome correspondence with anyone I knew at Spence. Good luck to all and good flying!
Bob Slater (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scottsdale, AZ USA – August 30, 2008 at 12:52PM
Bruce R. Watson, Spence Webmaster <Bruce@spence-air-base.com>
Prescott, AZ USA – July 16, 2008 at 12:00PM
How Interesting! I found this website while searching for another topic, and recognize many names and some faces from the years my dad "Fritz" Mengle was a Flight Commander at Spence in Moultrie. I was just a little girl at that time, but do remember quite a lot about it, and have many cherished memories of that time and place. When my dad left Spence, he went to Lowe Field at Fort Rucker, AL with the new Hawthorne US Army Primary Training Section back in the 60s. Another interesting chapter. When that training program closed we returned to Florida where dad continued his long, enjoyable flying career virtually until the time of his death on March 31, 1988. Thanks for the memories.
Renda Mengle Mackey <email@example.com>
Ocala, FL USA – July 4, 2008 at 1:35PM
George Taft Curry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - June 15, 2008 at 12:21PM
Bill Greenwald, Tiger 89 <email@example.com>
USA - June 14, 2008 at 2:05PM
I am the grandson of Alvin Harrison, who was an instructor pilot at Spence in the 50’s. His untimely death in a crop dusting accident never allowed me to meet him or gain any knowledge beyond recollections of my father who was five years old when my grandfather passed. My grandmother, Florene Harrison, never spoke much of him, and that is why I am adding to the guestbook. I really appreciate all the knowledge that I have been able to glean from this website, however, I am seeking more. If anyone knew my grandfather and would be willing to share any stories, thoughts, professional information, etc. I would really love to hear them. I am searching to learn more about my families past and any help will be greatly appreciated.
Nathan Harrison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Russellville, AR USA – May 8, 2008 at 7:24AM
Les Horvath <email@example.com>
USA – May 5, 2008 at 6:41PM
Ted Fletcher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - April 22, 2008 at 3:44PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I came to this site to find a pilot who graduated in class 55-N. His name is William R. Hurt. While metal detecting a lake in Michigan I came across his USAF pilot ring. If anyone can help me in this quest please e-mail me at the address below. If he is deceased I would love to give this to his next of kin. Thank you for your help.
Robert Grattan <email@example.com.>
USA – March 26, 2008 at 2:13PM
Note: On May 21, 2008 we received word that Bill Hurt passed away on May 6, 2001. BRW, Webmaster
Chuck Dildine, Lt/ Col USAF (Ret) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - March 14, 2008 at 1:45PM_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Greg Mockford <email@example.com> (780) 991-3792
Millet, Alberta, Canada – March 11, 2008 at 1:52PM_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Note: In 1942 there were still a number of enlisted "Sergeant Pilots" in the USAAF and many of those held the rank of S/Sgt. In late 1942, as the Flight Officer Act went into effect, qualified enlisted pilots were promoted to Flight Officer (equivalent to Warrent Officer) or 2nd. Lt. Probably Jack Bence, above, was one of these. BRW, Webmaster
What a great site! I would like everyone who reads it to know that Pilot Training Class 59-A will be having a reunion and banquet on October 10, 2008. Anyone from class 59-A is invited to attend. The banquet will be held at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton. Ohio. Please contact Don Schmenk for more information. 59-A also invites any of our instructors or anyone who graduated from USAF Pilot Training in fiscal or calendar year 59 to joins us at the banquet. Space may be limited and 59-A members have first priority.
Contact Don Schmenk at <firstname.lastname@example.org>for more information.
USA - March 11, 2008 at 3:53AM________________________________________________________________________________________________
I graduated with Class 58-B, my instructor was Walter J. "Pat" Dunnigan and I was Gopher 32. On April 3, 2003 I entered a message in the Spence Guest Book (see below). I come back to this site from time to time to see if any of my 58-B classmates have checked in. So far I think I'm the only one and that saddens me. The only flying I do these days is on my computer using a great flight sim program, X-Plane. I sold my last aircraft about eight years ago, a Cessna 337, because my wife of 36 years has Parkenson's Disease. I'll keep checking in to see who show's up.
Charles Campbell, Ph.D., J.D. <DrCampbell@strnetwork.com>
USA - March 5, 2008 at 3:25PM
I was was Cadet in class 59-A. I had been in, if I remember right, 58P-O9 and our class was held back at Lackland for six weeks to unload the flight schools. Would enjoy hearing from anyone who was there in mid to late 1957. Also would anyone remember a flight instructor by the name of Jerry Phillips. I think 59-A was his first class. He had flown F-86s in Korea. Our class has been having reunions for quite some time now with the next one at Wright-Patterson this October 2008.
Jimmy Swan <email@example.com>
USA - March 4, 2008 at 7:40PM
Dale Basham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lt Col, USAF (Retired), Captain, Northwest Airlines (Retired)
Phoenix, AZ USA - March 2, 2008 at 11:05AM
________________________________________________________________________________________________I just finished a full hour reviewing this wonderful website, including a notation from my 57-L classmate Jim Ramsey, who has written a good book about those days, focused on f-86D/L experiences, called "Bury the Dot." I am Gerry Haughey, and am among those blessed by the aviation experience, even though I flew professionally (F-86D/L, F-84F, F-89) with USAF for only a few years, (three years in England and Germany, and NJ ANG and PA ANG for a couple of years while attending law school), and as an amateur for many years in my Mooney 57540 and various other light planes. What rings loud and clear from my own experience and those of many others who have commented on your website is simply this: there is nothing to compare with being young and airborne. After forty years as a lawyer, those flying years remain vital in my memory. I won a few cases, but I can't remember them. None of that compares with a night crosswind landing in an F-84F in bad weather, let alone a vertical Mach one dive or a formation aero exercise. Thank God for the opportunity, and for surviving it. Cheers to all!
Gerry Haughey <email@example.com>
USA - February 26, 2008 at 8:59PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________My family rented our garage apartment to a French liaison officer who worked at Spence Air Base. I think it might have been in 1954. His name (not sure of the spelling) was Francois Antimarquis. If anyone knew him, I would like to ask some questions about the time he was there. I am writing a story and need some background details. Thanks.
Brooks Dumas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - February 1, 2008 at 4:46PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________Made a guest book entry some years ago, but email addresses do change. I was 56-D, and now am close to the CAF…Commemorative (was Confederate) Air Force here in Midland TX. Flew F-86, F-89, C-97 in MN ANG before moving here. Drop me a line:
C. Ronald Schwisow <email@example.com> 432-682-3789, Cell 432-553-8690
806 Palomino, Midland TX 79705-1811 USA - January 14, 2008 at 8:17PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________I was an aviation cadet at Spence in pilot training class 55-H. Ted Cossairt was my very excellent instructor. Anyone have a contact with him? Upon graduating at Webb AFB in Feb '55, I went into tac fighters and never looked back (except to keep my 6 clear). F-80, F-84E/F, F-100D/F, F-105D/F, F-4C/D/E. Retired as an 0-5 in '73.
Michael P. Cooper <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA – December 21, 2007 at 5:16PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________Tom Calovin, Class 59-A...Panther 58 (see - I remember). I stumbled onto this site and instantly was taken back in time. I also have fond memories of my classmates and instructors and the flights over to "Sunset" to practice in our T-34s. Bob McComb was my instructor at that point and was a wonderful teacher. I remember him telling us of the effects of a headwind on an aircraft which brought to mind an image I had seen at the 1949 Air Races in Cleveland which my Dad had taken me to. That image was that of an antique Curtis Pusher Race in which one of the planes actually stood still before the stands and started to be blown backwards in flight while the pilot dropped his legs down and started to simulate peddling. Bob was surprised that at my age I had seen the event and remembered it. The next day he presented me with an 8x10 of the event autographed to me and my Dad...turns out he was the guy flying the open pusher. Great memories and wonderful times...Thanks for the site, and , Bob, and all my classmates, if any of you are reading this I wish you all the very best.
Tom Calovin <email@example.com>
USA - December 19, 2007
________________________________________________________________________________________________I went through Spence in class 59-E. I am writing a book of my life and adventures, the main adventure flying the U-2. A important part of my story was my time at Spence, perhaps the happiest and most important time of my flying life. With your okay I would like to use some of your Spence pictures, especially the tour ramp in which I spent many hours, being the recipient of the dreaded 72 gun salute. At Spence I was thrilled and inspired by Bevo and had the best instructor of my aviation career, John Kitchens. Can anyone out there give me any information concerning John after he left Spence.
Don Wright <firstname.lastname@example.org> 603-763-4390
USA - December 8, 2007 at 10:47AM
________________________________________________________________________________________________On 9/23/03, a Mike McDonald entered a request (duplicated immediately below) in the Spence Guest Book, requesting photos of two WW2 fighter pilots, 2nd Lts. R. K. Short and E. R. Smith, who died in a training accident on Nov. 24, 1943, at Bartow AFB, FL. My information indicates that these two pilots enlisted in Dec. 1942 and trained at Maxwell AFB, Shaw AFB, and finally Spence AFB in 1943. They were then stationed at Bartow AFB in October 1943 and in November crashed with only 22 hours in the P51B. The former Bartow Base, now airport, has a museum on wartime history of the base and would like additional information on them to go with the story of their crash. As a former P51 crew chief at Bartow, I'm trying to help them obtain this information or anything else about the 1943-45 period. Your help will be sincerely appreciated as I am 87 yrs. old and doubt if very many of the others who were stationed at Bartow at the time are alive.
A.A. Billian <Billianaa@aol.com>
2209 St. Joe Center Road, Apt 253, Ft. Wayne, IN 46825 USA - November 3, 2007 at 11:12AM
* * * * * * * * * *I am writing a story about Decatur, GA. natives 2nd Lts. Enrique R. Smith and Richard K. Short. They grew up together, went to high school together were in ROTC together, went to GA. Tech together, left in their junior year together to join the AAF, and were killed together in a training accident on 24 Nov. 1943. I need pictures of these two pilots who got their wings at Spence in October of 1943. Actually, Smith got married that evening to a Boston, GA. girl named Eugenia Langston. I know class "Annuals" were usually printed that showed the graduating class of pilots. If anyone reading this can E-mail me a .jpeg file showing both pilots it would be greatly appreciated.
Mike McDonald <email@example.com>
Roswell, GA USA - September 23, 2003 at 7:43AM
________________________________________________________________________________________________I am looking for any one who may have been at Spence Field 1941-1942 and who is familiar with base operations rather than flight training. My dad was stationed there but was neither an aviation student nor instructor. I am trying to research his service and keep running into roadblocks like this. Thanks.
Jim Cobb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - October 16, 2007 at 4:09PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________Greetings. I graduated from Spence in Class 57-L and have always kept the yearbook - 'Take Off.' I have recently had a book published titled "The Buried Dot" which relates a good deal of my experiences at Spence plus basic and advanced flying leading to becoming an F-86L fighter interceptor pilot. You can order the book either through PublishAmerica.com which is the publisher or from Amazon.com. It is listed by title, or by author, James W. Ramsey. I have shared memories recently with three other members of my class -- two of whom became F-86D/L pilots, the third an F-84 pilot. Another classmate wound up an F-100 gunnery instructor in North Africa. If anyone out there remembers our class, please let me know.
James W. Ramsey <email@example.com>
P.O. Box 555, Ponderay, ID 83852 USA - October 14, 2007 at 7:16PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________I am looking for any one who flew out of Tifton Air Base in the 1944-47 era, or any one who has any information about two air mishaps that occurred there during that period. They occurred south of the air base in northwest Cook County. I was living there when a P-38 crashed SW of our house, the pilot bailed out and my father carried him to Tifton. The second plane, I believe a P-40, landed heading east directly toward our house but veered left just in time and came to rest just north of the house. It was late in the evening and the pilot had to stay and guard the plane. My father offered the pilot his double barreled shot gun to help in his duty. Any additional information about the planes, the dates the accidents happened and any information on who the pilots were and where they served in the war will be greatly appreciated.
Curtis Rutland <firstname.lastname@example.org> (229) 546-4553
1266 Little River Road, Lenox, GA 31637 USA - September 27, 2007 at 8:22AM
________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Nell Murphy Wagner. I grew up in Moultrie GA and married Curt Wagner, (class 61-E). After pilot training, Curt flew C-124's at Charleston AFB, then flew 32 years for Delta Air Lines. He has been retired 10 years and plays about 25 Senior Golf tournaments a year. We are the proud parents of 2 children. Our daughter is married to a Delta Capt. (retired USAF C-141 pilot). They have a 15 year old daughter. Our son is a Capt. with Net Jets, flying the Hawker 800XP. They have 3 children. My father Albert Murphy had an orchestra and played many dances and parties at the Spence Officer's and Cadet Clubs. For sometime I have enjoyed the Spence web site. I would like to identify someone in one of the pictures on the Memories page. The first unidentified person in the picture, Cadet Parade Review (circa 1953) is Moultrie Mayor William B. (Willie) Withers.
Curt and Nell Wagner <email@example.com>
USA - September 15, 2007 at 6:27PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________May God bless you for all that has been done to preserve the memories of Hawthorne and Spence Air Base. My father was a flight instructor (Ted G. Williams). I believe it was the Blacksheep flight group. As a child, I remember the Easter egg hunts on the base at the Base Chapel, the swimming pool, the main gate and sometimes waiting to pick daddy up after he got off work. I definitely remember all the air shows we attended. I used to watch Bevo fly and I remember Bob McComb, as well. He and my dad were close friends as were Pat Dunnigan, Vernon Magners, Gus Sermus and Tony Weld. My dad died of a massive heart attack January 18, 2001 in Albany, Georgia. He was an air traffic controller and had been a link trainer (working in Augusta, Warner Robins Air base in Macon, also worked at RAPCON in Cochran and finally retired in Albany, Georgia). His love for flying was his world. We noticed a big change in him once he wasn’t flying anymore. I would love to hear from any of his friends and former students and am interested in receiving any and all pictures and information relating to his time at Spence. Thank you for what you are doing.
