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World War II - Airplane Mechanic School in Lincoln

In the summer of 1943 the United States was in the midst of World War II. The Sunday World-Herald Magazine on July 4 of that year in a special "Nebraska at War" edition reported the state's contribution to the war effort, including a description of the Army Air Forces airplane mechanic school in Lincoln:

"Nearly 30 thousand fighter-mechanics have been graduated from the Army Air Forces' Technical Training Command's airplane mechanic school at the army air base at Lincoln, Neb., since June of 1942, when the first students arrived. Time and again, praise and condemnation of his graduates have come back to Brig. Gen. Early F. W. Duncan, commanding general of the base, from the factories where men have been sent for advance training and from the fighting fronts where these men are proving their 'know how.'

"Glamour of the air forces is usually consigned to flight personnel, but the fact is, it takes seven ground crew men to keep even pursuit ships in flying shape. Although the fighter-mechanics are little known or generally appreciated, it is their responsibility to maintain the power, accuracy and deadliness of each plane in the air forces' rapidly expanding armada. Though short on glamour, these men are long on what it takes to keep'em flying. . . .

"To train men in maintenance, the base's technical school is open 24 hours each day. Classrooms and hangars are in operation day and night; work never ceases around the clock, seven days a week. Upon the completion of the five-month course, a soldier-technician is skilled, ready for assignment to one of the army's numerous air bases or installations. At that time, some technicians are selected for advanced training, and sent to an airplane factory for additional specialized training.

"During the five-month training period, the fighter-mechanics study every phase of the nation's fastest pursuit ships. At first they become familiar with the fundamental tools, used in maintaining such aircraft progressing through fuselage construction, materials used in maintenance, and complete instruction in the engines of these planes. In the final part of his training each student is schooled in actual combat training, working under simulated war zone conditions at the new testing phase of instruction at the recently activated field test division, at Ashland, Neb."

(March 2000)



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