Spectacular color photos capture WWII air cadets in training
Aviation Cadet Thanas inspects an airplane engine.
Image: Library of Congress
One year before the outbreak of World War II, a U.S. congressional board found that the Navy had insufficient training facilities to deal with a potential emergency demand for new pilots
With the consultation of Texas Representative Lyndon B. Johnson, the Navy commissioned a new air training station on Corpus Christi Bay in March 1941.
That year, 800 flight instructors were brought to Corpus Christi and put to work training 300 cadets each month. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that rate nearly doubled.
More than 35,000 aviators earned their wings at NAS Corpus Christi before the end of the war, including future President George H.W. Bush, who graduated in 1943 just days before his 19th birthday. Read more…