Glenda A. Klar <firstname.lastname@example.org> (813) 962-2668
16318 Caliente Place, Tampa, Florida 33624-1037 USA - August 24, 2007 at 8:51AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Ronald S. Kender, Aviation Cadet Class 58-N, at Spence April through November 1957. Are their any members of this class out there who would remember our time in Moultrie at Spence A. B.? Would like to hear from you.
Ronald S. Kender <email@example.com>
USA - July 1, 2007 at 3:35PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________What an amazing collection of Spence memorebelia! I've really enjoyed browsing through all the photos and remembering faces and names. Mama K was truly special to the cadet corps! I passed through Spence with class 55-F, and recently ran across some 35mm slides I thought you might be interested in having.
Bob Eldredge <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - June 25, 2007 at 5:47AM
(See MORE SPENCE MEMORIES at top of MEMORIES page for pictures contributed by Bob)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________In 1943, the Georgia Border Air Corps Baseball League was formed. Teams in the League were Spence Field (Moultrie, Ga.), Moody Field (Valdosta, Ga.), Bainbridge Army Air Field (Bainbridge, Ga.), Army Air Forces Advanced Flying School Napier Field (Dothan, Ala.), Thomasville Army Air Base (Thomasville, Ga.), and Marianna Army Air Field (Marianna, Florida). A lot of the men who played in the League were Minor League Players. Many played in the old Georgia-Florida and Alabama-Florida Leagues. Some of the men playing had played in some Semi-Pro Leagues. Many of the Spence Field Mustangs game were played at Spence Field. Spence Field was used as a Minor League Baseball Spring Training site for years. I am searching for former players of this Georgia Border Air Corps League. Anyone with information, please write to me. I am especially interested in the Spence Field teams.
Clint Chafin <email@example.com>
4789 Tallokas Road Moultrie, Ga. 31788 USA - June 20, 2007 at 1:43PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Great site and slide show. On the MEMORIES page “Early Instructors” picture, No. 10 of the "Unknowns" is Tommy Maxwell, one of the original Spence instructors who taught me how to fly. He was from Homer, IL and a great pilot and instructor. He flew his 25th mission in B-17's as 1st pilot before his 21st birthday and never got a scratch. I mentioned this to my three sons when each turned 16 and took out the family car.
Ray Kelly, Class 52-C <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - April 26, 2007 at 4:29PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I recently purchased a T-6G that served at Spence from May 1951 to November 1952. It's serial number is 49-3350, and it is painted in it's Spence colors as TA-350. The aircraft has had a long history of military service both in the US and in Spain, and I would love to find some pictures of it at Spence and/or hear some stories about it’s use in training there.
USA - March 29, 2007 at 3:41PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Greetings, I graduated from Spence in May 1954 class 55-B. My instructor was Dave Badgley and we both enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey during some of my training rides. Anyone know if he is still around? I have many fond memories of Spence. Bevo Howard's air shows for the new classes - President Eisenhower flying in to go hunting with Treasury Secretary Humphrey down in Thomasville - my solo in the T-6 at Tifton (I was first in my group) (last in my group to solo the PA-18 at Sunset). Major Beck for my final instrument check in the T-6. Yuck! It was a long time ago but it seems like yesterday. Thanks Bruce for letting me reminisce.
Howard J. Tyson <mst757@ cox.net>
Pensacola, FL USA - March 22, 2007 at 11:33AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce, a most enjoyable journey thru years long past! I was in 58K, Rebel 37, Instructor was Bill Peck. After a break in training, I graduated with 60C in October 1959 at Craig AFB. Retired from USAF in 1977. Col. Falcon John was our Commander at Spence while I was there. I ran into him in 1970 at the French Officers Club in Berlin. He was a brigadier and Vice-Commander of USAF Security Service.
Ed May <email@example.com>
Tucson, AZ USA - March 12, 2007 at 5:58PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Anybody from the class of 52F that would like to reminisce with me about our time at Spence?
Felix Geraets <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Netherlands - March 5, 2007 at 3:41PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Greetings - I graduated from Spence Air Base in August 1957 - Class 58H - I was one of flight instructor Carl Gibson's "Guys" - "Bearcat-79" (seven-niner). Due to a government mandated "mid-course enlistment correction", I elected to take leave of the Cadet Program, and pursue an engineering career - destiny taking me into the field of life support technologies for high altitude aircraft. The life expanding experiences that I gained at Lackland and at Spence Air Base, have served me well in the ensuing 50 years. This newly found web-site has stirred within me many fond memories of my time at Spence - our "den mother", Momma K, Bevo Howard performing square outside loops in his Buecker Jungmeister, walking the "Ramp" under the Georgia sun, and chasing a beautiful rainbow at 5000 ft. over the fields near Tifton. Bruce - thanks for the memories - a really great web-site that I will visit often - especially when I have the need to further reminisce about the "salad days" of my life.
Robert F. Wood <email@example.com>
Williamsville, New York 14221 USA - February 22, 2007 at 6:23PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Art Alderson, Class 56-J, Fireball Flight. I can't find any guys from that class in the Spence Guest Book and would like to know if there are any out there.
Art Alderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - February 18, 2007 at 9:50AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Hi - Really enjoyed your site. My dad, Charles (Al) Temple (Gopher 75) was an instructor at Spence from 1955-57. We lived on a farm west of Moultrie and hosted quite a few "squadron" parties there. I remember Pat Dunigan, Winkelman, Paschall, and Pedersen. Dad took a job as an instructor pilot with TWA in 1957 and trained pilots for Ethiopian Airlines until 1961 when he went to work for the USAID Program doing locust control and training agricultural pilots for the Ethiopian government. Finally returned to the US in 1974 as a contract operations supervisor for the Dept. of Agriculture. He passed away suddenly in 1976 while supervising an operation at Van Horn, Texas. At the time of his death, Dad had over 20,000 hours of flying time in several dozen types of aircraft. I went through the entire guestbook and saw no mention of an Army L-19 training program at Spence while we were there. I seem to remember it created some controversy. Anyone recall this? Would like to hear from any of Dad's former students or anyone we knew in the Moultrie area.
Charles Temple Jr. <email@example.com>
USA - February 11, 2007 at 5:39PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________Bingo! Wonderful show. Your revisions to the Spence Slide Show solved the problem I was experiencing. I think I am speaking for all former students when I say we can't thank you enough for putting this tribute together. Well done! I will make sure my classmates have the URL. Thanks again.
Gus Letto <firstname.lastname@example.org> Class 56-A
USA - February 7, 2007 at 1:49PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________First class - 52-C - during the Korean War Era. Our class has been having reunions for many years and the next is this May in Rapid City. Last year in Dayton and next year in San Diego. I just made contact with my Spence instructor, Joe Poole, as a consequence of information from your web site. Thank you for all the effort needed to produce these fine memories of Spence.
J. W. “Bill” Payne <email@example.com>
USA - February 5, 2007 at 10:34AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Greetings! My name is Paul Carpenter, cadet member of Class 56D. After completing pre-flight at Lackland, our class was split with half assigned to Bainbridge , GA (my assignment) and half to Spence. My best friend, John Lindsey Tennant III, was assigned to Spence and we stayed in touch through our primary training and subsequent service years. While John flew T-34/T28’s at Spence, Class 56D at Bainbridge was the final class to receive primary flight training in PA-18/AT6’s. I have read with a great deal of interest and fond memories the many messages in this wonderfully done website. I had hoped to find an equivalent one for Bainbridge too, but without luck so far. If anyone knows of one, or has any news of John Tennant (last I knew he was in Mississippi), or if any 56D classmate might remember me, I would appreciate hearing from you!
Paul Carpenter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - February 4, 2007 at 11:15AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I was a member of the 52-C class that reopened Spence during the Korean conflict. I soloed on my 21st birthday, June 22, 1951. I believe I was the first to solo in that initial group. We soloed at Thomasville, Ga.
Waldo E. Cecil <email@example.com>
USA - January 29, 2007 at 12:30PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________remarquable!!! je suis un ancien cadet de spence, classe 52 E, année 1951. mon instructeur: Joe CURRY , un type exceptionnel. 1ere promotion d'élèves des forces aériennes alliées à spence field. commandant de l'école colonel Crosby. responsable des études: capitaine Kirkpatrick. merveilleux souvenirs de "maman" KILGORE. merci pour ce site que je viens de découvrir. mais aussi, merci à mes amis américains pour cette tranche de vie qui restera pour moi la plus extraordinaire, la plus belle, la plus enthousiasmante, celle des premiers vols et des "3 points landing".
Roger L. Lenglet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
France - January 28, 2007 at 1:38AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________We own a T-6G that was attached to the 3302nd Pilot Training Squadron at Spence Air Base through the early 50's. It is serial number 49-3402. It would likely have had the fuselage side number of TA-402. I see a lot of T-6 pictures on the Spence website but none of this particular airplane. If there is any former Spence instructor, student, etc. that is familiar with this airplane and has a picture of it in your files please contact me. In general I am compiling a list of all military aircraft where a serial number can be identified. Can you help in any way.
Matt Voight <email@example.com>
USA - January 26, 2007 at 10:30AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I am looking for anyone who may have known my father Gary G. Wright. He was in 52G at Spence. I would appreciate any photo scans of him that anyone may be able to send me.
Gary Wright Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - January 21, 2007 at 9:30PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________The slide show is terrific and the background music is, well, priceless. Where but for the Spence Web Site could we walk down this very special "memory lane" together? Thanks again for all you have done and continue to do.
Mac McKinley <email@example.com> Class 55-N
Lodi, NJ USA - January 8, 2007 at 11:02AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________The slide show is great, Bruce! I really enjoyed seeing Spence in color again; all the pictures I've been looking at for the past 50 years are black and white. The background music is very fitting and got me back to the fifties. Thanks once again for all the effort you've made to construct the site. It's clearly meant a lot to many people.
Brien Levy <firstname.lastname@example.org> Son of former Spence Air Base CO Col. Robert Levy
Sumter, SC USA - December 29, 2006 at 2:22 PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________What fond memories of the greatest time of my life you have triggered with your site! I was a prior enlisted Cadet in class 59-Hotel. As Fireball 41, Jim Riley was my instructor and mentor, and a better man I am yet to meet. As a matter of fact my fondest memories of Spence were Jim, the meals, the flying, and meeting my future wife at the Cadet Club (not necessarily in that order). The Spence program was the beginning of a forty year accident free flying career and a lifetime of memories.
Don Brown <email@example.com>
Midwest City, OK USA - December 8, 2006 at 3:45PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Hi, great web sight. I graduated from Spence in class 43-I, October 1st, 1943. Went on to Central Instructors school at Randolph Field, Texas, and Instructed in BT 13's at Newport, Arkansas, until it closed in June 1942. Instructed French Cadets at Gunter Field and went to Hendricks Field, Sebring , FL for B-17 Transition. Flew B17's in Europe after the war photo remapping Europe. I still have copies of my class rosters at Spence class 43-I if anyone would like to have a copy. -- An interesting note, Moultrie and Turner Field at Albany were in different time zones, so when we went to Albany for recreation we could stay an hour longer with the local gentry, while the Turner cadets had to get back for their bedcheck, and leave the lovely ladies to dance with us.
Peter H Hicks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Salinas, CA USA - November 17, 2006 at 10:06PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I graduated from Spence in Class 56P. Mr. Lester, who is one of the finest men I have ever met, was my instructor. He not only taught me to fly but he set an example for those who chose aviation as a career. After Spence I went to Greenville MS and then to Luke AFB for gunnery school (F-84G). Then on to Turner AFB where we flew the F-84F and F-100D. From Turner I was fortunate enough to go to Misawa Japan in F-100's. While there I was the PACAF representative to the USAF Fighter Weapons School and graduated Top Gun for Class 61D. I was invited back to the USAF FWS as an instructor where I served as instructor and operational test pilot for a little over 7 years. During that time, however, I was lucky enough to have a F-4 combat tour with the 555th Fighter Squadron at Ubon Thailand. Thanks to the training that started with Mr. Lester I was able to kill two Russian MiGs in aerial combat. I did spend 2 years, 1 month, and 20 days in the Pentagon prior to being assigned as the Operations Officer and then Commander of the 4485th Test Squadron (TAC) at Eglin AFB. Retired in 1977 and been in FortWalton Beach ever since. -- That's my story and I'm sticking with it! I enjoyed reading the exploits of all the other Spence alumni so I'm just adding mine to the long list of great guys.
Everett T. Raspberry (email@example.com) Ph: (850) 651-0427
3 Marlborough Rd, Shalimar FL 32579 USA - November 14, 2006 at 4:25PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Great web site! I graduated Spence in class 57RN. You never heard of a class with 2 letter designations? Well our 57R class was split into thirds. (Some kind of an experiment trying to determine if T28 training was necessary.) One third got only the standard 20 hrs T34 training before being sent off to basic. The second third got additional, formation, night and instrument training, aerobatics may have also been included. I was in this group. The third group got the full blown T34/T28 training. My understanding of the results of this experiment were that the group with the most hours in the T33 scored the highest in the final evaluations. -- I think our flight was known as "Tiger Flight." My next door room mate at Spence was Wally Malmer. I've never heard anything about him since (Does any one know anything about him?) Don Hollis ( I think he is deceased), Al Cron and one or two others were in my training group. -- Al Cron and I followed each other throughout our AF careers; from Spence to Lorado to Moody and to the 41st FIS on Anderson AFB on the lovely island of Guam, flying the F86D. -- I'd like to hear from other members of the 57R/RN class, and remember to 'keep the speed up on final and the dirty side down!!
