(1953) Enlisted S/Sgt Pilot Extraordinaire; WWII, Korea & Vietnam.

During the Second World War, as in the First WW, there we enlisted pilots. One such pilot, whom I had the opportunity to interview at the 81st FWA Reunion in Seattle, was Jack Hoye. Jack enlisted as a private just before the war began. He served as a Mechanic and was already a Buck Sgt when he was accepted for Pilot Training.

There were about, 1,700 to 2,500 enlisted Army Air Corp and AF pilots who graduated and served during WW 2. They flew everything and produced several ACES. About 11 went on to become General Officers.

As a typical S\Sgt Pilot, Jack graduated from class 42F in June of 1942, and was designated Flight Officer by February of 1943. Some flying Sgts, including Jack Hoye were then commissioned in July of 1943. These Pilots went from Regular Army NCO's to Temporary AUS officers. Jack flew combat as a troop Carrier Pilot ( WWII ), Fighter Pilot ( Korea ) and Helicopter Rescue Pilot ( Vietnam).
Anecdotal stories about Officer Pilots being picked up by staff cars upon landing and whisked off to the Officers Club & BOQ: Enlisted Pilots had to hitch a ride to the mess hall and find a place to flop in some barracks for the night. Many Officers in Operations were not aware of ENLISTED pilots and it was sometimes difficult to convince them that enlisted dudes were flying aircraft. They were Pilots without privileges! Equal pay for equal work was not an issue of the time.click on pic for story and larger image

It was often postulated that these ENLISTED Pilots didn't have the HEAVENLY ATTRIBUTES and ASSETS that would allow them to become Officers and Gentlemen. Although, the enlisted cadets made better grades then their cadet counterparts.
Sometimes as a Command Pilot of the Aircraft, as a S\Sgt, you might have an Officer as Navigator. Many an AO would stand and wait for a Pilot to appear only to see these S\Sgt asserting they were the pilots. There were conflicts, to be sure.
Over 155 Enlisted Pilots were killed in action, 17 became fighter aces and 11 reached general officer ranks. However, few of us knew of their contributions to aviation.
Perhaps, the attached pictures will portray the Enlisted Pilots of that early 1940's era, what they looked like, what they wore and how one of them served in three wars. More information is available by contact Jack via the 81st FWA. Jack flew with the 81st from Moses Lake to Bentwaters in the early 1950's. Hopefully, You will be able to talk with Jack at the San Antonio Reunion in October. He is Very willing to share his PRIDE as a NCO PILOT. . He and his wife Bette reside in Idaho. Another one of our Warriors that we can all be proud of…..just a tribute to Jack !

Flight Surgeon

With the 81st Fighter Group in WW-II
Sam T Moore, MD, with James Edwin Alexander

Retired orthopedic surgeon Sam T Moore, MD recounts his experiences as a Flight Surgeon with the Army Air Corps in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, India, and the China/Burma theater, based on daily diaries he kept during that period. Dr Moore sees the war through a surgeon's eyes and presents an accurate and revealing view of life at the forward fighter bases. He offers a fresh, uncensored, first-person account told with characteristic warmth, modesty, and good Humor.
Sam T Moore, MD, is a retired orthopedic surgeon living in Oklahoma City.
James Alexander, PH.D is former dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.