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James J. Mitchell 05FEB86.pdf

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CIVIL AIR PATROL
ORAL HISTq
I N T E RV I E W

WNHC 31.86-2
COLONEL JAMES J. MITCHELL, CAP

NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMITTEE
Headquarters Civil Air Patrol
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM

Interview
of
Colonel James J. Mitchell. CAP

by
Colonel Louisa S. Morse, CAP

Da%e~ 5 February 1986
Locat ~ on :

Hilton Head Island ~ou~h Carolina

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

T h a t
i n

a n

I ,

a ~ ' ~

~ . ~ f ~ % ~ 1 %

o r a l - m a g n e t i c - t a p e d

h a v e

i n t e r v i e w

t h i s
w i t h

d a y

p a r t i c i p a t e d

~ O L

Z . , ~ .

~ O ~ j

C ~ ,

covering my best recollections of evnnts and experiences which may
b e

o f

h i s t o r i c a l

s i g n i fi c a n c e

t o

t h e

C i v i l

A i r

P a t r o l .

I understand that the tape(s) and the transcribed manuscript
resulting

therefrom

H i s t o r i c a l
I

do

will

H o l d i n g s .

hereby

I n

voluntarily

be

accessioned

t h e

b e s t

give,

into

i n t e r e s t

transfer,

the

o f

Civil Air

t h e

convey,

C i v i l

and

Patrol's

A i r

assign

P a t r o l ,
all

right,

title, and interest in the memoirs and remembrances contained in the
aforementioned magnetic tapes and manuscript to the Civil Air Patrol,
to have and to hold the same forever, hereby relinquishing for myself,
my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns all ownership, right,
title,
of

and

strict

interest

therein

observance

of

to

the

the

donne

following

u'

Accepted on behalf of

the

Civil Air

expressly

on

the

~

O ,

condition

restrictions:

D a t / @ d ,

,

/ )

Patrol

Dated

by

J-/l.9/l--g~"

I ,> -

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L O R A L H I S T O R Y I N T E R V I E W S

Civil Air Patrol Oral History intervlews were initiated in early
1 9 8 2

b y

L t .

C o l .

L e s t e r

E .

H o p p e r,

Patrol's National Historical Committee.

C A P.

o f

t h e

C i v i l

A i r

The overall purpose of

these inzerviews Js to record for posterity the activities of
selected members of the Civil Air Patrol.

The principle goal of these histories is to increase the base of
knowledge relating to the early accomplishments of Civil Air
Patrol members who in their own unique way contributed to the
defense

of

our

great

country.

Certainly

not

of

a

secondary

nature is the preservation of the contributions of individuals as
Civil Air Patrol continues its growth.

FOREWORD

The following is a transcription of an oral history interview
recorded en magnetic tape. Since only minor ememdations have been
made, the reader should consistently bear in mind that he is
reading a transcript of spoken rather than the written word.
A d d i t i o n a l l y. n o a t t e m p t t o c o n fi r m t h e a c c u r a c y o f t h e
%ion contained herein has been made. As a result, the
reflects the interviewee's personal recollections of a

infori~latranscript
situation

as he remembered it at the time of the interview.

Editorial notes and additions made by Civil Air Patrol historianB
are enclosed in brackets. If feasible, first name, rank or titles
are also provided. Any additions, deletions and chan@es subsequently made to the transcript by the interviewee are not indicated. Researchers may wish to listen to the
tape prior to citing the transcript.

actual interview

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

Colonel

Mitchell

starts

this

oral

history

interview

with

his ea~'ly experience with aviation and progresses to his
j o i n i n g
p o r t r a y s
flying

C A P
t h e

during

i n

D e c e m b e r

m a n y
World

o f

1 9 4 1 .

r e s t r i c t i o n s
War

If.

His

H e

g r a p h i c a l l y

i m p o s e d

descFiption

o n
of

c i v i l i a n
tracking

missions and the early development of the cadet program
p r o v i d e
Based

on

i n t e r e s t i n g
his

diverse

i n f o r m a t i o n
CAP

o n

background

t h e s e
he

t w o

a r e a s .

provides

much

n e e d e d i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h e p o s t w a r a c t i v i t i e s w i t h i n C A P.