Art Dalke (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ph: (541) 245-0278
265 Briarwood Ln., Medford OR 97504 USA - October 30, 2006 at 4:55PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My grandfather was Spence Instructor Pilot Tom Maxwell and after discovering the website I noticed two pictures of him (INSTRUCTOR page and under FLYING TRAINING - A day one never forgets - that first solo flight). I have no pictures of him as a flight instructor because a lot were destroyed in a house fire years ago. It would mean the world to me and my mother (his daughter) if we could obtain some higher resolution pictures of him that I could copy. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks and God bless.
Gregory A. McLaney II <GMCLANEY@southernco.com> Phone 251-434-5663
West Mobile, AL USA - October 16, 2006 at 9:39AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I am organizing a trip throughout the southeastern U.S. for a group of French war pilots interested to visit the military bases from their "war" days. They are a group of about 30 people, senior citizens, and they are planning on coming September 2007. Among their list is the base in Moultrie, GA which I am assuming is Spence Air Base. Will appreciate all help in arranging an interesting visit for them. Thank you very much in advance.
Roberta Selcuker <email@example.com>
Bonjour USA Tours - October 11, 2006 at 8:59AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I am William O. Vogel, Colonel, USAF (Ret). Spence , Class 52 C "Charlie." We (52 C) were the first class of aviation cadets to begin fight training (1951) at Spence at the beginning of the Korean War. Look back with nostalgia and am grateful to a very patient civilian instructor, "Red" Lanning.
William Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Danville, CA USA - October 10, 2006 at 12:44PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My Dad was Bob Montgomery, Flight Instructor, Polecat Flight, and these were the best of times for our family. Our move to Moultrie, and Spence Field, in the early 1950’s was certainly the highlight of my life but I wouldn’t realize it until I was older. Daddy was a pilot, he loved it, he talked about it, he lived it. I loved the sky buzzing with airplanes both day and night and even the temporary loss of reception on our TV when a plane would fly over our house. We became great friends with other instructor families and we gathered and cook-out frequently. I would listen when daddy talked about flying and I would sit on the living room floor at night and look through all his flight manuals. I memorized the instrument panel of a T-28 because daddy said that was something students had to do. I loved the times when at the end of a class daddy and mother would invite the students over for supper. There were other times when daddy would come home from work with a splitting headache after spending the day at “runway control”. It was the worst of times when it all ended and Spence Field closed, because families and friends went in all directions after that. In daddy’s final years with Alzheimer’s, he couldn’t drive a car or a lawnmower, and he couldn’t remember even the most basic of things but he could tell me with crystal clear precision his flying stories from Spence Field. He would laugh and then tears would come into his eyes. It was the best of times for our family.
Bob Montgomery Jr. <email@example.com>
Moultrie, GA USA - September 7, 2006 at 3:36PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I graduated March 1, 1945, Class 45A. One third went to fighters (flew the P-40 the very next day at Selma, AL) one third went to gliders, and the one third went to B-29 flight engineers school. Its what they needed most at the time. I have enjoyed screening down the "Guestbook" stories and was looking for any class 45A contacts or reunions. Thanks for your website.
Tom Bent <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Port St. Lucie, FL 34987 - August 27, 2006 at 10:52AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My father, James Summers, was an instructor in 444th School Squadron in 1942, and appears in the Spence Field book of the same year. He was a Pilot Officer seconded by the RAF to finish training and then instruct. He enjoyed greatly his time at the base, and especially meeting the local people. Unfortunately he did not survive the war, but I now take great delight in following his movements in the US and elsewhere. Your website and the book have been most useful in providing the background to his training, and if there are any wartime records referring to him, I should be most interested to hear of them.
Tony Summers < email@example.com >
Basingstoke, Hants, England - August 1, 2006 at 9:47AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Roger Howell , 57R flying T34 & T 28 as an aviation cadet after 4 yrs AF enlisted time. Graduated from pilot trng at Greenville, MS, Jun 30, '57. Went back to MS ANG flying RF84, RF101 & the RF4C. Was on active duty several times during my 35 yrs flying. Was appointed wing commander of the 186th, MS ANG & promoted to Col in 1985. Retired in Jun 1990 as Brig Gen MS ANG. Got word of this site from Bill Doler of 57R & brought back fond memories. Loved my stay at Spence. Would like to attend the next Spence reunion if it doesn't conflict with our 50th yr 57R reunion in Oct? Was great to see classmate names & comments on your site especially my 2 room mates Bud Flowers & Lee Hill.
Roger Howell <firstname.lastname@example.org> (601) 264-5626
Hattiesburg, MS USA - July 30, 2006 at 5:20PMMy father, Ivan Stone Jr., worked as a lab technician in the Spence Field Hospital from 1942 until the base closed in 1945. He would love to hear from someone who may have worked there also. I was born in the hospital August 12, 1945. I was recently surprised by my sister and husband with a visit to the base on vacation in June of 2006. I appreciate the Spence Field web site and this "Guest Book" so very much and have shared it with my Dad. The history is wonderful and I love reading everyone's comments. I wish I could see a layout of the base at that time so I could see where the hospital was. I can't seem to find anything on the hospital. If anyone has information that will help please foreward it and I will make sure Dad gets it.
Jane Johnson <email@example.com>
171 Tabor Road, New Holland, PA 17557 USA - July 22, 2006 at 8:20PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________I am trying to locate Mike McDonald, a former Cadet who entered the following guest message on the ArmyAirForces.com web site on 6 Oct. 2003.
“Writing a story to honor two p-51B pilots lost in a training accident 24 Nov 1943 as part of 56th fighter grp, 3rd AF stationed at Bartow AAF in Florida. Desperately need photographs of the two pilots; 2nd Lt. E.R. Smith 2nd Lt. R.K. Short. They enlisted in Dec 1942 then on to Maxwell AFB, Shaw AFB, and Spence AAF in 1943 to complete advanced training. Stationed at Bartow AAF in October 1943 with only 22 hours on Mustangs before crash.”
I was stationed at Bartow at the time and have a newspaper clipping on the crash. Would like to be in contact with Mike McDonald on the story he was writing. Bartow Historial Committee is creating a display on WWII use of the Bartow AFB and I am furnishing them with many photos etc. including the newspaper writeup of this crash that they plan to use; thus my interest in further details.
A.A. Billian <Billianaa@aol.com>
Ft.Wayne IN USA - July 13, 2006 at 2:37PMMy Dad, Floyd Crow, was at Spence from 1942 - 1945. His duties there included MP, officers snack bar, cadet mess, and mail clerk. He and my mother lived in Moultrie. He attained the rank of Sergeant. Some of his best friends were Julius and Grace Bass. Julius was an MP at Spence. Dad keep diaries during his stay at Spence Field. He would like to hear from anyone from the 1942 - 1945 era at Spence. He now lives in Tecumseh, OK. We will be visiting Moultrie, GA July 31, 2006.
Bill Crow (son) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - July 11, 2006 at 12:00PM
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE CONCERNS COL. ROBERT M. LEVY, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER OF SPENCE AIR BASE (1954 - 56)
I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings but thought you'd be interested in learning of Dad's passing. He'd been ill for several years so he's certainly in a better place now. Below is his obit.
Brien Levy <email@example.com>
Sumter, SC USA - June 26,2006 at 6:37AM
________________________________________________________________________________________________I was a cadet in 56-D. Flight training was in the T-34 and T-28. I was the odd man out for an instructor at first and was assigned to Scott Fitzgerald. He was the Flight Commander of our group. After about 5 hours with him John (Jack) Oberholtzer was my instructor. Glad to have been notified about the site. Even though I have attended the 56-D reunions visiting this site brought back a flood of good memories.
Arsene J Fauquet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
3445 North 58 Street, Lincoln, NE 68507 - June 25, 2006 at 3:29PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________My grandfather was an instructor & dispatcher at Spence in the 1950's. His name was Max C. Lewis. He passed away recently, and we found the attached photo among his things. I don't have any descriptions, etc. to identify everyone, but I thought it might interest you, anyway.
James Watson <james@SOWEGALand.com>
Moultrie, GA USA - May 27, 2006 at 6:37PM
(Note: Picture of Class 61-G2 / Gopher Fight included - see MEMORIES page.)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My father, Elias Mintz, spent four years at Spence field, from 1941 to 1945. He was the supply sergeant for the Spence band. He also served as the band drum major, played drums, violin and saxophone, had a small dance band and also ran a once a week radio show. My mother joined him there for most of his service. Having both come from Brooklyn, southern Georgia in those days was quite a change for them. My dad always told me that the years he spent in the service and especially at Spence Field were the happiest of his life. I always wanted to take a trip to Moultrie with my parents, to see for myself what the town and surrounding areas were like but we never were able to make that happen. Both my parents have since died, but I still am hoping to one day make the trip with my husband. I am sending you some pictures of the band from my fathers collection. I’m wondering if you might be interested in having them for your archive and website. I believe that it would have made my dad very happy to know that he contributed to your efforts to keep this history alive.
Green Valley, AZ USA - May 19, 2006 at 12:30PM
(Note: A couple of pictures of the “Spence Field Skylarks” of WW2 have been added to the SPENCE DURING WORLD WAR 2 page.)
I'm conducting genealogy research for a friend of mine. Her father, Edward Larkin McLennan, was stationed at Spence in 1942. The only info we have is the following note: Moultrie, GA., war service appointment - engineering, Spence Field, April 1942. If this sounds familiar to anyone, I'd appreciate hearing from you. Thanks.Melissa Parker <email@example.com>
Prattville, Alabama USA - May 17, 2006 at 7:48PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I I am trying to find information about my friend and his best friend, who were stationed at Spence Field, Moultrie, GA USAAFB in WWII. They were in Class 45A, 1945, Advanced Flight Training. -- My friend is: Francis G. V.(Vernon) Jenkin, Ser. # 35061631. I understand that he did not complete his advanced training as he succumbed to appendicitis. He was still in the hospital (where he met his wife) when V-E day arrived. His wife (and nurse) was 1st Lieutenant Lillian R. Trostle. -- His friend was Lt. Albert Johnson. I assume he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, Class 45A, 1945, as well. -- I would appreciate any assistance in locating his friend, and any historical information about Mr. Jenkin as well. I wonder if they might award Mr. Jenkin his 'wings' as he is now 85 years old and only missed the last few days of his training? Perhaps someone would know to whom I may inquire about this as well? I will greatly appreciate any help your web site viewers can give me.
Dr. Neil Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org) Phone (440) 461-1123
1450 S.O.M. Center Road, Suite 26, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124 USA - March 30, 2006 at 10:12AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I am a Lieutenant General (retired) from the Peruvian Air Force, and I graduated in Class 60-E at Bainbridge AB (Georgia) T-34 and T-37 , Reese AFB (Texas) T-33A and Nellis AFB (Nevada) F-86F. Since then I was a former Chief of Staff of the Peruvian Air Force. I flew jets, being a Fighter Pilot all my career in the air force. I flew T-33, T-37, MB-339, F-80, F-86F, Mirage IIIC, Mirage V and Sukoi’s 22. Do you think it could be possible for you to help me to get in touch with my classmates of class 60-E? I’ve been looking at the Internet trying to get in touch with them without any positive results. I will appreciate it if you can help me with this matter.
LT. GNRL. (RET.) PAF CESAR GONZALO LUZZA < email@example.com >
Peru – March 9, 2006 at 10:02AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I picked the attached post card up at a flea market in Virginia about ten years ago. I was at Spence in class 62-A but washed out and ended up as an Atlas-F launch officer. -- I think you should make a little place on the Spence Web Site to memorialize "Tennis Shoe Ernie". I got a couple of salutes a day from him. Somebody must know what his name was. -- Also, I held the poles for Bevo in about August of 1960 when he did a flight for photos for Parade (I think) Magazine, the newspaper insert mag in the Georgia papers. I have no photo of that but would sure like to know if anyone does. There were only 4 or 5 of us there on the weekend when he did the flight. He went up, did one pass upright, then the ribbon cutting inverted pass and landed. Just enough for the photo shoot. None of us had a camera and I shipped out before the magazine came out. -- I retired as a major in 1975.
Ismail O. Nuri, Jr. USAF 1954-1975 <IsmailNuri@aol.com>
USA - March 3, 2006 at 7:43PM
Class 56D. Trained in the T-34 & T-28 at Spence, basic in the B-25 at Reese AFB, advanced at Randolph in the B-29. From there to SAC at DMAFB flying B-47's. After leaving the Air Force went into the reserves flying C-119's at March AFB then flew C-141's in the first Associate Reserve Wing at Norton AFB.
Eugene "Gene" A. Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Grants Pass, OR USA - February 11, 2006 at 2:49PM
I was an A/C at Spence field out of Lackland in Oct. 1957. Class 59C (Blacksheep) Ed Keyes was my instructor. Got about 40 hrs in the 34 and sie'd out due to inner ear problems. Would be interested in hearing from anyone from that era.
Gorman "Bill" Young <email@example.com>_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jupiter, FL USA - January 22, 2006 at 2:13PM
Bruce, I like your web site. I am hoping you can help me? My late father Stewart Arnold Scharmen received his training at Spence during WW 2. I think it was in 1945. Can any of your web site viewers tell me who I can contact about the WW2 Spence training rosters. He may have been trained with his cousin Loy Scharmen. My dad mentioned about he and Loy getting trained to fly gliders. I don't have his uniforms, so I don't know what squadron he was in. I do have his Spence Field ring, this at least gives me an idea where he got his training. I will appreciate any help I can get.
