A FLYING TIGER’S STORY
By Dick Rossi, Pilot, American Volunteer Group
The unplanned and unforeseen circumstances of my early years shaped the entire future of my life and contributed immensely to the improbable fact of my becoming a Naval Aviator. The direction of the rest of my life was based on the earning of my Navy wings.
After graduating from St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco in 1933, I put in one semester at San Mateo Junior College. After one term of hitchhiking from San Francisco to San Mateo each school day (approximately twenty miles down the bay) then hitchhiking back to downtown San Francisco where I had a job, then going home to study, I decided it was not practical. My best bet, I figured was to work full time for awhile and save enough money to have a nest egg for college.
Hammerhead Stalls and Snap Rolls
By Chuck Older – Written in the mid-1980s
Two unrelated events during my undergraduate days at UCLA in the late thirties changed my course, headed toward law school, to Pensacola, Marine Corps Aviation, the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers), the U.S. Army Air Forces, the U.S. Air Force — and then law school.
The first event was a $5.00 investment in a 30-minute ride in an Emsco open cockpit, mid-wing monoplane, and the second was the arrival on campus of a Lt.(JG) Naval Aviator in full uniform with gold wings, bent on recruiting cadets for naval aviation. The ride in the Emsco sold me on flying; the Lt.(JG) sold me on flying in the service. The uniform and gold wings, together with all the talk of hammerhead stalls, snap rolls, chandelles, carrier landings, dive bombing and tight formations proved irresistible. Upon graduation I reported to Long Beach, California for elimination flight training. In due course I soloed, passed the course, and received orders to report to Pensacola as a Marine Cadet.
Chuck Baisden’s Story
In 1937 while in high school I was also a member of Company B, 109th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, a buck private rifleman. We had 03 Springfield rifles and wrap leggings and the 8 man squad. The locals called us “Dollar Dummies” as this was our pay per Monday drill night. I was around 17 years of age. I joined the Army Air Corps after high school and at 19 was stationed at Langley Field, VA still a Private but now an aircraft armorer after completing the course at Lowry Field, CO. Working on Curtis P-36 and P-40s plus crew duty on tow target Martin B-10s.