GUIDE TO CONTENTS

Page

Subject

Early Flying Experience

Joining CAP
Wartime Flying Restrictions

First Active Duty Assignment

Aircraft Types

Formation of Palwaukee, Illinois, Squadron

Wartime Squadron Activity

Selection of Emergency Landing Fields
During the "Cold War"

Assignment of Illinois Wing Staff

Delivery of USAF Aircraft to CAP

Appointment as Illinois Wing Commander

Evaluation of National Historical Committee

Experience with Jet Orientation Course

IACE Experience
Illinois Wing Glider Program

15

Flying in Israel

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L O R A L H I S T O R Y I N T E R V I E W
WNHC 31.86-2
Col. James J. Mitchell
5 February 1986
Hilton Head Island, SC
Col. Louisa S. Morse, CAP

Number
Ta p e d I n t e r v i e w w i t h :
Date of Interview:
Location:
Conducted by:

L M :

I n

t w o .

o r d e r

W h e n

t o

d i d

g e t

s t a r t e d

y o u

fi r s t

h e r e ,

s t a r t

l e t

m e

a s k

y o u

a

q u e s t i o n

o r

fl y i n g ?

JM: Originally in 1931, and then into 1932, and then we had some
p r o b l e m s

w i t h

formalized

flying

private,

which

t h e

I

a i r p l a n e

lessons

until

secured

in

a n d

I

about

d i d n ' t
1939,

1942--shortly

g e t

when

after

t o

I

t a k e

worked

a n y
on

my

the

war

started

a f t e r

t h e

w a r

I

secured my private license.

L M :

Yo u

d i d

n o t

g e t

y o u r

l i c e n s e

u n t i l

h a d

started? How did you get in CAP and when?

JM:

Well,

out

what

I

was

had

flying

at

happened

Palwaukee Airport,

at

Pearl

Harbor,

and

we

all

when

got

we

found

together,

we

had a meeting on the Friday following December 7th at Palwaukee
A i r p o r t ,

a n d

t h e r e

w e r e

a b o u t

2 0

o r

3 0

o f

u s

t h a t

g o t

t o g e t h e r

and we heard something about CAP being formed, we decided that we
w e r e

g o i n g

everybody

t o

was

d o

w h a t

w e

grounded,

c o u l d .

right

F o l l o w i n g

then,

during

P e a r l

that

H a r b o r ,

week,

as

far

as

private flying was concerned, and when we again started flying we
h a d

t o

fi l e

a

fl i g h t

p l a n ,

n o

m a t t e r

w h a t

w e

d i d ,

a n d

w e

c o u l d

not, at least where we were in Palwaukee, we didn't have radio in
o u r

p l a n e ,

unless
these
w a s

we

had

flight

f o r

a n d

radio

plans,

s o m e

d i s b a n d e d

w e

company,

w a s

c r e a t i n g

in

u s e

the

our

but

w e e k s

t h e

the

c o u l d n ' t

I

Piper

forget

o i "

o f

a

t h e s e

f o r

now

It

how
a f t e r

fl i g h t

airplane,
u s

fl i g h t

J5.

m o n t h s

company

p r o b l e m s

fi l e

was

b e c a u s e

a

long
t h a t

p l a n s .
and

p l a n

I

this
w e

t o

g o

pain
they

in

was

w e r e

the

lasted,

u n t i l
w a s

a n y w h e r e

t h e y

a l s o

neck,
but

fi n a l l y

fl y i n g

something
w o r k i n g

it

o n

f o r
that
t h e

Mitchell
fl i g h t

t r a i n i n g

o f

p i l o t s

t h a t

w e r e

i n

t h e

Wa r

Tr a i n i n g

S e r v i c e ,

formerly known as the Civilian Pilot Training Program, and I was
i n v o l v e d
t h e s e

i n

t h a t

p e o p l e ,

s o r t

o f

m o s t l y

t h i n g

fi x e d

o f

b a s e

s e t t i n g

u p

o p e r a t o r s

t h e
a n d

i n s u r a n c e
c o l l e g e s

f o r

a n d

universities.

