Forgotten Legacies: The U.S. Glider Pilot Training Program and Lamesa Field, Texas, During World War II
Description: Rapidly initiated at the national, regional, and local levels, the American glider pilot training program came about due to a perceived need after successful German operations at the outset of World War II. Although the national program successfully produced the required number of pilots to facilitate combat operations, numerous changes and improvisation came to characterize the program. Like other American military initiatives in the twentieth century, the War Department applied massive amounts of effort, dollars, and time to a program that proved to be short-lived in duration because it was quickly discarded when new technologies appeared. At the local level, the real loser was Lamesa, Texas. Bearing the brunt of these changes by military decision makers, the citizens of Lamesa saw their hard-fought efforts to secure an airfield fall quickly by the wayside in the wake of changing national defense priorities. As generations continue to pass and memories gradually fade, it is important to document and understand the relationship between this military platform that saw limited action and a small Texas town that had a similarly short period of significance to train the pilots who flew the aircraft.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Garner, Christian A.