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SPENCE MEMORIES



This page was added to the Spence Web Site as a result of suggestions included in the many e-mails received since the site was launched.  It will be used to display information suggested and/or contributed by you, the viewers of the site.  Contents of the page will be changed periodically as new information becomes available.  Any Spence-related materials that you feel will be of interest to the web site viewers will be considered.  Contact me with your suggestion and we will work out the details. - Bruce Watson
                          


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After7"


 EMERGENCY LANDING

"As I brought the prop control back to climb power, the reduction gear in the nose case of the engine failed and broke the casting.  All the oil exited the sump and came out through the cowl flaps and other openings, flaming as it passed the exhaust stacks ---"

(Click here for the rest of the story)

Contributed by Tom Carlson <silverfox_44@yahoo.com> 




 THE AVIATION CADETS OF 57-U

 Click here for enlarged image and names.

Contributed by Tom Carlson <silverfox_44@yahoo.com>
57-U/Small

Spence Trained Astronauts
          


roosa
Stuart Roosa climbs aboard his T-6 trainer at Spence Air Base, 1955.  Roosa, a retired USAF Colonel, was a member of Spence pilot training class 55-K and later flew to the moon as Command Module Pilot of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.
                    


                    

duke

Charlie Duke, retired USAF Brig. General, got his initial pilot training at Spence Air Base.  Duke later walked on the moon as Lunar Module Pilot of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.

                           
Above photos and captions by Brett Brammer - See his GUESTBOOK entry of April 21, 2010


BRWplaque

A much appreciated memento!
                               




   Old Friends

Picture of Skeet Vaughan, Class 52-G <skeetv@knology.net> standing on the wing of the North American T-6G aircraft (TA-330) in which he took his first orientation ride in on November 5, 1951 after he started his USAF Pilot Training at Spence.  In September 2007 he purchased a ride with the Warbirdskyventures Company of Gallatin, TN and got to fly the same airplane again after 56 years.  He flew it for about 45 minutes with an instructor.  He says it was great to fly the aircraft again and do some of the same maneuvers that he had done in his flight training with his Spence/Hawthorne instructor, Bob Burris.



T-6/Skeet
accident

"Any landing you can walk away from ---"


On 19 June 1952 IP Bob Burris and Danish Aviation Cadet Egon Baek had an engine failure on their T-6 while taking off from the Tifton Auxiliary Field.  Their "successful" landing is shown in photo at left.  A small home was broadsided and knocked off it's foundation.  In spite of the extensive damage seen here there were no injuries.  Picture contributed by "Skeet" Vaughan, Class 52-G, who obtained the photo from Bob Burris's daughter Gail.

(See September 7, 2008 entry by Egon Baek in the Guest Book
Click to Enlarge


61-G2 / Gopher Flight


Class 61-G2 (8 Jun to 21 Nov 1960) was the third of five T-37 classes trained at Spence. Picture was contributed by James Watson of Moultrie, GA, grandson of long time Spence Dispatcher Max Lewis.  Max is in the white shirt at center of the back row.  To his right is Flight Commander Ed Roderick.  See James Watson's entry of May 27, 2006 in the Spence Guest Book.
61-G2S        Click to Enlarge
T-34 P'card

Georgia Postcard (Circa mid-50's)


Description on back of card reads, "U.S. Air Force Cadet at Hawthorne School of Aeronautics.  Spence Air Base.  Type of Aircraft T-34.  Moultrie, Georgia".

Contributed by Ismail Nuri, Jr. of Class 62-B.  See his March 3, 2006 message in the Spence Guest Book.




Luck of the Irish


In class 56-V, by coincidence or design, our dear departed Irish friend IP Walter J. "Pat" Dunnigan was assigned four compatriot students.  Pictured (L to R) are Carlon O'Malley, Paul Flanery, IP "Pat" Dunnigan, Harvey Callahan and Richard Murphy.

The USAF found this Irish matchup unique enough to include this picture in Air Force Times in early 1956 while 56-V was training in T-28's.

Picture contributed by Paul Flanery of 56-V.

 Orig Inst 6
Early Instructors (click for enlargement and names)


Early Instructors


Photo taken soon after Spence re-opened in 1951. Thought to be the first group of Hawthorne instructors to go through Instructor Pilot Training at Craig AFB.  The original Squadron Commanders and Flight Commanders were selected from this group.  

