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We Wanted Wings

We Wanted Wings

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Mar 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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To facilitate the processing of the
tremendous number of men needed for
the aircrew training programs, Training
Command established three aircrew
classification centers in March 1942.
Located in Nashville, at Kelly Field, and
at Santa Ana, the classification centers
were, essentially, collecting points where
thousands of qualified candidates for

aircrew training could be kept while
awaiting their assignments. Here,
would-be air force officers received their
first uniforms and faced a series of tests,
the classification battery. Officials
expected to process as many as 205
applicants each day, six days a week, at
Nashville, 154 at Kelly Field, and 102 at
Santa Ana. This plan was based on the
geographic distribution of the population
of the United States. Eugene Fletcher,
who arrived at Santa Ana on 7 January
1943, briefly described the physical,
psychological, mental, and motor skills
tests in his book, Mister: The Training of
an Aviation Cadet in World War II
After receiving a series of vaccinations
and having blood drawn, Fletcher


One of several vision tests, part of the
medical screening process.

(USAF Photo)

“thought both arms would fall off; I had
the feeling I had been kicked by a mule.”
After the embarrassment of the physical,
he enjoyed the motor skills test as an

exercise of man versus machine. The
mental tests were a mystery, trying to
decide what to tell “some sinister
stranger what he sees in ink blobs. How
far do you stretch reality before you fall
off the deep end?”72

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