The fixed wing, WOC students, WOFWAC Warrant Officer Fixed Wing Aviator Course, initially went straight to Fort Rucker for all of their training, from Preflt to the flight line. For some reason, for a short period of time, the Army had those selected for the fixed wing course to do their pre-flight training at Fort Wolters to be followed by flight training at Hunter/Stewart, Georgia for their flight training.
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I was a member of WOFWAC 67-1….one of two classes of fixed wing aviators each with about 30 candidates starting training in 1966, and graduating about 20 each in May and June of 1967…
Our classes began preflight at Wolters and at the end of the first month, broke away from our rotary wing counterparts for fixed wing flight school in O-1A (then L-19s) at Ft Stewart (Not Hunter, which was then still and AFB). At Stewart we did basic flight, from solo through upper air work, chandelles, spins steep turns and so on, to include short deviations from syllabus to fly (provoked by “Blue Max” released about that time) under the bridge at Ludiwici, GA, and to do spins for our wives, waiting in cars along country roads.
During basic we lost a couple of guys to crashes and to washouts.
After basic, we transferred to Rucker, first for instruments in the T-42 (there were at least 50 of those birds lined up at Cairns for FW instrument school) and then for Tactics, back in the O-1A….We did field strips and landings in cow pastures (I can share stories about having to clean cow stuff from the undersides of the wings, and about being attacked by hostile steers) and landed on roads and short fields…we did paradrops, flare drops, and learned to firs 2.75 FFARs in the range area…we finally graduated, at the O Club Lake Lodge…with DOR of 1 May 1967. Most of 67-1 went on to U-1As, though a couple went to U-21 and Birddogs.
It is important to note also that there were two classes of OFWACs…and in each of those classes, to balance the student load, a couple or three of the WOCs joined the Officer Class for most of their academics and flight training…I was one of those…so I spent a lot of time with OFWAC 67-2 (I think that was the designation…WOFWAC 67-1, OFWAC 67-2, WOFWAC 67-3, OFWAC 67-4,, or perhaps the class numbers were reversed… not sure now.
Still, we were a unique group of Warrants when we left Rucker for RVN…
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At some point in time in the early 60's candidates starting with the O-1A (L-19) and then on to the T-41.
In the early days of Army
Aviation Gary AFB, San Marcos Texas was used to train pilots. Major
James A. Vansickle said he went through primary flight training there in 1955 in J-3
Piper Cubs. He finished up at Fort Rucker in O-1 Bird Dogs.
The Officers went directly to Hunter Army Airfield and the flight line.
Next many stayed at Hunter - Stewart and others went to Fort Rucker. Here they went through instruments and tactics phases before being assigned a unit. Many also received other fixed wing transitions in to other fixed wings.
The primary phase of fixed wing training was conducted in the T-41b, which is like the Cessna 172 with a constant speed prop and a larger engine. The T-42a, which was a twin Beech Baron, was used during the instrument phase.
Most of the fixed wing drivers (pilots) received their transitions from the rotary wing side. This gave these pilots their dual ratings.
Many in the early 60's took transitions in the Caribou. The Caribou was a close support aircraft for the infantry and ground forces, so the Army purchased the Caribou. The Caribou was a short field airplane and could carry needed supplies and troops. It proved to be invaluable and the Army started to use it extensively. The Air Force felt that the Army was taking over their mission and under the general mission of the Air Force they lobbied the Joint Chiefs to turn it over to them. Many of the pilots who flew the aircraft wanted to stay with it so they transfered to the Air Force. After the take over the Caribou support dropped off by 50%. The reason was that Air Force regulations, which the pilots were required to fly by, did not allow their pilots to land in the same areas as the Army did before.
Some of the photos, visible through the links, were supplied by Paul D. Spangler
Our history is from the memories of those that was there. With time and age some things are forgotten. Please forgive us of inaccuracies and your help to correct them would be greatly appreciated.
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