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April 1943 - July 1943
Santa Ana Army Air Base - Costa Mesa, CA

The Santa Ana Army Air Base was located in Costa Mesa, CA. On January 1, 1942 the U.S. Army Air Corps activated Santa Ana Army Air Base and established the West Coast Air Corps Training Center at Santa Ana. It was used for basic training, but it didn’t have planes, hangers or runways. It was a huge basic training camp for newly inducted soldiers that were earmarked for the Army Air Forces. They were given nine weeks of basic training and then testing to determine if they were to be pilots, bombardiers, navigators, mechanics, etc.

Arriving in April 1943, this was the starting point of John’s 35-week training course in the Air Force. Here, aviation cadets like John were taught in the mechanics and physics of flight and required the cadets to pass courses in mathematics and the hard sciences.


The Base reached its maximum strength by the fall of 1943, with a population of some 26,000 servicemen. The SAAAB graduated 57,895 servicemen in 1943. John graduated in July 1943 with Squadron 104 Flight A.


Upon leaving the SAAAB, cadets were assigned to another school for ten weeks of primary flight instruction, then on to another school for ten weeks of basic flight instruction and finally to an advanced flying field for 10 weeks. At the end of his 35 weeks of training the cadet was to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Force.

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