Monday, November 3, 2014

Military Monday: Dad at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, February-March, 1951

A few months ago, I wrote a post shortly after my father gave me his photo album scrapbook from his military service. I posted a couple pictures from that album of Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where Dad did his pre-flight (air cadet) training from February 27 to about March 30, 1951.  Here are a couple more photos from the scrapbook from that time:
In the photo above, Dad (#4) and his roommates are standing near their barracks (pictured in the background).  On the back of the photograph, Dad wrote that it was taken March 24, 1951, and called his group "The Motley Crew."

I was able to find out a little bit of information about some of Dad's roommates.

Hans Howard Estin was just a little older than Dad.  Born in Prague, his family immigrated in 1938, and ended up in Boston, where Hans graduated from Harvard with a BA in economics.  He went on from this training to be a pilot in the Korean War, and then worked in the investment business with his father.  Later he joined the North American Management Corporation in Boston, where he spent the rest of his career.

An avid skier, Estin helped found the Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Vermont with his brother Pete, and later the Sundance Ski Resort in Utah.  He served on the Board of Trustees for Boston University as well as many other corporate and charitable boards.  He was married with two daughters and three granddaughters when he died in May, 2012.

Bob Curley was later with Dad at flight school at Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi, which began right after this pre-flight training, on March 31, 1951.  Although a note on the back of the photo says he is from New York, unfortunately there are too many Bob Curleys out there of the right age to be able to pinpoint the one who served with my father.

Dwight Frederick "Deet" Brooks was a few months younger than Dad.  He was born and grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  He was a lifelong aviation fan, built model airplanes, and learned to fly.  After three years in the Marine Corps, he transferred to the Air Force, flew 33 combat missions in F-84 jets in the Korean War, and later flew with the Strategic Air Command.  Brooks and his wife had two children and five grandchildren.  He died in March 1996 in Los Angeles.

Dad said, "Dwight (we didn’t call him Deet most of the time) and I met on the train from Chicago to San Antonio. We checked into Randolph AFB together. He was a big help since he already had some Marine training. He showed us how to put a “spit” shine on our shoes which kept them very shiny. He also showed us how to prepare our beds and clothes for inspection. He later became our cadet squadron commander at Columbus AFB.  I could swear that some years after the Air Force I saw his picture as a Delta Airlines pilot in one of Delta’s ads."

Below is a photo of Dad outside the Pre-Flight Training Headquarters at Randolph AFB:

On the back of this photo (stamped with the date of April 16, 1951, as was the other photo; likely the date the film was processed and printed), Dad wrote, "Note the fine shrubbery and the dirty fatigues.  What a raunchy looking cadet."

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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