Tarrant Field – A Photographic Tour Through Tarrant Field (PDF)



36 pages
Bombers without pilots and mechanics are of little more use than a gun without a soldier.- And so at Tarrant Field, a fully equipped, almost self-sufficient military community, takes an important place in Uncle Sam’s man-power production line. The Field, like the gigantic Consolidated plant which lies opposite its double-X shaped runways, is a manufacturer. Its products are men who rank among the most highly skilled in the Army Air Forces, experts in all phases of the battle-tested and proven B-24 Liberators. Training of flyers is the field’s No. 1 job. Part of the carefully planned system which is producing the world’s top airmen in numbers believed impossible a year ago, the Field is an advanced school that gives flyers their first post graduate course. The Field, which was activated in mid-August, 1942, is not concerned with beginners. Its pupils own their prized pilots’ wings when they arrive; all are commissioned officers. Their problem now is learn to herd the huge four-engined B-24 through the skies, which is like jumping from arithmetic to calculus. First training was started at the Field on Oct. 11, 1942. At the Fort Worth field, the flyer comes face to face, for the first time, with a real combat ship, the one he is destined to fly in battle. The transition is a huge one. In place of the relatively light twin-engine trainer he flew at the advanced school, he is now confronted with a 29-ton aerial dreadnought powered by super-charged motors of tremendous power. A glance at the instrument panel, a Rube Goldberg-like maze of gadgets, would in itself frighten a less courageous soul out of six months’ growth. But in nine weeks at Tarrant Field the student officer learns all there is to know about flying this giant of the clouds. He spends 105 hours in the air, day and night, in good weather or bad, or over half as many air hours as he has accumulated in all his previous training. With only oceans to form the boundaries of his class room, he flies from coast to coast, learns to figure out his own navigation problems. The Field, which is building “first pilots” at the rate of one class each 4 1/2 weeks, also has achieved outstanding results in development of maintenance mechanics and aerial engineers. A ground school for enlisted men conducts a four-week course which, with actual experience on “the line,” qualifies men as top-flight mechanics. The quality of these men is perhaps best attested by the fact that a larger percentage of the field’s craft is in the air on training missions than at the majority of fields. The field is able to care for virtually all its needs, carry on all its functions within itself. Its Quartermaster division supplies enlisted personnel with food, clothing, and shelter. No problem of building or repair is beyond the engineering department. There is a complete station hospital, modern theatres, chapels, and athletic facilities. Each squadron, basic administration unit of the field, has its own day room equipped for varied recreation. Most of the Field’s enlisted men, the majority of whom are specialists, not only keep the huge planes in the skies, but perform a wide variety of duties ranging from playing a piccolo in the band to repairing typewriters. It all adds up to trouble for the Axis.