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Frank Evans

Area cadet soars during Army Air Corps training

Posted: Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 - 10:00:47 am PDT

By BOB GUNTER

Frank Evans

My primary flight training began in July 1941, at a field at Tulare, Calf., operated by Tex Rankin, a former barnstorming pilot. He had a contract with the Army Air Corps to train aviation cadets. The instructors were civilians under the supervision of an Army Air Corps flight officer. Each instructor had a given number of cadets assigned to him.

Every cadet stayed with the same instructor throughout primary training. The only exception was when an instructor felt the trainee was not making satisfactory progress. In that case, the trainee was assigned to a military check pilot for what was called the Maytag ride. The name came from the Maytag washer  to wash them out.

All cadets were supposed to have had their solo flight by the time he had approximately 10 hours of instruction, but my first instructor would not give me my solo flight. He stated he thought I would never learn to fly. I guess we had a personality conflict, and each time I went up with him I would be more and more uptight and then perform poorly.

On my Maytag ride, an Army lieutenant check pilot went with me. After about 30 minutes of flying and maneuvering, as he requested, we were near an auxiliary landing strip when he said, Land here. After landing, he climbed out of the plane and said, Make three landings and then stop and pick me up, which I did successfully. This of course constituted my solo flight. Thereafter I was assigned to another instructor and I finished primary training as expected.

I moved on to the next level of basic training and was introduced to BT-13 aircraft and I was the first cadet of our class to solo in those trainers, proving my first instructor wrong.

One interesting incident during primary training occurred on a day when I was scheduled for solo flying. One of the Air Corps pilot officers asked if it would be OK with me if he rode along (the policy was that this was not allowed). After flying for a while, he said to me, Would you like to attempt a simulated forced landing? I agreed to try it. This meant that I was to keep my head bowed and not look out until he cut the throttle on the engine about 3000 feet above the ground. I would then look around for a likely looking area in which to land the plane without power. I would pretend to land, and then apply power to climb again. I picked out a field but when we got down for a landing approach, I discovered that the field was a crop of hops with their stakes underneath.

The officer said, Lets go back up to altitude and I will show you how to do this properly. This we did and he picked out a good pasture, skimmed the field, but when he applied power to climb, he was a bit too late. The plane was so low to the ground that the tail wheel caught in the wire of the far side border fence and pulled us down to a screeching halt. We stopped about six feet from the bank of a dry wash. The depth of the wash was probably 10 to 12 feet. He was very embarrassed and said for me to stay with the plane while he went to the nearest farm where he could phone to the base to get transportation. I never did learn what, if any, reprimands he received because of this incident.

Basic Training was at a field near Taft, Calif., 30 miles or so west of Bakersfield. On weekends, we would go to Bakersfield to see movies or whatever, as Taft was a very small town.

I was sitting in the lobby of a motel in Bakersfield on Sunday morning on Dec. 7, 1941. I was reading the Sunday paper and a military policeman arrived at the door to tell us about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and that we were to immediately return to the base at Taft. For the next few days there was, of course, a great deal of speculation and rumor as to how our assignments might be changed. However, there was no change and we continued basic training and then moved on to Advanced, which was at Mather Field near Sacramento, flying AT-6 planes.

We graduated from Advanced training in February, Class 42-B, and I was sent to Boise, a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant. Jane Pier and I were married there on March 29, 1942. It was in Boise that I first saw a B-17. About a month later, we were sent to Tucson for intensive training in B-17s, and we remained there until July, when I had orders to join the 301st Bomb Group, 353rd Squadron at Westover Field, Massachusetts.

(The BT-13 Valiant was a trainer aircraft built for the U.S. Air Corps. The T-6 Texan was used to train fighter pilots and was a single-engine advanced aircraft. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft.)

http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com/articles/2009/06/15/columns/doc4a3481c143849961233408.txt


Frank Evans

1st Lt. Frank B Evans was assigned to the 301st BG 353rd Squadron.

The following information on Frank Evans is gathered and extracted from military records. We have many documents and copies of documents, including military award documents. It is from these documents that we have found this information on 1st Lt. Evans. These serviceman's records are nowhere near complete and we are always looking for more material. If you can help add to Frank Evans's military record please contact us.

  Rank General Order Date Notes Award Ribbon & Device

JOHN HARDING

1LT

43

03/31/1943

AM/1OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

JOHN HARDING

1LT

93

05/26/1943

AM/1OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

JOHN HARDING

1LT

93

05/26/1943

AM/5OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

JOHN HARDING

1LT

93

05/26/1943

 

AM/7OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

JOHN HARDING

1LT

93

05/26/1943

 

AM/8OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

JOHN HARDING

1LT

93

05/26/1943

 

AM/9OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

JOHN HARDING

1LT

93

05/26/1943

 

AM/10OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

FRANK EVANS

CAPT

GO 24

11/22/1943

 

AM/9OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

5/24/1943 DFC/AM/2OLC 3/12/1943 Air Medal/Oak Leaf Cluster 4/6/1943 PUC

Please contact us with any biographical data, pictures or other information regarding the service and life of Frank Evans.

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