L M :

W h e n

you

did

d i d

not

y o u

live

fi r s t

at

a

s e r v e

base,

o n

but

a c t i v e

when

d u t y ?

did

you

I

u n d e r s t a n d

first

t h a t

participate

in

tracking ~,issions?

JM:

Well,

was

at

t o

fl y

that

Sky

s h o r e s

o f

800

and

s o r t

o f

men

on

a t

u s

w a s

an

a t

s o r t

feet,

and

F o r t

a i m i n g
a

then

I

a n d

a

I

u s ,

t h e

t o

g o

d i d

t h e r e

w a s

altitude

vertical

area,

b e i n g

a b o v e

over

Yo u ' d
and

fl y

g o

other

things

o n

o n

t h e

w e

of

a

w e r e

between
then

you

t r a i n

t h e

t h r e e

was

not

firing

that

s t r a i g h t

had

and

t o

w e

I

fl y

r i g h t

gun

t h i n g .

a n d

B a s e ,

median

w o u l d

and

A i r

w e

i d e a

headquarters

Palwaukee,

anti-aircraft

a n d

wing

a

that

d o g - fi g h t ,

of

A r m y

had

regional

a s s i g n e d

w h a t

within

d o g - fi g h t
do

g e t

a n d

The

out

S h e r i d a n

operated

a t

1942.

flying

think

stay
a

manually

o f

was

M i c h i g a n ,

s i m u l a t e d
a

I

H a r b o r

altitute,

1500

mid-June

and

S k y

L a k e

b u t

loop

t o

m i s s i o n

assigned

in

Harbor,

o v e r

t r a c k i n g

was

t h e

a r e a

a n d

like

t h e n

that

to

a n d
d o

i t
a

make

them try to follow you.

LM:

Yo u w e r e t r y i n g t o d o d g e t h e m .

JM:

We

LM:

W e l l , t h e n t h i s w a s t h e t r a c k i n g m i s s i o n p a r t o f C A P.

kind

o f

J M :
part

I

were

a n

w a s
owner

engine

and

trying

to

dodge

a i r c r a f t

d i d

fl y i n g

P i p e r

of

a

this

was

a

y o u

three

theoretically.

That's

right.

What

fl y ?

J - 5

airplane.

them

It

place,

C r u i s e r
had
pilot

a

w i t h

75
in

a n

N C

3 8 5 7 7 .

horsepower

front,

two

I

w a s

Continental

passengers

in

the rear.

Now this tracking, how long do you suppose you continued to
2

Mitchell
do this tracking.

Did you do many flights?

JM:

because

No,

we

t r a c k i n g

didn't

f o r

LM:

Yo u

June

say

Ye s ,

l o n g e r

you

p e r i o d - - j u s t

a n d

I

realize

fi n d

i n

now

you

a

believe

m i n u t e ,

l o o k i n g

did

a t

some

I

l e t

did
m e

some

more

c h e c k

m y

tracking

l o g

b o o k

prior

t h i s

date.

J M :

a

apparently--I

t h a t

I

to

the

h a v e

a

couple of entries on April 12, 1942, with that same airplane, the
Piper

J-5

Cruiser,

and

did

that

type

of

tracking

at

Fort

Sheridan

on the shores of Lake Michigan.

L M :

O . K .

N o w

p o s s i b l y

w h i l e

a f t e r

y o u

y o u

w e r e

c o m p l e t e d

s t i l l

t h i s

t r a c k i n g

d o i n g

i t ,

w e r e

y o u

t o

t o g e t h e r - - b u t

w o r k ,

d o i n g

o r

o t h e r

types of flying for CAP?

