National Geographic : 1941 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine AP from Press Ass'n., Inc. Newly Drafted Soldiers Parade Before President Roosevelt at His Third Inaugural These trainees of the 12th Infantry, in tin hats with bayonets fixed and combat packs, got in step just a few yards from the White House reviewing stand. Their guidon reads: "Prov. Co. Selective Service Trainees, 44 Div." this emergency is over. They live for today. "When they get too crazy to fly with any other living human in the plane with 'em," I was told, "we make pursuit pilots out of 'em." A "dodo" is a flying cadet who has not yet soloed. This itch to fly affects oddly assorted men. Look at the enrollment at Randolph Field: actors, chemists, radio skit writers, a glib-talk ing tobacco auctioneer, a Walt Disney studio artist, a swing band drummer, a swimmer from Billy Rose's Aquacade, a forest ranger, and even a statistician! Some get washed out; a few want to quit, but can't-they're "in the Army now." Some want to stay in as a career. But the majority want, eventually, to work into commercial airlines, if not as pilots then as executives. "I could have stayed in Chicago and courted the other fellow's girl," said Lieut. Johnson Beyer of Randolph Field. "My high number wouldn't have been called for months. "But I'd finished college, and like flying. So I joined up. At home I paid $15 an hour for flying lessons. Here I get paid for learn ing. To own a plane like I fly here would cost me $40,000. "Here we're taught flying, navigation, meteorology, radio, etc. Privately, that course might cost $2,000. "If and when this emergency ends, I'll have something to sell when I seek a job in com mercial aviation. Yet some mistaken folks back home think we're wasting our time in the Army! . . In lots of ways, this 1941 army is the world's biggest college."