Gary Stewart Scharmen Sr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sterling Heights, MI USA - January 17, 2006 at 5:36PM
We were notified recently of the death of George Freeman, former instructor pilot and flight commander at Spence. George died on January 9th, '06 in New York at age 88. He was a Hawthorne employee from 1951 to 1960. After leaving Spence he flew for Corning Glass until his retirement, then continued to fly his own plane until about ten years ago. George’s picture appears on the INSTRUCTOR page in the Flight Commander section and also just above that in the Class 60-E picture.
Bruce R. Watson, Spence Webmaster <Bruce@spence-air-base.com>
Phoenix, AZ USA - January 17, 2006
I was in Class 61-F at Lackland with many who went on to Spence. I was sent to Bainbridge, then medically out...thence to Panama City, FL. After the USAF, went and finished my BA and JD at UT-Austin, then OSI duty with the reserve at Bergstrom AFB. Tyndall AFB was really OK; full of white beaches, beer and secretaries on vacation from Atlanta and Birmingham. Tough duty, but somebody had to do it. Never got saluted, not even once, since I always wore a suit, never a uniform. Possibly was the only officer in the whole dang Air Force to NEVER be saluted! Anyway, on to UT law school, practiced law for 37 years, and then a civil judge and criminal magistrate for 10 years. Married, 2 children, 2 (twin) grandsons. All in all, it hasn't been dull. Would love to hear from some of my old 61-F classmates.
Chuck Wood, AKA "Santa Claus" at Lackland. <email@example.com>
USA - December 21, 2005 at 1:27PM
Enjoyed going through your site which brought up many excellent memories! I was a Belgian 54-L student pilot in the "Fireball" Flight from end of June 1953 till graduation the same year in December. My instructor was Mr. Albright and I still have the "cup" he offered to all his students at the end of training. After the end of the training in USAF in October 1954 (Webb came after Spence, then Laughlin and gunnery at Luke AFB was the last step), I came back in Belgian Airforce, flying first F 84-G's. Later on several other bases and types of aircraft (F 84-F, Meteor, Mirage, Fouga, Alpha Jet and some others). Staff jobs as well. I kept pilot status until I retired. My rank went up to Colonel. I'm 75 now and live in a quiet little village of 360 residents, close to Namur-Belgium. All the best and warm greetings for old friends who still could remember me. If other 54-L "Fireball"s could read this message, I would be delighted to get some news from them!
Frans Boerewaart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
rue de la Gohiette 49, B-5380 HEMPTINNE, Belgium - November 30, 2005 at 3:10PM
I was at Spence in class 56-V. Walter J. "Pat" Dunnigan was our instructor. Dunnigan's students were, Paul Flanery, Carlon O'Malley, Richard Murphy and Harvey Callahan. Murphy and Callahan were 2nd Lt's. A picture was taken at Spence with all of us standing beside a T-28 for Air Force Times (See picture on Memories page). It had something to do with the Irish, and the AF. Great Memories, Great time!!!!!!!!
Paul Flanery, Gopher 32 <email@example.com>
11315 Iberia Dr., Houston, TX 77065, Ph: 281-948-5870 USA - November 20, 2005 at 12:24PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Enjoyed browsing the Spence Air Base website and seeing the old sights again. I was in 54-P and Grady Klutz was my instructor under Scott Fitzgerald (PA-18A and T-6G) . -- I well remember Ike’s visits in the Columbine and Bevo’s inspiring demos in his Jungmeister, not to mention the hilarious J-3 act I think was done by ‘Smokey’ Havelka. Does anybody know where Frank Havelka lives? Is it in Illinois? I think I just met a family link of his. -- A keen memory remains of a night (during T-6 night transition) when classmate Lt. Lockett (Cowboy) Pundt walked into the Flight Ops with a bloody lip and a T-6 throttle tightly clenched in his left fist. Incredibly, his engine had quit after take-off and instead of landing straight ahead off the base he made a turn toward the ‘sod’ where we had soloed the Cubs. Before he could roll out of his turn, his wingtip caught the ground and cartwheeled the Texan. Wings, engine and empennage snapped off but the cockpit remained intact and almost upright. He climbed out and walked in to Ops. He flew a couple days later and proceeded to graduate with the rest of us. -- There’s nothing spectacular or distinguishing about my short USAF career, except that I survived 2800 hours of C-119 time, instructed in a Reserve squadron after active duty, and resigned as Captain. I quit flying at about 9,000 hours after selling aircraft (Beech), being a corporate pilot (King-Air, DH-125), owning an air taxi company, and operating the airport for 1 year at Paris, TN. Thanks to the great start given me at Spence, I enjoyed every bit of my flying career. Notable passengers on my birds: Elvis, Hubert Humphrey, Gerald Ford, George Wallace, 3-Dog Night. -- 54-P classmate Lt. Bill Fisher stayed in and became a KC135 Wing Commander, I think at Ramey, P.R. Bill sang in the base choir at Spence. He and I had been college classmates at Tulsa, as well. -- Thanks for the great reminders of the good life.
Rod Fenn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Charlotte, NC USA Phone: 704-334-0632 x 3147 - November 3, 2005 at 9:54AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Greetings from Gopher 13 (Bob Clark, 56-V) to Gopher 10. Bruce, I am little concerned that if you still remember me after all these years it must be because Gopher 13 required a little more instruction than the other guys. Seriously, it is great to to be back in touch and the fact that I am still alive must be due, in part, to your early efforts. -- After Spence, I went to Reese and flew B-25s, then to Germany to fly SA-16s and C-47s. The C-47 mission was to fly into Russia in case of war and pick up downed SAC pilots. Thank God we never had to try that one, but it entailed long hours of very low-level flying and lots of short field work. A gooney bird with 4 JATO bottles is spectacular. Then back in California, I again flew the SA-16 and accumulated lots of water landings. I seemed to have become trapped in the older aircraft because I ended up in Korea flying recon of the DMZ in C-47s. This was done at 15,000 feet maintaining 1000 meters South of the line. This caused lots of turns which were made flat so the side-mounted camera could continue clicking. In essence a series of very big skids. I think we actually bent a couple of aircraft in the process. -- I continued in the C-47 and then picked up a bunch of time in the C-54. Mostly, I remember that everything in the Pacific seemed to be 10 or 11 hours in the C-54. Why waste all that time computing? Just fill her up and fly all day and then look around. I always liked big aircraft and I got to fly some. The C-133 (big and slow and more trouble than you can imagine). I also flew C-130s and loved every model, especially the H series which was like a hot rod after the others. My favorite aircraft was the Canadair CL-44. I flew this for two years on exchange duty with the Canadians. I also flew Convairs and even Otters along the way. -- In Viet Nam, I once again got tapped for the old Gooney and flew Vietnamese aircraft with Vietnamese crews. Many of the airplanes still had French markings in the cockpit. I put in my last five years at Eglin AFB, retired here and worked for the State of Florida for another 20 years before retiring again. Along the way I married, had three kids (one of whom is a USAF Nurse Major) and now have two grandkids living in Oregon. One graduates from High school next year. All in all that is about it. I had a good career and flew during almost all of it.
Robert M. Clark <email@example.com>
Fort Walton Beach, FL USA - October 22, 2005 at 10:27AM_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bruce, my son and grandson found your website much to my surprise and pleasure. I graduated from Spence in Class 54-P and am interested in locating other members of my class. I would appreciate hearing from any of my classmates and would like to know if anyone has a directory of 54-P members. If so, I would certainly appreciate a copy.
Jack L. Lively <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1216 West 4th Street, Coffeyville, KS 67337 USA - September 8, 2005 at 6:13PM
Came across this great site just the other day. I and five other guys graduated with the Class of 44-C, went on to P-40 transition at Tifton, GA, P-47 RTU in Richmond, VA, and joined the 79th Fighter Group on Corsica in July 1944. Our names were Angyal, Arnold, Ascenzie, Benito, Bond and Bratt. Last one is me. Two of us were POW's, one KIA, one badly wounded and returned to US, and two made it to end of war w/o a scratch. Ground support in Fighter/bombers was a bit dicey.
Albert V. Bratt Jr. <email@example.com
Lake City, FL USA - August 25, 2005 at 3:15PM
An informal Spence/Hawthorne reunion is planned for October 7-8, 2005 in Moultrie, GA at the Hampton Inn where it was held the last time we met. For details contact Vivion S. Griner, 1862 U.S. Hwy 319 South, Moultrie, Ga. 31768, Phone 229-985-3048. You must make your own reservations at the Hampton Inn if you are coming. All former Spence personnel, civilian and military, including former Student Officers, Aviation Cadets and others are welcome.
Otha H. "Skeet" Vaughan, Jr. (Class 52-G) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Huntsville, AL USA – August 21, 2005 at 9:34PM
I stumbled upon the Spence Air Base site much by accident, while doing some research for my family tree. Any Spence interests me and your site was a real surprise. My father trained to be a bombardier during WW II, but he never told me about an air base with the family surname. I will certainly try to look up the namesake, Lt. Thomas Lewis Spence. Congratulations on putting together a topnotch website.
Larry D. Spence <email@example.com>
Poinciana, FL USA - July 19, 2005 at 3:02PM
Nice site. It brought back lots of memories. I was in Class 56-A. I think we were the first class to use the T-34/T-28 versus the old Cub/T-6. You are right. The main recollection was of Mama K. She fixed me up with several dates with local girls and nobody could complain about the food. The other memory was of the tour path. I was always in trouble; hardly ever went a weekend without being on the tour path. I went on to Vance AFB for basic training in B-25s and then on to SAC, flying B-47s for eight years and ended up with 24 years in the Air Force.
Augustine R. 'Gus' Letto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Albuquerque, NM USA - July 13, 2005 at 9:18AM
My name is Arthur Koshak. I was in Pilot Class 55K and have many fond memories of Spence. My instructor there was Robert Montgomery and would like to get information on him. I graduated from Pilot Training at Vance AFB, OK in March 1955 and stayed in until retirement in June, 1974. What a great website!
Arthur Koshak (<email@example.com>
Park Falls, WI USA - July 1, 2005 at 1:32PM
My name is Andrew Spence, age 16, and since hearing about Spence Air Base I've been trying to find out more about it. My family has its roots in Georgia and the name of the base caught my eye. As someone who would like to get into flying school at some point in my life, the finding that Spence is once again involved in Air Force pilot training is like a gold nugget found in a rocky field. Thanks a lot for posting this site!
Andrew Spence <HELMETTESTER@cinci.rr.com>
Ohio USA - June 17, 2005 at 1:55PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Dick Seely <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My name is Richard Seely and I was a member of the Aviation Cadet Class of 57-I. We graduated in August of 1956 -- my goodness that was almost 50 years ago! I remember the good food and the wonderful flying. Thanks for the very nice web site and the wonderful memories.
USA - June 4, 2005 at 3:57PM
The Spence website is a long step back in time, Bruce, and it's obvious that it means a lot to many people. I wish to add my deepest appreciation for what you've done for all of us who lived in the Spence/Moultrie community during that great era. I lived on Spence for two of the best years of my childhood. My dad, Bob Levy, was CO from '54 to '56 and he and my mom, Eileen, have never forgotten the wonderful people they knew there -- both on base and in town. I recall well many of their civilian friends, some of whom had children my age (nine to eleven). I remember being paid ten cents a pound for picking cotton on the Odom and Funderburk farms. I attended Central Elementary and have been in touch with a few of my classmates. Robby Lenihan and Lee Hackney -- are you still in Moultrie? After Spence, my dad spent almost four years in Bangkok and his last assignment there was as chief of the Air Force section, JUSMAG. He then spent several years at the Pentagon in the Southeast Asia section, then to Evereaux-Fauville, France, for a year and a couple of years in Wiesbaden, Germany. He had a wing at Lockbourne AFB, OH, and his final assignment was as Director of Ops for Ninth Air Force, Shaw AFB, SC. He retired in '70 and he and Mom still live in Sumter. As does everyone who was at Spence in the fifties, I remember very fondly Mama K, Bevo Howard (who took me for a thrilling plane ride), and Ike and Mamie's visits. Among many other adults, I also remember Bill and Mary Peck and Joe Buldoc (sp) who was a good diver and used to bounce off his butt on the high dive. Paul McComb was the pool lifeguard. Among my friends on base I remember very fondly Phyllis Savoy, Mike Ziegler, Nancy Palmer, and David and Tommy Holcomb, with whom my brother, Geoff, and I spent many great days playing baseball. I'd sure like to hear from them. Thank you again, Bruce.
Brien Levy <email@example.com>
Columbia, SC USA - May 31, 2005 at 1:44PM
I am Yves Leroy living in the south of France. I was a French student in Class 53-C at Spence Field, then went to Bryan Field, Texas where I graduated on the F84. Next I went for gunnery training to Luke Field, Arizona. Then I went back to France in a sqadron at Reims on F84’s. After a year I became a Student Instructor, then Instructor in the French Airforce on T33’s. In 1953 they were asking for volunteers to go to helicopter training ... which I did. After graduating I was sent to fly for the International Commission in Laos at the China frontier. In 1958 I went to Algeria and during that time I passed the Plane & Helicopter Commercial License. At the end of 1959 I found a job with Bristow Helicopters and I stayed with that Company until I retired at the end of 1985. I flew in many countries .... Bolivia, India, Rhodesia, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia and so on .... Bell 47, Sykorsky 55 & 58 (piston engine & turbine) S205, S212, S206, Hillers (many types) and I finshed in the S61. When I was in Bolivia In the jungle I was also flying the DH Beaver. I did a lot of different types of works. I enjoyed very much my stay in the states and maybe somebody will remember me, then they can contact me. I have many good memories. Amities to All.