J M :
b y

Ye s ,
t h a t

w e

w e r e .

t i m e ,

w e

We

s t a r t e d

w e r e

a

p u t

r e c o g n i z e d

s q u a d r o n .

fi r s t
I t

o f

w a s

a l l ,

t h e

squadron, Palwaukee Squadron, and we were working on interesting
y o u n g

p e o p l e ,

aviation

with

h i g h
the

s c h o o l

idea

a g e

that

a n d

when

o l d e r,

they

t o

g e t

became

of

i n t e r e s t e d
age

they

i n

could

enter the Army Air Corps as basic recruits.

LM:

Pre-induction

J M :

T h i s

w a s

training,

i n d u c t i o n

in

other

t r a i n i n g .

words.

I n

t h a t

c a s e

w h a t

w e

d i d

w a s

we took them up and let them fly the airplane and showed them how
t o

fl y

t h e

i t

a n d

t i m e

s o

t h a t
I

s o r t

w a s n ' t

o f

t h i n g .

d o i n g

a n y

I

w a s

f o r m a l

j u s t

a

p r i v a t e

i n s t r u c t i o n

p i l o t

t h e n ,

b u t

a t
w e

did get the young people interested and we had a large complement
o f

c a d e t s

good

drill

i n

o u r

s q u a d r o n ,

sergeant,

who

a n d

had

a s i d e

gone

to,

f r o m
I

t h e

believe,

fl y i n g ,
Culver

w e

h a d

a

Military

Academy, his name was Harry Gouche, and he was a very good drill
s e r g e a n t .
o t h e r

A n d

s q u a d r o n s

t h e n

w e

a r o u n d

g o t
t h e

i n t o
a r e a ,

c o m p e t i t i o n
a n d

t h i s

w i t h

b r o u g h t

s o m e

o f

t h e

a

o f

t h e

l o t

Mitchell
young people out.

LM:

Well,

that

was

the

early

stage

of

the

cadet

program,

then.

How many cadets do you suppose you had in the squadron?

J M :

We l l ,

a t

o n e

t i m e

I

t h i n k

w e

m u s t

h a v e

h a d

b e t t e r

t h a n

5 0

cadets.

LM:

That was a pretty good size squadron then.

LM:

Did you have an assignment within the squadron?

J M :

Ye s ,

e x a c t l y

I

w a s - - w h e n

w h e n

t h a t

w e

w a s ,

g o t

b u t

f o r m a l i z e d ,

I

d o

k n o w

a n d

t h a t

I

I

d o n ' t

b e c a m e

r e m e m b e r
a

r e g u l a r

l i e u t e n a n t , C A P, a n d I w a s i n O p e r a t i o n s .

LM:

T h i s

JM:

T h a t ' s

LM:

Did you have any military service before or during the war?

JM:

No, I never did.

L M :

Te l l

wartime.

w a s

a l l

i n

r i g h t .

u s
Yo u

a

I l l i n o i s ,

I

l i v e d

l i t t l e

said

b e l i e v e .

t h e r e

b i t

they

I

u n t i l

a b o u t

had

a

1 9 7 0 .

t h e

good

s q u a d r o n

drill

a c t i v i t i e s

sergeant.

What

else

i n
did

they do. Do you remember what type of classes you had?

J M :

Ye s ,

w e

t h e

p r i v a t e

h a d

n a v i g a t i o n

p i l o t ' s

c l a s s e s .

r e q u i r e m e n t s

f o r

B a s i c a l l y,
m a p

w e

r e a d i n g

w e r e

a n d

u s i n g

d e v i a t i o n

and variation and weather, meteorology, and we had some people
that

were

t h e

fl i g h t

people
t h e

very

well

trained

i n s t r u c t o r s

particularly,

m a t t e r

o f

fl y i n g

a t

and

in

meteorology,

P a l w a u k e e ,
many

s a f e t y.

of

those

L a t e r

w h o
of
o n ,

and

we

t a l k e d
us
w e

who

used
t o

t h e

were

s t a r t e d

some

of

y o u n g

older,
t r y i n g

on
t o

Mitchell
s i m u l a t e
fl o u r,

i n

t r y i n g

s m a l l

t o

airport,
any
I n

d r o p p i n g

t o

l a n d i n g

w o r k ,

i n

a n d

fl y i n g

s o m e

o f

t h e

that

to

be

t o

g e t

w e

s t a r t e d

c o m i n g

o v e r

a

u s e d

a b o u t

because

got

w e

a t

targets,

and

t h a t

b o m b s ,

a n d

s p o t s

good

areas,

a d d i t i o n

b a g s ,

s o m e

were

built-up

a n d

p a p e r

h i t

that

s o - c a l l e d

t o

i n t o

b a g s

8 0 0

flying

interesting
s h o r t - fi e l d

We

f e l t

o f

f e e t ,

n e a r b y

weren't

very

b a r r i e r.