Photo contributed by Jim Butler, Jr. of Moultrie, GA, son of one of the original two Squadron Commanders.  Unfortunately Jim Butler, Sr. lost his life in an automobile accident in June 1953 while employed at Spence.   
                                                       

From Spence to France


Former Spence T-6G TA-669 is now based in France and frequently seen at French air shows.  Pictures at right were taken at an air show at Toulouse. Contributed by Bernard Lemarchand who was a French Aviation Cadet (NATO) with class 54-L at Spence.

Frnch T-6a
Frnch T-6b
Lst T-28 Flt SR
 


Last T-28 Student Flight


The last T-28 student flight at Spence ended at 11:16AM on July 14, 1960 flown by Aviation Cadet William B. Hayes of Class 61E who had won the honor by a coin toss with Cadet Blaine Cornick.  The last T-28 down was TA-555.  Photo at left (L to R) Raymond Plymel, Block Chief; Cadet Hayes; George Freeman, Flight Commander, Polecat Flight; and Edwin Walters, Crew Chief.

Total T-28 time at Spence was 340,741:51 hours; student time was 311,275:31; and number of landings 500,903 - exclusive of final ferrying time.

Photo and information contributed by William B. Hayes of Class 61D. Statistics are from the July 22, 1960 edition of THE SPENCE APPROACH.
The Early Days - Class 52F
52-F
Class 52F (click to enlarge) (20 Sep. 51/27 Mar. 52) was the fourth class to graduate from Spence after the base re-opened in May, 1951.  This photo of 52F (Flight D-2) was contributed by Felix Geraets an Aviation Cadet from the Netherlands who was in that class.  Upon graduation from Spence Felix went to Craig AFB for P-51 training where he received his wings.  

Instructors - Back row (L to R) 1. Military, 2. Military, 3. VonGrimm, 4. Scheub, 5. Military, 6. Skinner, 7. Wheeler, 8. Bailey, 9. Lester, 10. Springer, 11. Paschall, 12. Pierce, 13. L. Williams, 14. Dispatcher - Lane, 15. Dispatcher, 16. Swenson, 17. Riener, 18. Spears.
 

Former Spence T-6G TA-799


The airplane was initially delivered from California to Spence Air Base in 1951.  It flew at Spence from 51-54 then was sent to Arizona in late 54 for surplus storage.  In late 57 it was shipped to Spain and saw extensive training duty at multiple bases.  It flew pretty routinely in Spain until 1988  at which time it was shipped back to California where it was recertified in the Normal Category.  It flew a couple hours in California then was shipped to Dayton Ohio to Wright Patterson Air Force Base's Museum as a flying display. It was repainted to the AFTC colors and flew about an hour each month for demonstration. In 1998 the wings were removed and the plane put in storage until early spring 2003 when two surplus T-6's from WPAFB were sold to a gentleman in Fargo, North Dakota.  He reassembled and annualed the two airplanes, sold TA-799 to me, and kept the other.  I purchased the plane in August 2003.  I am in process of putting the Spence insignia back on the cowling.  The 1940's style nose art just aft of the cowling is a tribute to my five foot tall wife, the "Little Texan".  Picture and history contributed by the present owner,  Ron Staley, of Brighton, MI. 

Ron's T-6   



T-34     


Former Spence T-34


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.  Mike Talbot, Newport Beach, CA
Cadet Parade Review (Circa 1953)

Review

Photo and caption contributed by Michael P. Hoffman, Lt Col USAF (Ret.) son of then Captain Charles L. Hoffman, Jr., Commandant of Cadets. - This photo is of the review party for a cadet parade at Spence.  Front row, left to right are Colonel William S. Chairsell, Moultrie Mayor William B. "Willie" Withers, unidentified civilian (probably Moultrie dignitary), Bevo Howard, Major Claude Beck, unknown chaplain, Captain Charles L. Hoffman, Jr., M. R. Pelling, and George J. Goulette.  I don't know who the people are in the second row, maybe website visitors can fill in the blanks.  The lady sitting sixth from the right is my mother, Georgia P. Hoffman.