Yves Leroy <Vyorell@aol.com>
Southern France - April 7, 2005 at 6:15AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Class 59-D. (Fireball 43) Just found the site. Great work. Brings back fond memories. Since I married a Moultrie girl, I visit Spence fairly frequently.
William L. "Bill" Jowers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Columbia, SC USA - April 5, 2005 at 6:01AM
Found the web-site thru the 61-D site several months ago and enjoy checking the visitors page especially when I see notes from some former classmates. I read Gale Webb's note (3/20/03) with interest. As I remember, Gale and I were the last 2 members of our flight to finish the T-28 phase on just about the last day of flying. We both had about an hour left to do and the weather was pretty marginal. I went up toward Tifton and spent most of the time flying a holding pattern just at the base of the cloud deck. I never saw Gale until I headed back to Spence to land. The note from Bobby Smith (4/18/03) caused me to look thru some pictures from that time and I found one I had taken when we were at Daytona Beach on Easter weekend in 1960. It shows Smitty, Mike Connaughton, and Fran Hublou on the beach chatting up a young lady identified as Dot. George Golding (7/8/04) and I were in Bravo 1 at Lackland, then Spence, and Vance, where I left the program. I met Bill Hayes (2/17/05), one of the all around good guys, at Lackland. Good site for stirring up memories! I still have my solo cap.
Jim Goodsell, Gopher 22 <JJimrg@aol.com>
Richfield, OH USA - April 2, 2005 at 11:54AM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________Class 55K, Spence AB, Moultrie, Ga., was my introduction to flying, first in the Piper PA-18 and then the T-6. I felt that my instructor never let me land the PA-18, and that he was so heavy on the controls he never realized all the bad landings he charged as mine were really his. Mr. A.L. Grimmett, Flight Commander (Flight B-1) had to step in around 10-11 hours as my instructors other students had soloed in the 7-8 hour range. While always mild mannered off the flight line, Mr. Grimmett was most authoritarian once you were in the "washing machine" - step one out of the pilot training program. He informed me in no uncertain terms that both my ground and in-flight procedures required much additional work. His critique continued throughout the flight UNTIL final approach; when he turned mute and placed both hands on my shoulders from the rear seat. It suddenly dawned on me that I was about to make what I felt was my FIRST unassisted landing in a PA-18. It was a GREASE job and the only way I detected that I was on the ground was rising and falling on the rough ground. Immediately, the critique began anew! Same song, second verse until turning onto final approach when the back seat went mute, again. A second GREASE job landing and Mr. Grimmett instructed me to pull over and let him out. --- It was the same story with the T-6 landings, and Mr. Grimmett, again. This time too he had many "suggestions" for improvement of my flying ability and repeated much the same verbiage as in the PA-18. Again, as in the PA-18, I felt these were my FIRST unassisted landings in the T-6 and Mr. Grimmett soloed me after two GREASE jobs. --- It was only after completing T-28 training and well into the T-33 did I get a clue to my possible PA-18 & T-6 landing problems with my Primary instructor. I flew first period and another student flew second period with 1/Lt Truxal. When 1/Lt Truxal returned to the instructors desk and his students, he slammed his helmet on the concrete floor and yelled: "I'll be damned if I will ever fly you and Swift the same day ever again! Swift wants to land the plane 50 ft. under the runway and you want to land the plane 50 ft. above the runway. I can't stand it". He never flew with both of us on the same day again, and I learned to start my round out high enough to allow for a smooth transition to a landing attitude before touchdown. --- After graduation from Webb AFB, Big Spring, Texas, Mar 13, 1955, there was no need for fighter pilots and I was sent to C.A.A. Air Traffic Control school, Okla. City, OK., followed by orders to Roswell AFB, Roswell, N.M.; followed by orders in Jan. 1956 to Toul-Rosieres AB, France and a month later to Hahn AB, Germany, on the Mosel River. While with AACS 2nd Mob., I was sent to the 1957 Int'l Air Show, Paris, France. January 1958, I was out of the Air Force and back at Georgia Tech as a senior, and graduated a year later. Retired from the Air Force Reserves with twenty years and now live in Hendersonville, N.C. I am currently the Immediate Past-President of the Military Officers Association of America N.C. Council of Chapters. --- Spence was the brightest and MOST enjoyable of my life's experiences and will always remain so and it is not my intention for this to appear negative. In spite of my comments above my Primary instructor at Spence (Robert Montgomery) was a great instructor as compared to all the other flying instructors to whom I was exposed. Spence AB and all the cadets are forever fresh in my mind, as is Mr. Grimmett. He is responsible for sending me to Webb AFB and my being a fighter pilot.
Richard S. Swift <email@example.com>
Hendersonville, NC USA - March 29, 2005 at 6:03PM
Congratulations for the superb site covering Spence Air Base. I was there, as a French Aviation Cadet, a very long time ago. I was one of “those crazy Frenchmen” in Class 54-L. I started in San Antonio, nearly 3 months without flying, then on to Spence for training in the PA-18 and T-6. My instructor was Vernon Magners. After Spence it was Webb AFB (Big Springs,Texas) for training in the T-28. It was there that I had my wings clipped - I was eliminated at the final test in close formation. This was very hard to live with, believe me. Nevertheless I have had a good career, on the ground, in the optical business. At Spence I roomed with a Belgian Cadet and a US Cadet Major, Roger Mathiasen, who was like a big brother (nearly a mother) to us. As I recall, his older brother had been a WW2 bomber pilot. Roger made a career of the USAF where he was a highly decorated fighter pilot, flying, among others, the F-86, F-100, F-105, F-111 and F-5. He was based in West Germany for fours years during the Cold War and in Thailand during the Viet Nam War where he flew over 100 F-105 missions over North Viet Nam. He received the Silver Star and eleven Air Medals. He later returned to Thailand a second time, flying additional missions, in the F-111. He graduated from both the Armed Forces Staff College and the US Army War College and held several important administrative positions with the USAF. He retired as a bird Colonel in 1979, then continued to fly professionally as a civilian for another 15 years. Unfortunately he passed away, prematurely, in September 2000. Colonel Roger Mathiasen was a great man, as you would say in english “A gentleman”, and he was my best friend.
Bernard Lemarchand, Class 54-L
Bihorel-Rouen, France - March 21, 2005 at 3:14AM
I am trying to find out information about Spence Field to see if a class ring found by my late mother-in-law in downtown Moultrie might belong to one of the cadets. The ring is from "Air Corps Advanced Flying School, U. S. Army, Class of 1942". The initials RMC 42-B are engraved inside the ring. If you have any information that might be helpful, would you please provide that to me. I would like to return the ring to the owner if possible.
C. F. Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Moultrie, GA USA - March 17, 2005 at 9:25AM
(March 2005) After more than 46 years, I finally had an opportunity to return to Spence Field . I always wanted to go back one more time, there was an impelling need. It certainly is not the airbase I so fondly remember. In fact it provided a high and a low at the same time, whatever that might be. There is very little difficulty in navigating the old airbase, the roads are pretty much the same. The guard gates are gone but the entrance is still there. The major landmarks are the water tower and the control tower. The water tower no longer sports its red and white checkerboard pattern that we all looked for to let us know we were at the right place to land. The three large hangars adjacent to the old ramp area are still there as well. On another note, I recently had an opportunity to visit the Udvar-Hazy facility at Dulles and see Bevo Howard's Bucher Jungmeister in its inverted position. That is not the attitude that I remember from my days at Spence - rather I remember its three point stance on the flight-line in front of one of the large hangars when taxiing in from a training flight. The access to the old flight-line is unrestricted. You are able to drive into areas that are either close to or onto runways we used to use. I think my wife was amused as I drove our car onto closed runway 4/22 and lined up on the centerline marker for my take-off roll. The take-off roll was quickly aborted by obstacles as light poles and buildings were everywhere. At near-by active runway 14/32, I observed two small control towers (two stories) that I believe have something to do with USAF flight operations from Moody AFB. I would be interested in knowing more about auxiliary operations at Spence - I was there on a Saturday and did not expect to see any activity. Returning to Carter Avenue and the former Aviation Cadet area, nothing remains above ground level. Away from the flight-line, I could identify almost no other structures from the 1950s. I was particularly interested in the old golf course as I recall driving the first green (300+ as I recall) on one occasion. The golf course is gone and is the home of some sort of correctional institution. It is a period of time during my life that I will never forget.
Ray Sack, Class 60-E < email@example.com >
Aiken County, SC USA - March 15, 2005 at 7:12 PM
Thanks for a great web site. But my father, Henry J. Maddox is missing. I have his Vertigo Class Books from Classes 53-G, 54-H, 55-Q & 56-G and have attached a photo that I scanned from 55-Q. I would really appreciate it if you could add his picture to the Instructor page. By all accounts, his students thought a lot of him. He was killed in a car accident near Camilla, GA on September 18, 1955.
Grant Maddox <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fitzgerald, GA USA - March 14, 2005 at 9:46AM
Just browsed your website. Very enjoyable. My father, Teddy Dunn, was an instructor at Spence from 1954 until closing. Have good memories of Spence. Attended several recent reunions and enjoyed many stories about Spence. My father died Dec. 7, 2004.
William "Buster" Dunn <email@example.com>
Moultrie, GA USA - March 13, 2005 at 1:45PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________It is so nice to see a web-site dedicated to Spence Air Base. It brings to life a part of my daddy's life that I only heard about because I was so young. Thank you for the fine job you are doing. It makes me very proud. I found my daddy's picture on the website and cried. He's been dead 20 years now but it still brings tears to my eyes. I was born in 1950's while he was an instructor pilot at Spence. I would love to hear from some of the men he trained. That would be so great!
Kathryn Gray Wright, daughter of Henry C. Gray, Instructor Pilot/Spence Air Base <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - March 11, 2005 at 2:01PM
If you look at the 'Hawthorne' page of
this Spence site you will find, alongside the picture
of Bevo Howard that of Bert Harsh, Vice President and
General Manager of the company. Bert
stayed on in Moultrie when the Hawthorne school closed
and became a pillar of the community, the local
library and of the Presbyterian church there. I
much regret that I heard from Mrs. Doris Harsh that
Bert passed away at the age of 87 at the Colquitt
Regional Medical Center on Saturday 26 February
2005. Bert and Doris had been very kind to my
wife and to me when we visited them in Moultrie a
little while ago and I felt I owed it to them to let
the many students and staff at Spence who read this
site know of his passing. He was a good, kind
and friendly man; we shall miss him.
Greetings to all, I was an Aviation Cadet member of Class 61-F, the first class to train in T-37's at Spence and the next-to-last Aviation Cadet class. I remember how wonderful it was to fly brand spanking new T-37-B's right out of the Cessna factory. Flew T-33's in basic and KC-97's on active duty. My next active duty tour was with United Airlines for 32+ years. Ended my UAL career flying the 747-400 around the Pacific. UAL is trying to take away our pensions and I have downsized to an Aeronca 7AC conversion. You can see photos of my latest plane and see many photos of the devastation to Punta Gorda Airport during Hurricane Charley on Fri, 13th, 2004 at the following website. - - https://home.comcast.net/~ddugas11/champ/champ.htm
Don Dugas <email@example.com>
Punta Gorda, FL USA - March 4, 2005 at 7:58PM
My name is William F. Kerschner [formerly spelled Koerschner]. I was an aviation cadet at Spence from Nov. 1956 until June 1957 as a member of class 58-E. Our class was held back for two weeks because of south Georgia weather [morning fog pumped in by Pogo] and we went on to Basic as class 58-F. I graduated and got my pilot wings on 18 Jan 1958 at Greenville AFB Mississippi. Retired from the Wis. Air National Guard in Jan 1976 as Lt. Col. I flew for Delta Air Lines from Nov. 1964 until Feb. 1997 [over 32 years].
Capt. William [Bill] F. Kerschner, MD-11, PDX, Delta Air lines [Retired] <firstname.lastname@example.org>
15200 Hidden Glen Ct., Elm Grove, WI 53122-2007, tel. 262.784.5618 - March 1, 2005 at 2:35PM
As a fledgling aspiring pilot from the Netherlands, I came to Spence AFB in Sep 51 till March 52 as a member of aviation cadet class 52F. I remember the weekend party's in the cadet club and the nice lady's in the restaurant on the base. Also the nice dances we had with the local young women. Everybody was very friendly. I have great memories of my time in Moultrie. After flying the T6 at Spence, I went on to Craig AFB to train on the P51, where we got our wings. Then on to Luke AFB for gunnery training. I flew the T33 and F84G in the RDAF til the end of 1956. Wonderful site, I will check back often to see if there are any entries of MAYBE somebody I remember. My instructor at Spence was Les Williams.
Felix Geraets <email@example.com>
Syracuse, NY USA - February 18, 2005 at 5:16PM
Great web site - it took me on a time machine. I flew the last T-28 flight at Spence as part of 61 Delta - all T-37's after that.
Bill Hayes, <BILLHAYES555@aol.com>
2700 NE 51st Street, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33308 USA - February 17, 2005 at 3:01 PM
Cadet in 58 E. Retired from AF 1979. Excellent site. Thanks to you for the site and thanks to all supported us at Spence. Special thanks to my instructor, Jack Fletcher.