5 0 0

fi e l d s

we

a

l i t t l e

t h e
over

thing.
t a k e - o f f

t h a t

t h e

t i m e

might come, if Chicago was attacked, when we might have to land
o n

b o u l e v a r d s

o r

p a r k s

o r

g o l f

c o u r s e s

o r

o t h e r

a r e a s ,

w h e r e

small aircraft could, if necessary, to maybe assist the medics or
o t h e r s

i n

c o n n e c t i o n

w i t h

a n

a t t a c k

b y

o u r

e n e m y,

s o - c a l l e d

e n e m y.

LM:

I

recall

something

about

our

having

surveyed

the

state

for

locations where we could land in an emergency, if the fields were
bombed out or destroyed. Do you recall doing anything like that?

JM:

Ye s ,

airlift,

I

LH:

JM:
I

that

the

k n o w

d a y,

o f

f e l t

quite

the

t h e

m i g h t

a n d

t h e y

bit

r i g h t .

Cold

p e r s o n a l l y,

a l l

a

That was during the Berlin

later.

War.

y o u ' r e

was

I

w e

w a y,

Cold

t h i n k

That

was

a r e a s
g e t

T h a t

War.
i n

I

i n

b e c o m e

l a t e r.

getting

s t i l l

p i c k e d

a i r c r a f t

c o u l d

That's

f a c t

w e

w a s

i n
o n .

p a r t

h a v e
a n d
I

ahead
t h e

o f - - n o t

the

wartime.

p i c t u r e s ,

a r o u n d

s t i l l

of

C h i c a g o

h a v e
t h a t

t h o s e ,
t h e y

t o

t h i s

t h a t
b y

w o u l d

w e

t h e
b e

useful, but at least we could see what was built up in Chicago at
that
I

time. And

could

LM:

look

O.K.

it

in

my

book,

I

know

I

have

that

recorded,

and

up.

Let

me

a c t i v i t i e s .

D o

o r

p e o p l e

f e e d i n g

log

y o u

ask

you

r e c a l l
i n

t o

another

w h e t h e r
C o a s t

question
y o u r

P a t r o l

about

s q u a d r o n
o r

t h e

the

w a s

o t h e r

wartime
r e c r u i t i n g

a c t i v e

d u t y

missions?

Ye s ,

there

were

some
5

people.

I

d o n ' t

r e c a l l

f r o m

o u r

Mitchell
squadron, specifically any of the men--because what would happen,
they wouldn't show up and then somebody would tell us that they
s i g n e d

u p

f o r

C o a s t a l

P a t r o l ,

a n d

t h a t

w a s

a l l

w e

h e a r d .

We

didn't know who did it or how it was done or--

LM:

Yo u d i d n ' t k n o w m u c h a b o u t C o a s t P a t r o l .

JM:

Except we knew what was going on.

LM:

Well, I didn't even know what was going on.

were

going.

We knew people

JM: Well, the reason I knew we were going was that I was working
for an aviation insurance company, and there were 22 bases along
t h e

A t l a n t i c

a n d

a n d

b e c a u s e

o f

G u l f
t h a t

c o a s t s

a n d

g o t

k n o w

I

t o

o u r

fi r m

q u i t e

i n s u r e d
a

b i t

a l l

a b o u t

o f

t h e m ,

w h a t

w a s

going on in wartime.

L M :

T h a t ' s

i n t e r e s t i n g .

W e l l ,

y o u

d i d n ' t

v i s i t

t h e

b a s e s ,

though?

J M :

N o .

