Dad was inducted before he could finish high school late into the war. He'd told me how his Grampa begged with the military officers, pleading with tears, not to take his only grandson off to war. At the age of 18 in June 1945 Dad was inducted into the U. S. Army Air Forces.
After basic training, he was first stationed at Luke Field, Arizona. During World War II, Luke was the largest fighter training base in the Air Corps, graduating more than 12,000 fighter pilots from advanced and operational courses in the AT-6, P-40, P-51 and P-38, earning the nickname, “Home of the Fighter Pilot.”
He then was stationed at Williams Air Base, Arizona for about 6 months, at the P.L.M. "big building"... Assigned as an aircraft mechanic, working on fighters, primarily P-51 Mustangs.
"The P-51 had tappets like a big V-8 engine. The crews beside us worked on an airplane called the "Jug" (P-47 Thunderbolt) with a radial engine. They were big, so big I wondered how they kept a center balance. The P-51 was a much different engine, (borrowed) from the (British) Spitfire" Dad recalled.
"The P-51 Mustangs of the 357th Fighter Group were normally cared for by a Crew Chief, Assistant Crew Chief and Armorer. They worked relentlessly in the open, day or night, in all kinds of weather with great dedication in a trade equally as important as a pilot's ability. Without them there would be no flying." (excerpted from Bud Anderson's site)
While stationed at Williams, Dad witnessed the first jets being tested, the P-80. He saw most all kinds of aircraft of the day, including B-17 Fortresses, the "Jug", the twin airframed P-82...
But Dad did not ship overseas as expected. He contracted Tuberculosis while in the service, spending the remainder of war hospitalized for treatment in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Fortunately for him (and for me!) he was one of the first "TB" victims to be treated with the then new Penicillin after having part of his lung removed.
His total length of service: 1 Year, 5 Months, 19 Days.
Remarks: Lapel Button Issued, No time lost under AW 107, Recommended For Further Military Training.
Dad didn't stay though. He went back home, got his High School diploma, married Mom and persued his dream of a career as a commercial artist.