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
"As I brought the prop control back to climb
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
and other openings, flaming as it passed the exhaust stacks ---"
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, 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
A much appreciated memento!
Skeet Vaughan, Class 52-G <firstname.lastname@example.org>
which he took his first orientation ride in on November 5, 1951 after
he started his USAF Pilot Training at Spence. In September 2007
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
training with his Spence/Hawthorne instructor, Bob Burris.
"Any landing you can walk away from ---"
On 19 June
1952 IP Bob Burris and
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
Picture contributed by "Skeet" Vaughan, Class 52-G, who obtained
the photo from Bob Burris's daughter Gail.
September 7, 2008 entry by
Egon Baek in the Guest Book)
Class 61-G2 (8 Jun to 21
Nov 1960) was the
of five T-37 classes trained at Spence. Picture was contributed by
Watson of Moultrie, GA, grandson of long time Spence Dispatcher Max
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
May 27, 2006 in the Spence Guest
of Aeronautics. Spence Air Base.
Type of Aircraft T-34. Moultrie, Georgia".
2006 message in the Spence Guest Book.
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,
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.
Photo taken soon after
Spence re-opened in
to be the first group of Hawthorne instructors to go through Instructor
Training at Craig AFB. The original Squadron Commanders and
Flight Commanders were selected from this
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Former Spence T-34
I own an Air Force T-34 Mentor, AF 52-7630, that was based at Spence in
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)
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.
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.
Aviation Cadet Tour
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
Picture titled "Spence Air Base" from 1950's Moultrie, GA picture
postcard. Contributed by James Palmer of Eufala, AL.
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
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
to show how the facility is being utilized today.”
information on the latest USAF activities at Spence click here.
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
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.
"I love my boys and
like to see them eat
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.
Supervising dinner for "her boys."
Another birthday, another cake. 447 celebrations in ten years
Special duty. - preparing plate lunches for the "Columbine."
Special honors. Aviation Cadets pass in review - 1955.