September 1942 Radio-Craft
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
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, AirplanesAndRockets.com, has received many contacts both from
people who see themselves in old articles and who recognize fathers or brothers
(not a lot of 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
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 craft.
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 noncommissioned 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. However, 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 beginning 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
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 February 17, 2021
(updated from original post on 12/4/2014)