340th Bomb Group

487th Squadron


CLASS of 43G

By Charles M. Cook

Edited by his son Doug Cook

Charles Cook: I left Fort Ord, went to Santa Ana Camp Air Base at Santa Ana, California. [1942] Here we had more physicals, mental test and many other tests to see if we were pilot material. Those of us that were left-after this spent two months of studies and close order drills. My next move was to Primary Cal-Aero Academy at the Ontario, California. This had been a school for civilian pilots before the war. There was not much military at this base, just the business of learning to fly plus meteorology, Text Box:  mechanics, etc. We flew the Stearman which was an open cockpit, bi-wing plane. After two months here we moved on to basic training at Merced Army Air Base at Ontario, California. Here we flew a BT-13A which was a low wing closed cockpit plane. We learned to fly cross country, formation, and night flying. Our next move was to Yuma Army Air Base, Yuma, Arizona. Here we flew the AT-17 and AT-9 which were low wing twin engine planes. We continued to fly cross country, formation and more night flying but now we are flying with a co-pilot. I graduated as a Second Lieutenant on July 28, 1943. 1 had asked to fly B-25s and I was lucky enough to get my choice. From Yuma I was assigned to the Sacramento Army Air Base at Sacramento, California, which was a transition school to learn to fly the B-25. The training was the same as in advance except it was in a combat plane. From Sacramento I was sent to the Columbia Army Air Base at Columbia, South Carolina, where I was assigned a crew.



















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