I

d i d

n o t

v i s i t

t h o s e

b a s e s ,

b e c a u s e

m y

a r e a

have

coastal

o f

m y

company work was the midwest.

LM:

Well,

you

JM:

No,

it

O h i o ,

I n d i a n a ,

were

was

inland.

the

Yo u

didn't

mid-west--Minnesota,

K e n t u c k y,

a n d

I l l i n o i s ,

the

Wisconsin,

t h a t

w a s

t h e

areas.

Michigan,

a r e a

t h a t

I

covered at that time.

L M :

O . K .

N o w,

l e t ' s

g o

o n

a

l i t t l e

b i t

w i t h

y o u r

e x p e r i e n c e s

i n

C A P, n o t n e c e s s a r i l y t h e w a r t i m e o n e s . Yo u w e r e i n O p e r a t i o n s i n
the squadron. Did you ever become the squadron commander?

J M :

N o ,

shows

I

and

d i d n ' t .
things

I

t o o k

like

d i f f e r e n t

that,

and

a

j o b s
fellow

a n d
by

h e l p e d
the

name

p u t
of

o n

a i r

Charlie

Richardson became Illinois Wing Commander, and I think that must

Mitchell
h a v e

b e e n

1949),

a r o u n d

and

he

1 9 5 0

asked

o r
to

me

4 9

o r

s o m e w h e r e

come

on

the

i n

wing,

t h a t

and

a r e a

I

went

( A p r i l
on

the

wing at that time.

LM:

J M :

Do you remember what your wing staff assignment was?

Ye s ,

I l l i n o i s

I

w a s

f o r

t h e

t h e

C i v i l

I l l i n o i s

D e f e n s e
W i n g ,

C o o r d i n a t o r

a n d

I

w a s

f o r
t i e d

a l s o

t h e

s t a t e

u p

w i t h

o f
t h e

Aeronautical--Bureau of Aeronautics for Illinois, and I was on an
interim

commission

disbanding

the

at

one

Bureau

time,

when

they

of Aeronautics,

were

and

on

thinking

that

about

committee

we

came to the conclusion that it would be a mistake, and we turned
our report in to the Governor, that the Department of Aeronautics
should be preserved.

L M :

S h o u l d

c o n t i n u e .

O . K .

W e l l

t h e n

f r o m

C i v i l

D e f e n s e

Coordinator did you go directly from that to Wing Commander?

JM:

No,

L M :

A s

I

spent

a

w i n g

a

quite

little

while

s t a f f

as

o f fi c e r ,

CD

d i d

y o u

Coordinator--

h a v e

a n y

i n t e r e s t i n g

experiences?

JM:

Ye s ,

one

a s s i g n e d
p i l o t s ,

of

fi v e

w e

them

was

L - 1 6 s ,

w a n t e d

in

July

A e r o n c a

t w o

p i l o t s

of

1952,

L - 1 6 s ,
t o

a n

the

a n d

I

Illinois

a l o n g

a i r p l a n e ,

Wing

w i t h

w e r e

fl o w n

9

was

o t h e r

b y

A i r

F o r c e t o S a n M a r c o s A i r F o r c e B a s e i n Te x a s , a n d w e p i c k e d t h e m
up and flew them back to Chicago, making stops at--San Marcos to
R o c k d a l e ,

Te x a s ,

R o c k d a l e

Te x a r k a n a ,

A r k a n s a s ,

Little

to

a n d

Rock

f r o m

t h e r e

d e l i v e r e d

t h e

R u b i n c a m
flight,
of

t h e

a i r ,

t o

these,

f o r

t o
t h e

b e c a u s e

we

of

were

n o t

P a l e s t i n e ,
t h e r e

Walnut

D e c a t u r ,

happened
and

f r o m

Ridge,

a i r p l a n e s

A i r p o r t

nothing

any

Walnut

a n d

t o

t o

L i t t l e

Ridge

I l l i n o i s ,

Te x a s ,

to
a n d

D e c a t u r,

I l l i n o i s ,

w i n g .

