September 1942 Radio-Craft
People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics.
Radio-Craft was published from 1929 through 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles
Do you know these men, or any of the many others that appear in
the articles I post from vintage magazines? They might be your father
or grandfather, brother or uncle. Once in a great while I will receive
an e-mail from somebody telling me he or she recognized a person
whose photo was posted with the article. I always try to include
the names and, if available, cities of people in picture captions
in hopes that the search engines will pick them up. Tracing family
roots is a big hobby today and being able to find such an obscure
source for a relative's past is a thrill to many such Internet sleuths.
My hobby website,
has received many contacts both from people who see themselves in
old articles and who recognize fathers or brothers
(not many women appeared in the old hobby
magazines). In one case a guy wrote to me saying that the
fellow who wrote a monthly column on model rocketry was the father
of the woman he married (aka 'father-in-law').
Another time a guy wrote saying he was the photographer who took
the edition's cover photo at a contest. Recently, a lady contacted
me to say her father, who was an NCO in the USAF and was featured
in an article about his collection of model planes, was still alive
and living in North Dakota. This is a big part of my motivation
for posting these old articles.
Air Corps Radio University
By Major J. R. Johnston, Air Corps
Students are shown loading a frequency meter into their
ship preparatory to a flight check of the guiding beam signals
of their area, putting into practice the theories learned
earlier in their course.
A student at work on a breadboard layout. Corporal John
F. Pearson, Oklahoma City, Okla., is adjusting the oscillator
circuit of a basic Colpitts low-power transmitter.
Instructor Henry C. Royal, Jr., of Farwell, Texas, is
helping William R. Skaggs, of Clinton, Mo., analyze the
circuit of a low-power aircraft transmitter. In this class
the sets are deliberately thrown out of balance and the
students "trouble shoot" them.
Located far in the interior of the nation as it is, Scott Field
- "Radio University of the Air Corps" - may never know the blasting
impact of enemy bombs or the crunch of an Axis soldier's heel. But,
nevertheless, Scott Field is playing an ever increasing part in
the national war effort.
From air corps posts scattered all over the United States and
its possessions come bright-eyed, eager young men seeking the intricate
knowledge that will fit them for duty as ground and plane radio
operators and mechanics. Here are found college graduates, engineers,
chemists, budding attorneys and writers and many young radio enthusiasts
of pre-war "Ham" days.
All of them - just how many is a military secret - are obsessed
with but one idea - to qualify themselves as quickly as possible
for combat service against the Japanese on the west or the two other
Axis rattlesnakes in Europe.
The story of Scott Field, located in Southern Illinois, is the
story of American defense itself, since the post's establishment
in 1917. Then it was a training ground for aviators in World War
I, but after making important contributions in that role, it was
practically abandoned shortly after the Armistice, when a force
of less than 65 men comprised the entire personnel.
In 1920, however, activities were revived to a considerable degree
by the designation of the field as the nation's headquarters for
the training of airship pilots and balloon observers. That was the
day when blimps, dirigibles and other lighter-than-air craft were
expected to play an important part in future aerial warfare.
This second chapter in Scott Field's history, during which large
expenditures brought about great improvement, was concluded in 1937
when the War Department discontinued its policy on lighter-than-air
For a brief period, the status of future Scott Field operations
was in doubt. Soon, however, it was recognized for the advantages
of its central location, and was designated as the future home of
the General Headquarters Air Force - the principal striking unit
of the Army Air Corps. With an appropriation of $7,500,000, outmoded
facilities were eliminated and a new hangar, barracks, officers
and non-commissioned officers' quarters, general headquarters building,
and in all, 73 major buildings were constructed.
This was a far cry from the two old fashioned wooden hangars
which had' been built prior to the expansion program. How-' ever,
before the proposed establishment of the GHQ Air Force materialized,
changes in the War Department's plan added still another chapter
to Scott Field's history. Under this plan, announced at the begin-.
ning of the national emergency in 1939, Scott Field became the Radio
Communications Center of the entire Air Corps. The' expansion program
begun two years previously, was a great stride, but now even greater
steps have been taken. By the end of this year, thousands of qualified
radio men will have been graduated from its many schools.
To meet the demands of war, the courses too have been stepped
up remarkably in tempo. Classes in code, radio repair; mathematics,
transmitters, receivers, radio compass, circuit analysis, radio
telegraph procedure, flight operation and many other .. subjects
are taught in the school's extensive curriculum. These classes operate
long into the night, for here, as in the rest of the nation, the
Army's war effort knows no recess.
In addition, a separate course for communications officers is
provided and graduates are immediately commissioned as second
lieutenants of the Army Air Corps Reserve upon completion. Then,
like the enlisted men, they are sent to all parts of the country
for assignment to tactical units of the Air Corps, or to more advanced
schools. Not only do Scott Field students obtain instruction on
the ground, but are taken aloft in the huge "Flying Classroom" to
give them actual experience in plane-to-ground radio operation.
The "Flying Classroom" has a capacity of 12 students and a crew
of 5 and makes extensive flights throughout the middle west as an
integral part of the radio training.
Like most Army posts today, Scott Field is truly a city in itself.
It has its own utilities and traffic system, a well-regulated hospital
system, its own churches, theaters, gymnasiums and athletic fields.
It is named for Corporal Frank W. Scott, who met his death in an
experimental flight at the first Army aviation school at College
Park, Maryland, in 1912. Its laboratories, training radio operators
for the Army Air Forces, are among the best-equipped in the world.
The present commanding officer at Scott Field is Co!. Wolcott
P. Hayes, who arrived at the post in July, 1940. Co!. Hayes joined
the Army in 1917, taking an examination for a commission in the
cavalry. In December, he was promoted to first lieutenant, and in
July, 1918, transferred to the Philippine Islands with the. rank
of captain. While there he was transferred to the Air Corps, later
to be advanced to his present rank in that branch, Co!. Hayes holds
ratings as command pilot, combat observer and technical observer.
Posted December 4, 2014