Saturday, April 16, 2016

RWA in San Diego - The Army Comes Flying Along to North Island


I am envious of the readers meeting authors this week at the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas.  Then again, my turn comes in July when I attend the RWA Annual Conference in San Diego. In fact, I am one of the hosts for the driving tour of Navy Base Coronado (link).  Two weeks ago,  I shared how Navy Aviation arrived on Coronado ... to be followed by the Army's Signal Corps Aviation School.  From the National Park Service (link),

In 1910, climatic conditions, flat terrain, good beaches and protected stretches of water attracted Glenn H. Curtiss, aviation pioneer and Wright Brothers' competitor, to North Island, where he soon founded his Aviation School. In January 1911, Curtiss signed a contract with the owner of North Island to use the land for three years for a flying school. Curtiss invited the Army and the Navy to send officers to his new school for flying training. The Army's Signal Corps Aviation School relocated from its original location at College Park, Maryland, to North Island, San Diego, in December 1912. The Army flyers established a tent camp at the north end of North Island, and for about a year, the Signal Corps Aviation School rented airplanes and hangars constructed for the Curtiss school. 

Aero Squadron in Rockwell Field
Public Domain (link)

There was a desperate needed for trained military pilots as the United States had entered World War I earlier in the year. President Woodrow Wilson signed an Executive Order in August 1917 for condemnation of the land, which was still privately owned. The Army turned over the north end of the island to the Navy and relocated to the south end of North Island (named Rockwell Field). During World War I, Rockwell Field provided training for many of the pilots and crews sent to France. It also was the source of men and aircraft for the Sixth and Seventh Aero Squadrons, which established the first military aviation presence in Hawaii and the Panama Canal Zone, respectively.

Rockwell Field in 1918
Public Domain (link)

As the Navy shifted from seaplanes (which landed on water) to airplanes (which landed on carriers), it required more land to train its pilots. In 1935, President Roosevelt transferred Rockwell Field to the Navy.  As a result, the Army relocated its aircraft to March Field (later March AFB) in Riverside, California.  

Next: A future duchess lands at Navy North Island.

USS Chaumont (AP-5) in 1924
Public Domain (link)

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about World War I - do you have any family members who served?  My maternal great-grandfather served in the British Army Ambulance Corps.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 23, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 24.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Walt Disney, American Red Cross ambulance driver in France during World War I, and an ambulance decorated by him.
Walt Disney volunteered for the American Red Cross in France.
Note his drawing on the ambulance.
Public Domain (link)

21 comments:

  1. Not sure at this second

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  2. My paternal grandfather served in the Light Horse in WWI. In WWII he was in the Air Force.

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  3. My maternal grandfather served in France in the Army. He would tell the story that he spoke no French so ordered his dinner by pointing at the menu... Ended up with snails and beef tongue!!

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  4. I don't have anyone in my family that served

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  5. None of my family served to the best of my knowledge. I think the were in between.

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  6. My paternal grandfather served in WWI. As a result of his service he contracted TB and had to spend a year in a sanitarium. As a result of that his heart was weakened, yet he lived until his death at 65. He loved his grandchildren immensely...to his dying day. jdh2690@gmail.com

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  7. Not World War I. My dad was in the Navy in the Korean war.

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  8. I recently found some items that belonged to one of my great-uncles who served under the British - I want to see if I can find out more about him.

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  9. No , I did nor
    Kimh

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  10. I don't know anyone who served in WW1.
    ladbookfan

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  11. No one that I know of. I love that time period and my husband builds little miniature military plastic models from that time period.

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  12. My paternal great-grandfather served as an ambulance driver in the German Army Medical Corps in WWI (and fled his country 20 years after the Armistice, due to Nazi persecution).

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  13. I know my mother's grandfather and his brothers served, but don't know in what capacity.

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  14. No one in my family has served

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  15. I have several family members who served in the Army in WWI - it seems like a lifetime ago.

    Barbara

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  16. I don't know if I have family members from WWI. Your post reminds me of Downton Abbey with Matthew and William going off to war.

    Dorothy

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