w a s

any

a

in

how

r a d i o ,

R o c k ,

long

a n d

Chester,
t h e n
n o ,

v e r y

consequence,

limited

h a v i n g

I t

P a l e s t i n e

we
we

i n

t o

f r o m

Missouri,

fi n a l l y

w e

C h i c a g o

t o

u n e v e n t f u l
had

no

could

t e c h n i c a l l y

w e

radio
stay

in

in

w e r e n ' t

Mitchell
supposed to fly more than an hour and forty minutes on any single
fl i g h t .
o n

I

o n e

d o n ' t
o f

k n o w

t h o s e

w h y,

fl i g h t s

b u t

f r o m

t h a t

w a s

t h e i r

P a l e s t i n e ,

r u l e s ,

Te x a s ,

t o

a n d

I

k n o w

Te x a r k a n a ,

i t

took me two hours and five minutes, but nobody said anything.

L M :

W e l l ,

i n

o t h e r

w o r d s ,

t h e

a ~ r p l a n e s

w e r e

i n

fl y a b l e

condition when you picked them up.

JM:

They

were

in

flyable

condition,

and

we

had

no

problems

with

them.

L M :

T h e y

w e r e

t h e

i n i t i a l

b a t c h

o f

L - 1 6 s

t h a t

t h e

C A P

g o t

f r o m

the Air Force.

J M :

I

d o n ' t

t h a t ,

t h i n k

b e c a u s e

I

t h a t

w a s

b r o u g h t

i n i t i a l .

o n e

- -

n o ,

I

t h i n k
w a i t

a

w e

g o t

s o m e

m i n u t e ,

I

b e f o r e

d e l i v e r e d - -

oh, I did so much of that.

LM:

(Reading

That

was

a

JM:

I

h a d

L M :

I

b e l i e v e

Mitchell's

test

t o

log

book).

"L-16

local

-

San

Marcos."

flight.

a c c e p t

t h a t

i t ,

t h a t ' s

r i g h t .

w a s

a b o u t

t h e

t i m e

t h a t

t h e

i n i t i a l

L - 1 6 s

were acquired.

J M :

I s

t h a t

LM:

I

think

JM:

Yo u w o u l d k n o w t h a t .

LM:

Well,

r i g h t ?

so.

before

that

we

had

L-4s

and

we

had

other

planes,

but

we got L-16s and then we got L-5s after that again.

JM:

Well,

what

I

could

say

here

is

that

everyone

who

was

going

to be in command, we made commanders in each of the groups of two

Mitchell
pilots, and each of the commanders was assigned an airplane, and
they
we

made

are,

I

a

local

did

an

flight

hour

with

in

it

mine,

before
and

I

we

started

accepted

it

out,
on

and

here

behalf

of

the

wing.

LH:

Good.

became

the

Well, that's great.
wing

commander.

Were

Well, then you subsequently
you

deputy

f o r

a b o u t

commander

before

that?

J M :

Ye s ,

I

w a s

d e p u t y

c o m m a n d e r

a

y e a r

b e f o r e

D r.

Gherman, I succeeded him as wing commander in 1958, I believe it
was, you can look that up.

(23 August 1958 to 28 September 1961.)

LM:

I have the dates.

JM:

I was on for three years anyway.

LM:

Then after you were wing commander, what did you do?

JM:

We l l ,

L M :

I

I

t h i n k

- -

y o u

w e r e

o n

a

c o u p l e

o f

n a t i o n a l

c o m m i t t e e s .

were never region commander.

JM: No, I was never regional commander.

I

was

chairman

of

the

National Insurance Committee, let's see--

LM:

For quite a few years.

JM:

Quite

LM:

And now you're on the Historical Committee.

JM:

Now I'm on the Historical Committee. Right.

L M :

O . K .

a

L e t

few

m e

years,

a s k

'62

y o u

to--

a n o t h e r

q u e s t i o n .

of the value of the Historical Committee?

What do you think

Mitchell

J M :

I

t h i n k

i n

t h e

l o n g

r u n

i t ' s

g o i n g

t o

b e

o n e

o f

t h e

m o s t

valuable things that CAP ever did in peacetime.