Robert E. Fielding <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Auburn, IL USA - February 12, 2005 at 12:14PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________As a retired "Navy" Pilot that had basic training in N2S Stearman's, Intermediate in SN-J Texans, and finished in SB-D Douglas Dauntless Dive Bombers and then into F4U Corsair Fighter Aircraft in WW II, then served in three wars to retire in 1972. From the open cockpit of the Stearman to the early jet squadrons to supersonic flight --- is quite a stretch. Along with 71 missions in Korea off the USS Essex CV-9 in the F2H-2 Banshee. Spence Field is a fine rememberance for the Spence name. I'm proud to add my comments.
Wayne J. Spence, Lcdr. USNR (Ret.) <WSpence106@aol.com>
Willow Springs, MO USA - February 8, 2005 at 10:03AM
Thanks for the site. Brings back memories of childhood. Father, Jim Lewis, served as Air Traffic Controller until base closed. Fond rememberances of the picnics, Bevo's air shows, parades, etc. Does anyone remember riding on "Wendy Windham's" fire truck? Still have home movies of a trip to Dairy Queen. Have copies of Spence story my father gave me. Will locate and try to scan pictures to send to those who request. Anyone remember Billy Wells and his sister. Mickey McDill and his sister. And of course, Bevo Jr, his sister and brother Demi.
James R. Lewis Jr (Jim) <email@example.com>
176 Davenport Road Asheville, NC 28806, 828-252-3475, fax 828-251-1559 - January 25, 2005 at 8:44PM
Yes, you have definitely done a great job on putting Spence memories back in my mind. I was a cadet, member of the supposedly "last class" of cadets, at Spence in Class 61F. George Biggerstaff was my instructor. He was a tall, ruddy, red headed Georgia red neck who always carried a benji stick (split bamboo wrapped with surgical tape) which he frequently used from the back seat of the T-34 to hit his errant pilot on the head when he wasn't doing as he was told. Spence was a great combination of the community and military working together in an environment of mutual support. The fond memories I have always generates a broad smile and quiet peacefulness to mind.
John Puckropp <ColPuck@charter.net>
USA - January 17, 2005 at 11:54AM
Wonderful website. Thank You. H. Gordon Sheppard (A/C Ol Shep) Class 59-D. I was priviledged to be in Gopher Flight with instructor Henry "Hank" Caudill, my call sign Gopher 77 and the closest thing to Heaven a guy who loved airplanes could ever attain. I do not think any of us will forget what we learned with the best instructors on this planet. On to Greenville, Miss and the T-33. Graduated Nov. 58. Luke F-84F. Va ANG and the F-86H. Del ANG. 30 years EAL Capt A-300. Bevo Howard was my Hero -- still is in my heart. Anybody out there? Drop a line ..
Gordon Sheppard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Beautiful Lake Oconee, GA USA - January 13, 2005 at 3:08PM
My name is George R. Partridge, Air Force Pilot Class 56-V. I entered the Aviation Cadet Program from the Air Force enlisted ranks as Airman First Class. Began Preflight at Lackland (as most did) June 55. Spence AB for Primary Sep 55 to Apr 56. Then Bryan AFB, Bryan, TX Apr 56 to Sep 56. Advanced training at Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA in the F-94C. Then to New Castle County Airport, Wilmington, DE Feb 57 where I was assigned to my old squadron in which I had been an F-94C crew chief for two years. I flew my old F-94C #531 that I had crewed from its initial assignment to the squadron - brand new! My old crew chief buddies didn't try to "smoke" me on the preflights! Vietnam: three temporary duty tours for 13 months cumulative: 1961 as a Tactical Air Command mobile radar controller, Tan San Nhut AB, Saigon; 1965 as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) for the US First Infantry Division, Lai Khe (Ben Cat); and 1972 as Fighter Duty Officer, Tactical Air Control Center (TACC), Tan San Nhut. Did 33+ years then retired. Worked 10 years as job placement specialist for the mentally disabled in a local center. Bruce, this is a fantastic web site! Thanks. Lots of work! Very well done!
George R. Partridge (email@example.com)
Prattville, AL USA - December 22, 2004 at 7:58PM
We learned of this website from our 4 1/2 year old granddaughter Leah's "other" Grandaddy who was at Spence a couple of years after my husband, Charles J. "Chuck" Lievrouw, who was there in 1952 in Class 53-D. He graduated from Enid OK in 53 in multi engines. The other Grandaddy is Bob Johnson who was a student officer in 56-V I think. We love the web site, I printed most everything there for Chuck to read - he doesn't use the computer so I get info for him. Thanks for the Spence Site, it really brings back memories. I am from Albany Georgia and we have been married 52+ years.
Eloise (Mrs. Chuck Lievrouw) (ELievrouw@aol.com)
Fort Worth, TX USA - December 20, 2004 at 3:40PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Jack Francisco and was in Class 56-V at Spence. What a beautiful job you have done with this site!! I flew the T-34 and T-28 there and then on to the T-33 at Bryan AB, TX. Went to gunnery school in the F-84F at Luke then on the a short checkout in the F-100A at Nellis. Then over to France and Germany for four years in F-86H and F-100D. Returned to Eglin and participated in the Cat IV test for the F-105D and then to Seymour Johnson. Then to Kadena for three and one half years in the F-105 and was back and forth to Thailand for action in North Vietnam. Back to Seymour for staff job then got back in the 105 and back to Thailand. Rotated to McConnell and finished the 105 flying when we gave our aircraft to the Guard and Reserve after which all pilots were scattered to the wind and I ended up at Davis Monthan flying A-7Ds. Retired from the AF there and immediately went to work for Learjet doing flight test and production test work for them for 22 years and then retired from full time work with them. Still doing contract work for Learjet and enjoying it immensely. Keep up the great work on the site. Sure brings back a lot of good memories.
Jack Francisco (firstname.lastname@example.org)
USA - December 17, 2004 at 10:03AM
I saved the website as a favorite some time ago but haven’t visited in over a year or more -- what a great job you’ve done. I married a Moultrie girl and just last night she called [she’s down in Moultrie helping her Mom get her strength back after a severe illness] to read me the article from the Moultrie Observer about Moody using Spence again as an auxiliary field -- that prompted me to visit the site again. Browsed thru the guest book but didn’t see any 60-H’s. I left Spence in Nov 59 and went on to Greenville for T-33’s but had the misfortune to pass out flying my transition checkride -- we were between wars and the USAF wasn’t short of pilots or Officer Candidates so I returned to civilian life -- but never had any regrets about my 15 months in the Cadet Program -- it sure got me grown up in a hurry -- and I thought I had the best instructor in the school -- Percy C. Costner. During one of our many visits back to Moultrie after we were married I took my son and daughter out to Spence and showed them my old barracks bldg and my room -- as I remember they weren’t impressed -- of course that’s all gone now -- nothing but really great memories. My son, much to my initial surprise, chose the military as his career -- he’s now a Army Signal Corp LTC posted at Ft Hood, TX. We are certainly proud.
Ed Morris (email@example.com)
Charlotte, NC USA - December 2, 2004 at 5:12PM
I had to miss the 2004 reunion this year. I'm sorry to hear that George Goulette, the former Director of Academic Training throughout all of the years at Spence Air Base from the beginning in 1951 to 1960 died at the age of 88 in Boulder, Colorado on October 13 , 2003. Then since the reunion I received a call that Scott Fitzgerald died, apparently in Moultrie, in either October or November of this year. We all remember Scott as one of the pioneer pilots who was with Spence from the beginning in 1951.
Frank C. Madill, former Asst. Dir. of Academic Training (1951-1960) (FMPOW6672@aol.com)
USA - October 23, 2004 at 12:47PM
I first came to Spence Field as a student pilot in a T-37 in 1972. Spence Field was the primary auxiliary field where T-37 students from Moody Air Force Base learned how to fly the traffic pattern and do touch-and-go landings. I spent many hours, first as a student and then as a T-37 instructor pilot, flying initial, the break, inside downwind, the final turn, final, landing, take off, and the much desired closed pattern. I also spent many hours in the runway supervisory unit (RSU) observing and controlling aircraft in the pattern. My most memorable event at Spence Field occurred the day one of my fellow instructors gave his Iranian student a go at the pattern. In the normally crowded traffic pattern at Moody, the instructor could not allow the student to deviate too far from the required flight pattern and frequently directed him to “start your turn now” or “tighten it up a little.” The instructor knew the student could not fly the pattern without input from the instructor, but the student’s pride blinded him to that fact. The student insisted he was ready to fly solo. Finally, the instructor arranged to be scheduled to fly with his student at a time when no other aircraft would be at Spence Field, and I and another instructor from the same flight would be in the RSU. When Kent 23, the call sign of the Iranian student and his instructor, checked in we grabbed our microphones and got ready for the show. On his first pass down initial, the instructor kept quiet and the student never broke for downwind. He simply kept going straight and disappeared into the distance. Several minutes later, Kent 23 reported initial once again. This time the T-37 broke sharply at about midfield. Unfortunately, the turn continued for a full 270 degrees until the airplane was headed perpendicular to the runway. He again disappeared into the distance. … Several minutes later, Kent 23 reported initial for the third time. The break for downwind was more like the usual 180 degrees and the gear and flaps were even lowered. But instead of descending in the final turn, Kent 23 maintained level flight and rolled out on final about 1,000 feet above the ground. Following several more attempts in which Kent 23 never got closer than 800 feet from the threshold of the runway, he departed and we in the RSU relaxed. The Iranian student’s instructor told us the debrief with his student was much different after that flight. From then on, the student accepted his instructor’s assessment with both interest and humility.
Tom Powell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - October 27, 2004 at 1:30PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________My father W.E. Stump, was a Military Police Guard of German POW's at Spence Field early in WWII. I thinkhis unit was the 237th Military Police Company. He went on to serve in the Pacific until 1946 and then was a First Sgt. at the US Disciplinary Barracks at Greenhaven, NY. His service at Spence is what brought me to this page. Great Site.
Bruce Stump <email@example.com>
Pittsfield, MA USA - October 4, 2004 at 4:41PM
__________________________________________________________________________________________________My name is Clint Chafin and I am looking for photos of the Spence Field Baseball teams. If anyone has any items relating to the Spence Field teams, please write to me. Also, if anyone has any information or photos of any of the old Minor League Baseball teams that used to have Spring Training at Spence Field, please write. God Bless,
Clint Chafin <Clint.firstname.lastname@example.org>
4789 Tallokas Rd, Moultrie, GA 31788 USA - September 20, 2004 at 6:17AM
Alan Upshaw <email@example.com>
Lawwrenceville, GA USA - September 14, 2004 at 4:43AM
__________________________________________________________________________________________________A wonderful site I found while surfing the web and one to be justly proud of. Very interesting reading for anyone interested in Air Force life. A good source of history and memories of a fond time in my younger life. I was not stationed at Spence but I served at Moody AFB just a few miles down the road at Valdosta. Your site is much appreciated. Congratulations on a job well done.
I was an Aviation Cadet at Spence, Class of 44-B, and graduated 8 Feb. 1944. Thoroughly enjoyed flying the AT-6 and subsequent Primary Gunnery for 2 weeks while TDY at Field 7, Eglin. Also got a week TDY at Tifton for checkout in the P-40. What an adventure. My wife joined me Sat. 17 December 1943 and my son was born 17 Sept 1944. I went on to fly P-40, P-47, P-51 in WW II but that was the end of my career as a Fighter Pilot. Later flew B-29, B-47, B-52 and C-124. Retired as L/Col in May 1968.
L/C Ray L. Shewfelt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Orange City, FL USA - September 13, 2004 at 4:02PM
Antoine Foret <email@example.com>Raceland, LA USA - August 30, 2004 at 10:01AM
__________________________________________________________________________________________________Hi, Great site!! I was in Aviation Cadet class 60-G, Rebel 17.
Kent Sawyer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - August 22, 2004 at 11:02AM
__________________________________________________________________________________________________As noted in an earlier post from my sister Linda, our dad, Ashby Grimmett, Instructor and Flight Commander at Spence 1951-57, died at age 88 this January 7th. My memories of Spence are not as "pleasant" as my sisters. I was young and shy, born in 1954, and remember standing at the fence of the day-care center looking for mama who had left me there, for what seemed forever, while she was playing bridge. She must have honed her bridge skills well as she still plays a couple of times a week to this day. I remember that dad could never get me into one of the simulators. I was not happy about being shut up in a gyrating box. He never showed discouragement or made me feel bad about that. Needless to say, I have pursued a different profession - a medical profession. I do remember the field day crash simulations and how cool the foam trucks were. I have pictures of me at Spence in our "fly-boy" red convertible. I have learned that one of the most noble things one can accomplish in life is to teach a skill that can allow someone to succeed in life. Dad apparently had high expectations of his students, which for flying was a matter of life and death. We miss him, but know his impact on other folks can live on.
Ash Grimmett (Jr.) <AGrimmett@comcast.net>
Savannah, GA USA - August 20, 2004 at 2:20PM
_________________________________________________________________________________________________I was a high school senior (young lady) when Spence Field was set up as a flight school. A bus from the base would pick up the young ladies to go to the dances at Spence Field. My father would not allow me to date but I managed to sneak out a few Friday nights and the "jitterbug" was so popular! I was a very good dancer and had the time of my life on these nights which were oh so innocent! I remember only one name of a young flight student and I secretly dated him a few times. Nothing serious but I thought he was such a gentleman and I was very flattered that he chose to be a friend. His name was Jimmy Angel and he was such a nice young man! I went on to college but deep in my heart there was always the memory I shared with this lad. He was very lonely and frankly so was I and since I had such a strict father we pretty much got along very well. I still remember his youthful face and his gentlemanly manners. I go back to Moultrie for my class reunions and feel very nostalgic when we pass by Spence Field. I HOPE that all those fine young men made it through the war and returned to their loved ones.