Tour Path


Aviation Cadet Tour Ramp


The accompanying picture (a bit deteriorated by age) is certain to bring back memories for many former Spence avcadets.  This is the area where aviation cadets could “work off” demerits received for various offenses.  At Spence, this was Carter Avenue with the center of the ramp adjacent to Building 65 Student Headquarters & Military Personnel Offices.  Cadet Barracks are on the left with the Cadet Club and Academics on the right.  The tour ramp was operational on Saturdays and Sundays.  It took one hour on the tour ramp to “work off” one demerit.  This picture, taken around April/May 1959, appears to show a busy day with 20-25 participants.  Picture and description by Ray Sack of Class 60E.





Spence Postcard


Picture titled "Spence Air Base" from 1950's Moultrie, GA picture postcard.  Contributed by James Palmer of Eufala, AL.
Spence Ramp 
 Spence Today

Here’s an interesting report concerning activities at Spence at the present time.  Chip Blalock of Moultrie submitted this via e-mail and has okayed our sharing it with you.

“I have enjoyed surfing the Spence Air Base web site.  I am the Executive Director of the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition (www.sunbeltexpo.com) and for the last 25 years we have held out annual Farm Show on the Spence Air Base grounds. In 2002 we had 1189 exhibitors and thousands of visitors from all over the world.  We lease the property from the City of
Moultrie on a long term basis (through 2021).  It is a perfect site for a farm show.  We actually farm 600 acres and have live equipment demonstrations during our show in October. (October 14-16, 2003)  Our neighbors, Maule Air and Maule Flight, also have aircraft manufacturing and refurbishing businesses on site and utilize the runway, etc.  In addition there are 15 additional businesses on the Spence Field property.  We are excited about the Moody Air Force base again using the Spence Field facility for training.  I can hear the drone of the T-6 II’s as we speak.  Except for a couple of hangers, the original flight tower is the sole icon of the Spence Field training era.  I am committed to preserving the flight tower in its present condition.  The FAA uses the tower to direct air traffic that comes and goes from our 3 day farm show.  In 2002 we had 1000 takeoffs and landings in 3 days.  In 2000, prior to 9-11, we had 1500.  Thanks again for your interest in preserving the heritage of Spence Air Base.  Please feel free to hot link to our web site to show how the facility is being utilized today.”


Chip Blalock, Executive Director
Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition
chip@sunbeltexpo.com
For information on the latest USAF activities at Spence click here.

 
Rnwy Cntrl
 


Runway Control
   

Those who were directly involved with the flying training program at Spence will remember "Runway Control", located near the approach end of   the landing runway and staffed by instructor pilots, on a rotating schedule. With light gun and flare pistol at ready it was their responsibility to maintain a safe flow of landing traffic.  Approach paths too high or too low, improper spacing on the airplane ahead, landing gear not extended, or any other condition deemed unsafe would result in a red light or flare and subsequent "go-around" followed by another attempt to get it right.    

During the hot summers the instructors would look forward to their periodic assignments to Runway Control, an enviable opportunity to bask (bake) in the Georgia sun.

Dave Evans of Class 55B contributed this great picture of his instructor, Rene Levy, checking that one on final to make sure his wheels are  down and locked.



Momma K


"I love my boys and like to see them eat their food and enjoy it"

No one is mentioned more often by former Spence flight students than "Momma K", Mrs. Buelah Kilgore, Director of Food Services at Spence.  She was indeed the student's best friend and was loved by many.  There are many stories out there of how she befriended "her boys" during their time at Spence. I'm sure she would be pleased to know the positive impact she had on so many young lives and how many remember her so fondly some forty to fifty years later.
Momma K       
Dinner
Supervising dinner for "her boys."
B'day
Another birthday, another cake. 447 celebrations in ten years
Spec'l
Special duty. - preparing plate lunches for the "Columbine."

In Revw   
Special honors.  Aviation Cadets pass in review - 1955.


  1960 SPENCE PICTURE POSTCARD
 
MORE SPENCE MEMORIES

HAWTHORNE MEMORIAL

THE SPENCE THAT WAS - 1954-55


 SPENCE TODAY - 2005


HAWTHORNE/SPENCE REUNION - OCTOBER 2003

SPENCE DURING WORLD WAR 2

Randy Sohn of Class 55-N is a prolific author of aviation related information
on the internet.  An index to some of his work can be found at Warbird Notes Index
Randy's memories of his 1954 introduction to Spence Air Base are included in Warbird Note #16.

Hthrn Wngs  


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