National Geographic : 1941 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Staff Photogralpher .I. Bayvlor tobelrts Veteran Jump Master "Tug" Wilson Can Send 12 Parachutists Overboard in 10 Seconds Wilson, at left in rear, starts each jumper, whose ripcord is snapped to the line overhead (pp. 13, 14, 15). Jumps are made from 750, 1,000, and 1.500 feet. Before jumping, men throw out "Oscar," a dummy; its chute, opening, shows wind speed and direction. Nobody jumps, for practice, if wind is over 12 miles an hour. These men of the 501st Parachute Battalion wear snag-proof suits. To lessen the jar of landing, their boots have insoles of sponge rubber. "Tanks are built to kill, not for comfort," said an officer. Officers flock to this school, especially after they saw what Hitler's tanks did to France's proud army. Their instruction is much broader than that of enlisted men. Picked soldiers, of more than average intel ligence-men who can pass the Air Corps' basic aptitude tests-are also trained. Fort Knox Armored School Graduates 100 Weekly Gunnery, tactics, tanks, communications, field engineering, and clerical work-they're all in the curriculum. In each of these the soldier is trained for a particular specialty, such as radio operator, tank mechanic, welder, sheet-metal worker, storage-battery electri cian, cryptographer, etc. Many college professors, on leave, are com- missioned as reserve officers and on duty as instructors. Also, among such reserve officers, you meet a Chevrolet plant engineer, a Diesel engine maintenance expert from a noted rail way, radio technicians from both Philco and R.C.A., a scientist well known in carburetor work, and many others. Headphones clamped on, a hundred Fort Knox student rookies listened to dots and dashes, and wrote down the letter groups on practice pads. Beginners receive only four letters a minute. Those more advanced can take 8, 10, 12, and up to 20 letters. From a central talking machine the mes sages come by radio. It is controlled, with various speeds for different student groups. In primary work you may hear it say in American Morse code: "Here's the letter A dot and dash. Y sounds this way-two dots, space, two dots."