Betty (Sampley) Jones <Bjones2881@aol.com>
USA - August 2, 2004 at 2:06PM
_______________________________________________________________________________________________SPENCE REUNION. The Spence-Hawthorne Association will hold another reunion on October 8–9, 2004 in Moultrie, GA at the Hampton Inn where it was held the last time we met. For details contact Vivion S. Griner, 1856 U.S. Hwy 319 South, Moultrie, Ga. 31768, Phone 229-985-3048. You must make your own reservations at the Hampton Inn if you are coming. All former Spence personnel, civilian and military, including former Student Officers, Aviation Cadets and others are welcome.
Otha H. "Skeet" Vaughan, Jr. (Class 52-G)<email@example.com>
Huntsville, AL USA – July 29, 2004 at 2:09PM
________________________________________________________________________________________________My father trained at Spence in 1958 as a Vietnamese Air Force flight student. See his US training certificates at http://www.qxpham.com/pdf/hoa.ustraining.certs.pdf. I am writing a father-son memoir about duty, fate and the aftermath of Vietnam, due out in the Spring of 2005, http://www.asenseofduty.com.
Quang X. Pham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - July 10, 2004 at 9:07AM
Found your excellent site through the
61-D site. I was an Aviation Cadet and flew the
T-34 and the T-28, call sign Fireball 69. I have
great memories of Spence and the people there. I
went to Vance to complete pilot training and receive
my commission. I spent 27 years in the Air Force
and flew 23 different planes during my career. I
flew 0-1E's, C-130A's and B-52D/G's in Vietnam.
Of my 8,000 hours about 4,800 were in the various
models (A to G) of the B-52. My best assignment
was as a SAC Wing Commander flying B-52G's and
KC-135's. I will always remember my instructor
Mr. R. D. White. He saved me from washing out
and taught me so much.
Class 61-F. Washed out by T-37 mid-phase check. Went to Harlingen AFB for nav training. Graduated Aug. After Nav school went to RIO school (F-89s) at James Connelly then was sent to McClellan to fly the C-121 radar "Connies". Went to Yokota, AB in '66 flying RC-130s. My wife left me and our two girls in '68. Transferred to Forbes, Topeka, KS in '69, still in C-130s. Passed over for Major and released in '73. Became a Reserve Bum (AKA a "Professional Reservist"). Flew C-130A out of Richards-Gebaur AFB, MO for a year then arranged a transfer to C-5 at Travis. Met an AF nurse (Pat) and married her in '77. '84 sees navs being phased out of C-5 by triple inertial so I arranged a transfer to the back seat of F-4s at Tinker. Becoming a Reserve Bum paid off as I was able to accumulate enough active duty days to be able to get a full 20 year active duty retirement as a LtC in '88. Pat got out of the AF in '76 and worked as a County Public Health Nurse until she retired in '00. Since then we travel as often as we can and we've been enjoying retired life. We live in Vacaville, CA just 10 miles from Travis AFB. Went back to Moultrie a few years ago - what a change. Website sure brings back memories. Thanks.
Buck Buchanan <PhantomB2@aol.com> 330 Vine St., Vacaville, CA 95688-8703, (707) 446-BUCK (2825) - June 21, 2004 at 3:57PM
I was born on Spence Air Base on
September 8, 1944. My Father, John H. Fallat,
was a Staff Sergeant stationed there before going to
Algeria. I am returning to Moultrie and Spence
Field after 60 years in late August. My Father
passed away in May 1997 in Palm Springs,
California. I will miss not being able to share
this experience with him. If anyone has any
knowledge of my Father or can share anything with me,
about Spence Field at the time of my birth, I would
appreciate it. I can not wait to see the place I
I stumbled on this web site for the first time today. I was in Cadet Class 57-O. I was Panther 48, a student under Harold O. Boroughs with A/C Joe Guerra, Panther 46, A/C Henry Brown, Panther 49, and Lt. Tom O'brien, Panther 47. I went from Spence to Del Rio for T-bird training. We were moved from there to Brian AFB where I graduated in June of '57. I was fortunate to get first pick of assignments and took the F-86/F-100 slot. After F-86 gunnery school at Willy (the best flying experience of my life) I went to Nellis and F-100 training. I was assigned to the 386th FBS which was redesignated the 523rd TFS at Cannon AFB. I would love to hear from any of the old Spence crew.
Peter M. Page <Penrith@AOL.com>Juneau, AK USA - June 2, 2004 at 8:23AM
I was a member of Class 55-K at
Spence. It was an experience I will never
forget. As I recall, my Instructors name was
Jenkins. This at the time of the PA-18, and the
T-6, although we heard that T-28's were coming
(if memory serves). We had several foreign
students in our class. One of my room-mates was
from Cuba. I was a member of the first
marching band at Spence (I believe it was the
first). I retired from the Air Force in 1974.
Surfing the web and found your
site. It's great. I was Polecat 63 in
Class 57-O. Charles Steuben was my
instructor. I'd like to find some of the guys in
the class. I retired from the Idaho ANG after 32
years (not all flying years). I built and fly my
BD-4 aircraft. Plan to go to Oshkosh with it
What a great web site -- my wife found
it while planning for the 45th reunion of her Moultrie
High School class of ‘59. I have many fond
memories of Spence. My father worked with the
contractors rebuilding the base and was among the
first hired by Hawthorne, as their chief
refueler. We lived on the base. As a
teen I spent much time with him while he was at
work. I was in the 1956 class of mechanic
trainees and worked on the flight line as a mechanic
until the base closed. My grand father owned and
operated the store just south of the main gate and had
cabins and a trailer park for renting to base
personnel. After the base closed in 1961 I did
not pursue flying or aircraft maintenance but
maintained a love for it. I always talked
airplanes to my grandson (who received his commercial
pilots license at MTSU last month). I went to
the Farm Expo last year and did a lot of reminiscing,
even taking one of the flights over the base to look
down on it (while working there, I really enjoyed
flying with the test pilots). I would enjoy
hearing from some of the people I knew and/or worked
I own an Air Force T-34 Mentor, AF
52-7630, that was based at Spence in the
mid-50s. It is an historic aircraft since it was
one of three sent to Edwards AFB in Oct. '53 for
acceptance testing. There is a great picture of
it circa '53 in the Poncho Barnes Room in the O'Club
at EDW. After EDW it went to Marana and then to
Spence. It finished its AF career at Tinker and
then went into the Aero Club and finally into civilian
hands. I have owned the plane since '85, when I
put it through a complete ground up restoration at
Parks Industries in Amarillo TX. It is marked in
the original markings as delivered to the AF in '53,
and "lives" at Chino Airport in Southern California
where we enjoy flying it very much. Would be
interested to know if anyone on your guest list flew
52-7630 while it was based at Spence. (See
picture of aircraft on Memories
1501 Quail Street, Newport Beach, CA USA, (949)476-3434 - May 4, 2004 at 8:03AM ________________________________________________________________________________________________
A very memorable website. I was
Polecat 78 in Class 58-E. Gordon "Flash Gordon"
Ward was my instuctor. He launched me onto a
great career in the sky. Went to Greenville AFB,
graduating in Class 58-F on 18 Jan 1958.
Finished my career in the Ohio Air National Guard in
1992. Will never forget Spence AB.
Congratulations to Bruce Watson on a
fine piece of work! Super website. I was
hoping to see some names from my class mentioned
(59-B) but didn't. I did see Randy Sohn's
name who I knew from Northwest Airlines and the
Minnesota ANG. After preflight at Lackland in
Sept. '57 I was praying to go to Spence for primary.
Where did they send me????? Hondo.
Being raised in Decatur, Ga made Hondo far down
the list for me, but the USAF wasn't bothered by the
decision at all. An interesting note about
Hondo; according to an article in Flying Magazine, the
Air Force was still having pilots trained at Hondo
until a couple of years ago. A gentleman by the
name of Mr. Glen Estep was STILL instructing there
after beginning at Hondo in the early 1950's.
Two friends of mine instructed at Spence whose names
might be recognized. They are Dave Seitz and Dan
King. Dan passed away recently, but Dave is
alive and well and will probably outlive us all.
I sure wish someone who was related to Hondo in some
way could do the same thing Bruce has done for Spence.
Nice web site! I was in Aviation
Cadet class 54P and your site brought back many
wonderful memories. Also remember walking 21
tours for checking in for my assignment an hour late.
One hour time change from Panama City Fla to
Moultrie Ga. Who would have thought??? It
was September of 1953 when I began training in the
PA-18's. Your site prompted me to dig out my old
log books and reminisce of those by-gone days.
It was a good time in life and what an
experience for a 20 year old launching what was to be
a 40 year career. I particularly remember the
giant step from the little yellow PA-18 into that
monster T-6. And those horrible hours under the
hood in the back seat with Mr. Clark egging me on and
knocking my knees with the stick when my attention
span was sagging. He was a great instructor and
a nice guy. I owe him a lot for his patience and
instructional skills. I have often wondered what
happened to some of my classmates from that era.
If any of you guys stumble by this site... drop
me an Email.
Graduated in Class 52-F - Webb AFB,
Texas - Japan 40th FIS (P-51's) - Willams AFB, AZ Base
This is a great website. It
brought back a lot of memories. I took my
advanced training at Spence during WWII, class of 44F.
Re Tom (Jim) Lokey's comment in the
Spence guestbook: >>old 1st. Lt. student
officer. I was 30 years old...........13 days
later I was on my way to Moultrie, GA, Class
55N<< I'd always told the story or assumed
that it was so that Randolph Scott (no, not THAT
Randolph Scott of the movies, this is the one that had
his stripes torn off of his USAF khacki shirts) was
the oldest in our cadet class of 55N. Technically, I
guess it may have been so, Tom Lokey was a student
officer - as were a few others in our class.
Scottie was a former Tech or Master Sgt, best I
recall. And he may not have been at Spence with us,
only at Lackland. The other night on WCCO talk
radio, Alan Malmberg interviewed another one of our
Spence classmates, John Bob Pardo, formerly of Hearne,
Texas and now retired in College Station. For
those who may not recall 1967, Bob was involved in
"Pardo's Push" in F-4's in VN.
I was in the Class of 57-I, Rebel
Flight, with Bill Peck (Rebel 35) as my
instructor. As with most of us, I have many fond
memories of Spence and Moultrie – excluding of course
the heat, humidity and gnats. I, and my wife
Pat, went from here to Vance in Enid, Oklahoma and
then to Dow in Bangor, Maine. I’d like to hear
from any former friends.
I was an old 1st. Lt. student
officer. I was 30 years old, in a critical MOS
and had been eliminated from the Cadets in March
1943. I sent my application for pilot training
with a request for 3 waivers. My Commanding
Officer, Brig. General Hutchison, gave me a
recommendation but laughed and said I would not be
accepted. I got an answer on my request for
waivers and they told me to attach my request with my
application. 13 days later I was on my way to
Moultrie, GA, Class 55N. I’m so old now I can’t
remember many of my classmates or instructors.
Randy Sohn was among those who went to Reese AFB,
Lubbock, Texas where we flew T-28’s, then
B-25’s. I stayed at Reese AFB as an Instructor
and Operations Officer. I recently received an
e-mail from Arnold Lester, an Instructor at Spence,
who informed me of this web site. I retired from
the Air Force the last of August 1971, as a LTC, with
a total of 3 years in WWII as an enlisted man, then 23
years as an officer. I flew B-47’s, B-52’s,
KC-135’s, T-33’s, C-123’s, C-27’s and others.
I have recently purchased a T-6G that
was stationed at Spence from 1951 to 1954. In
repainting, I'd like to get a closeup of the USAFTC
logo with the Spence lettering. Any photo's
would be appreciated. If anyone out there flew
TA-799, it's still in great shape!
Thanks Bruce, I just discovered the
Spence page and have had a ball stirring up old
memories. I graduated at Spence in class 44-B
when it was the Army Air Corps, stayed there and
instructed til it was converted to Basic
training. Ken Brugh, who was from my home town,
hired me in June l951 to come back and do it all over
again. I did everything from Buck Instructor to
Flight Commander and stayed there until we closed the
door. I have lost track of all my students but
would be glad to hear from any of them. I knew
most of the instructors over the years and it is good
hearing from some of them. Keep up the good work.
Arnold K. Lester <email@example.com>
USA - 188 Ivy Terrace Dr - Apt. 305, Boone, N. C. 28607, 828-355-9608 - February 13, 2004 at 9:23A
After reading Randy Sohn's (55N)
Warbird Note #16 in the Spence Memories section of
Bruce Watson's terrific Spence AB website, I could not
help but think back to my days at Spence (60E).
In particular, one incident involving the forced
landing procedure, surfaced in my mind. My
instructor pilot sitting in the back seat was a
screamer and I believe he thought it was the only way
to get my attention. Today there are a lot of
college basketball coaches that have the same
style. You get the picture. One day while
on a routine training flight in a T-34 Mentor, the
instructor initiated the forced landing drill by
suddenly reducing power and turning control of the
aircraft over to me. As Randy Sohn has so
vividly described the local geography with its odd
shaped fields for the cultivation of cotton, peanuts,
and other crops, it was essential that the student
pilot find a field that was approachable and long
enough to successfully complete the forced landing, if
necessary. At a proper altitude but low enough
to make a change in fields difficult, I pointed out my
field of choice straight ahead and described its long
length. Much to my horror, the IP screamed "You
mean the one with the cows in it?" Only a
miracle and quick thinking was going to get me out of
this one. And then, there it was as I said "No,
the long field next to it on the other side of the
tree line" as I slowly adjusted my course to more
precisely line up with my "second" choice. There
was a long moment of silence before the IP announced
"OK Sack, I have the aircraft" and we headed for home.
Linda, sorry to hear about the death
of your father, Mr. Grimmet. He was my flight
commander in Class 56-D Nov. 54 - June 55. He
counseled me to stay in the Flight Training program
after a tough first week. He gave me my final
check ride in the T-28 and gave me a perfect score on
a spin. He cared about us students and our
efforts to become good pilots. I too, was there
when President Eisenhower came to Spence. Was
the Officer of the Day, but that didn't get me a spot
in the receiving line!!
Hello, and a nice day from
Austria! I have a question about one pilot. His
name was “Lt. Edward J. Risk.” He came
from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He was one of five
brothers that was active in the USAAF. Why I
seek information about him ?? In the year 1945,
16th April, the 351st Fighter Squadron (Raydon
Airfield, England) was included in a strafing
attack near my hometown. 10 miles from my house
was the airfield Obernberg that was attacked by many
Fighter Squadrons. Lt. Risk was shot down by
FLAK and was buried in Reichersberg. Later he
was moved to France – St. Avlod. I am working on
a history about the pilots of the USAAF on that
day. I am looking for any information about this
Fighter pilot. When was he at Spence Air Base,
when did he came to Raydon in England, and so on.
Thanks for your trouble. Geoffrey
Thank you for your great
website. I just lost my dad, Ashby Grimmett, on
January 7, 2004. He came to Spence in May 1951, with
my mother and I soon following - I was 5 at the
time. He was a flight instructor, flight
commander (Tiger flight, I believe) and later
personnel director when he had to stop flying.
What wonderful memories I have from my childhood of
visiting out at Spence - swimming in the pools,
watching the airshows with Mr. Howard's acrobatics,
watching the trucks demonstrate their foam
firefighting techniques. I remember seeing
President Eisenhower arriving, and he waved directly
to me and my mother as we stood on the side of the
road. I would love to hear from any of my
father's former students. I know he loved to fly and
loved to teach others about flying.
Class 54P, Bryan AFB, graduated August
17, 1954. Went home and flew with the Minnesota
Air National Guard. Would like for you to call
me or email me if you know of anyone who was at Bryan
AFB in Class 54P. From Bryan I went to Laughlin
AFB TX for Gunnery and then to Luke AFB and flew
F-84s. Please give a call or email.
Trying to locate anyone who was at
Moody AFB Valdosta, Ga., 1952-1955. I was in the
3550th Maint. & Supply Group, 3629th Flight Line
Maint. Flew on B-25's as crew chief.
I was stationed at Spence Air Base in
early 1953 as part of Class 54ABC; it was the first
class to begin flight training in the PA-18. I
completed that phase and then entered the T-6G
program, but I did not complete it. The web site
is very interesting, as I recall the barracks, mess
hall, and Cadet Club. I also recall that the
food was excellent. I remember the dousing I got
in the pool after soloing! Keep up the good work
with the web site!
54ABC - Thanks so much for your web
site. I graduated from Spence in September of
1953, and fondly remember the great times I had
there. My first solo in the PA-18, the sound and
smell of those radial engines in the T-6. The
weekend passes in Moultrie. Those were happy
times. I ended up my flying career with the
airlines. North Central, Republic, then
Northwest. 33 years total because of the early
training at Spence. Thanks to the instructors
and employees of Hawthorne Aviation at Spence Field.
I sure would like to know if and where William
(Bill) Parry, my flight instructor, is located.
Thanks again. Any body else from 54ABC out
I was one of the first two Royal Air
Force students to arrive at Spence, in April
1952. The other was Brian Laxton and
we were Class 53-C. Later there were others in
classes 53-D, E and F and we all had a great time at
Spence. Regrettably Brian Laxton washed out and
I went on alone to San Marcos and later to James
Connally AFB, graduating on T-33's on 1 May
1953. - Foreign students were hosted by
members of the Moultie Lions Club and my hosts were
amongst the kindest and most welcoming people I have
ever met. In 1991 I went back and had the honour
of being the guest speaker at one of their meetings,
and was at last able to say thank you to them for all
they had done for me, a 19 year old student a long way
from home. In 1993 my wife and I went to
the wedding in Pine Mountain Georgia of one of the
grandchildren of one of my host families and old
memories came flooding back. - My
instructor was Richard R. Clark, who during the war
years had flown with the Royal Air Force before
transferring to the US Army Air Corps after Pearl
Harbour. (Yes, I'm British, and we put a 'U' in
'Harbor'!) - My co-students were Cadets
Pinkney M. Deal, still alive in Arkansas, his home
State; Joe Disbrow who tragically died just
before our first 53C reunion in 1997; and John
Duffy I would be very pleased to hear if
anyone knows what happened to John Duffy. He was
friendly with the Fire Chief's daughter at Spence and
we all said it was because in the event of an accident
the Fire Crew would rescue him first! - In
particular I would like to know what happend to
Richard R. Clark. He was a tyrant in the air and
frightened me to death during the time we were
airborne, but on the ground he was the nicest of
men. I have done a lot of instructing since
those days and I think I was just a slow learner and
needed to be shouted at. Although his
instructional technique belongs to an age long past,
he taught me, and taught me well, so that I flew for
46 years, finally hanging up my helmet in 1997.
- Finally, 'War Bird' operators make a big deal of
flying the T6 - and we all did it as 20 year olds,
without much fuss, and without too many
accidents. Happy days!
Class 55N, Blacksheep Flight. Thanks,
Bruce Watson, for the great Web site and for teaching
me how to fly. I was thrilled today to discover
the Spence Air Base site and to experience the
countless fond memories it evokes. I was
especially pleased to find your message and email
address in the guestbook. Finally, I am able to
send you good wishes, tell you how important you were
to me, and to thank you. Whatever flying skills
I acquired, were a direct result of your exceptional
flying skills and your great ability to teach
others. I'm sure that all of your students would
agree that you prepared us well for what was to
come. In subsequent training, it was immediately
clear that you had taught us well and sent us off with
a high level of flying skills and with confidence in
ourselves. For me, it meant that multi-engine
school at Reese and transition into C-119's at
Randolph Field were seamless extensions of what you
had taught me at Spence. The fact that you were
such a likable guy was the icing on the cake! As
a 19 year kid who had never been in an airplane before
that first ride in the PA-18 with you, I really
lucked out getting you as my first instructor.
Randy, it's real good to see your post here and I'd
love to hear about some of our other classmates, as
well. My fond memories of Spence are alive and
well. Every day was filled with challenges,
excitement, and priceless camaraderie. I should
add that this Web site not only jogs the memory of
things once known, but it has taught me some things I
didn't know before about folks who were intimately
involved with operations at Spence, some of their
children's experiences, and memories of some residents
of Moultrie. It's great to read all of your
Hey, it took me a while but I
finally got around to taking a peek at your web
site. After reading some of the entries in the
guest book I've decided that the memories it inspires
in people is a beautiful thing. My only thought
after looking at it is wow, I hope I can learn to fly
like my grandpa can. Nice web site.
My dad is John W. Gallimore, who
worked as an instructor for Bevo Howard in Moultrie,
GA. As a result of his employment there, I was
born in Moultrie on 17 Dec 1954, at a whopping 2lbs
8oz, three months premature. I have the
distinction, since I lived, of being the only "Georgia
Boy" in my family - my sisters all being born in
Pensacola, FL. I have heard about Bevo all my
life, and because of your website, I have been able to
gain a little insight to the world my dad and others
shared in those days. Thank you so much.
Also if there are folks who knew my dad I would
love to hear from them.
Class 55N. Flew PA-18s and
T-6s, Allen Cribbs was my IP until pulled away
to do that new T-34/T-28 program. Then Mr. John
Owen and Mr. Pitts. Flight CO was Ed King, Asst.
CO Arnold Lester, dispatcher was John Rhoades.
Blacksheep Flight. Remember the fist fights to
be the ones to hold the fishing poles/flags for Bevo
Howard's airshow in the Buecker for each graduating
class. And Buelah Kilgore - "Mama Kaye".
I was in class 55-Q. Spence was
one of my more enjoyable Air Force experiences.
Excellent facilities, instructors, food, and
environment. My instructor was Joe
Poole. I came back once in a T-33 while
stationed at Robins AFB, GA. Great
Can anyone tell me if black/colored
pilots were trained at Spence Field during World War
2? The reason I am asking is that my father,
Newell B. Anderson was stationed there in 1942 and was
in the 16th Aviation squadron under the command of
Major Walter R. Lee. I have a 1942 Spence Field
book and cadet brass wings that belonged to him.
Later, he was a licensed civilian pilot who flew out
of the Xenia, Ohio airport. I now work at WPAFB
in OH in simulation training where we have one of the
only operational "blue boxes" that still
exist. I would like find out more
information on any black/colored cadets at Spence
Field but have not been able to find anything about
them. Please help me with any information you can give
me concerning the blacks who were at Spence.
The web site is well done, indeed.
I also grew up in the shadows of Spence,
watching Bevo fly the Bücker Jungmeister, listening to
the drone of yellow T-6's, and remembering when
President Eisenhower arrived in the L-1049G Columbine
for a visit to south Georgia (The sleek silver
"Connie" was biggest aircraft many of us had ever
seen!). My father was "Safety Sam" Phillips, who
served on the flight safety team with Hickson Skinner,
Bob McComb, and Willard "Pete" Pedersen. When
Spence closed we moved to Dothan Alabama with the
Hawthorne training contract at Ft. Rucker (L-19's -- I
think). Dad finished his aviation safety career
with the Department of the Army aviation safety
center, and went to be with our Lord in 1985.
Subsequent to 6+ years flying the F-4 Phantom
for the Marine Corps, I have been flying for Delta Air
Lines since 1980, and presently serve as bi-vocational
pastor of a growing contemporary church. Thank
you again for such a great website.
What a surprise to find this site
while looking for old friends in Moultrie. I was
a Spence Field kid. My family lived on the base
for a few years ...we moved there in 1951 when Dad
began his career there...he was a flight instructor
and a flight commander 51-61. Wonderful memories
growing up there. The back door of our home
looked out onto a big field...I think it became part
of the golf course eventually. There were woods
in the distance where we children were allowed to
build a treehouse, of magnificent proportions, it
seemed at the time. Our days were spent between
there and the officers swimming pool in summer
along with blackberry picking (Mother made the best
pies ever!) and many adventures on our bikes around
the unrestricted areas. I remember a lovely
young woman whom we called Miss Joyce who was the
organist at the base Church and our jr. choir
leader. What a beautiful place the Church was
then, so peaceful surrounded by those tall pines,
polished wood floors and pews with the sun filtering
in through windows...I was impressed even as a young
child. We moved into town in the late fifties
but I returned as a lifeguard at the officers pool for
several summers. My family left Moultrie in the
summer of 1961 when the base closed. My father
has had a long and successful flying career which he
misses greatly. What a thrill it always was when
he would tip his wings as his flight flew over our
house. Thank you for your work on this site, Mr.
Excellent web site and I have fond
memories of the people and places in the Moultrie
area. I was in the medical service from 1956 to
1961 at Spence Air Field, Moultrie, Georgia. A
large part of my duties involved crash rescue.
As part of the emergency crew I was present at most
downed aircraft from Spence Air Field. Can any
one tell me where I could find records on the number
of downed aircraft from 1956 to 1961?
________________________________________________________________________________________________ A great site! I was in Class 56P and was at Spence from May through December 1955. The instructors provided me with fundamental flying knowledge and skill that has provided me with an aviation career of 43 years (20 years in the AF and 23 years with a major aircraft manufacturer). I completed single engine fighter basic at Bryan AFB, TX. I flew a great variety of aircraft in the AF - from single engine, single seat fighters (F-104 & F-105) to four engine jet transports (KC135A). I have been back to Spence as late as June of 2002.
Claude C. Underwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am writing a story about Decatur,
GA. natives 2nd Lt. Enrique R. Smith and Richard K.
Short. They grew up together, went to high
school together were in ROTC together, went to GA.Tech
together, left in their junior year together to join
the AAF, and were killed together in a training
accident on 24 Nov. 1943. I need pictures of
these two pilots who got their wings at Spence in
October of 1943. Actually, Smith got married
that evening to a Boston, GA. girl named Eugenia
Langston. I know class "Annuals" were usually
printed that showed the graduating class of
pilots. If anyone reading this can E-mail me a
.jpeg file showing both pilots it would be greatly
What a pleasant surprise to find this
great site while surfing the net! I was in
class 59-D (Nov. 57 to May 58) and enjoyed every
minute of it except for the time that Col. John caught
me speeding on base. I was Fireball 27 and I
flew the T-34 and T-28. Momma K introduced this
Yankee to her great southern cuisine and added to my
uniform size. Spence prepared me well for 20
years of Air Force flying. Let me personally
thank you for initiating a veritable flood of great
memories - keep up the high quality of the site!
I would be honored to be included in your
guestbook. Incidently, my instructor was "Red"
Bernaskey, Fireball 25. Bob Pocreva
This is very good information. I
was born and raised in Moultrie and never knew this
much about the air base.
I came across your site while doing a
little surfing and wanted to comment. Great
introduction to the base and its mission. My father
went through his pilot training at Spence from 22 Oct
1953 to 19 May 1954. Not sure what class that would
make him but those were the dates. His name was Jere
Lottner (2nd LT at the time). Anybody who might
remember him please feel free to contact me. He died
in an F-100F while training for Viet Nam in 1967 and
I'm trying to research his career and life. Thanks for
the site that allows me to get an idea of his
training, Paul Lottner.
An informal reunion of all former
Spence Air Base personnel is scheduled at the Hampton
Inn in Moultrie Ga. the first weekend in October 2003.
Plan to arrive Friday 3rd and depart Sunday Oct.
5th. For additional information contact Vivian Griner