JM: Well, I think the record of CAP during the war was something
to

be

proud

of.

I

firmly

believe

that

people

who

get

involved

in

CAP are good people, and they are good citizens, and it's a mark
of a good patriot.

Do you think that the CAP history is generally known?

LM:

JM:

No,

I

don't

something

that

believe
could

it

be

is

generally

worked

on

known,

from

and

another

that

might

point

of

be

view

at

National Headquarters.

LM:

What do you think of the Oral History Program?

JM:

This program?

LM:

This program of getting oral histories.

J M :

I

t h i n k

i t ' s

i n v a l u a b l e ,

l o t

o f

t h e

t h i n g s

t h a t

I

b e c a u s e ,

d i d

u n t i l

I

a s

l o o k

i n
i n

m y
m y

c a s e ,
l o g

I

b o o k

f o r g e t
o r

a

t a l k

to somebody that we did something together and this way they are
preserved

and

i n t e r e s t i n g

f o r

they

might

o t h e r

be

p e o p l e

of
t o

interest
k n o w

and

w h a t

be

something

w e

d i d

d u r i n g

to

be

t h o s e

days.

L M :

W e l l ,

a w f u l

l o t

u n l e s s

JM:

I

I

c e r t a i n l y

t h a t

w e

fully

g e t

h a s

n e v e r

p e o p l e

agree

a g r e e

with

t o

w i t h

b e e n
t a l k

you

y o u .

I

w r i t t e n ,

a n d

i t

a n d

g e t

a b o u t

there.

i t ,

t h i n k

t h e r e

w o n ' t
i t

b e

d o w n

i s

a n

w r i t t e n
i n

t h i s

Mitchell
L M :

D o

y o u

h a v e

a n y t h i n g

y o u ' d

l i k e

t o

o f f e r

i n

t h e

w a y

o f

additional recollections, anecdotes?

J M :

W e l l ,

after

I

I ' d

have

l i k e

made

t o
a

g e t

t o g e t h e r

study

of

some

w i t h
of

y o u

the

a g a i n

things

s o m e

that

we

t i m e ,

did.

For

e x a m p l e , I t o o k 5 2 c a d e t s d o w n t o " Te x a r k a n a a n d w e w e n t t h r o u g h
t h e

j e t

fl i g h t

s c h o o l ,

s p e n t ,

I

t h i n k

i t

w a s

a b o u t

a

w e e k

t h e r e ,

and every one of us got a minimum of five hours in T-33 jets.

LM:

Was that a national--

J M :

T h a t

w a s

a

n a t i o n a l

e n c a m p m e n t ,

r i g h t ,

a n d

t h a t

w a s

a

tremendous thing to us.

LM:

Was that the Air Training Command Indoctrination Course?

JM:

I

LM:

Oh, the Jet Orientation Course?

JM:

Jet Orientation Course.

LM:

Yo u w e r e a n e s c o r t t h e n - -

guess

JM:

I

was

was

the

it

the

was.

It

was

I

escort.

senior

officer

a

on

a

fighter

w a s
trip

group

t h e
to

down

s e n i o r

Israel,

there.

o f fi c e r.

where

I

A n d

had

15

t h e n

I

cadets

from six countries, including the United States.

LM:

JM:

What year was that? Do you recall?

1964. And

then

again

in

1970

I

had

three

cadets

I

took

to,

I accompanied to Australia.

L M :

O h ,

the

first

JM:

No,

r e a l l y ?
time

I

I

that

don't

d i d n ' t

r e a l i z e

cadets

know,

I

had

don't

y o u

gone

h a d

d o n e

t h a t .

Was that

to Australia?

believe,

no,

there

must

have

been

Mitchell
others before that because they seemed to know what to do, just
like

the

Israelis.

LH:

What year was that?

JM:

That was in 1970.

L M :

1 9 7 0 .

A n d

y o u

h a d

t h r e e

c a d e t s .

W h e r e

d i d

y o u

g o

i n

Australia, was that New Zealand or Australia?

JM:

That

was Australia.

We

had

the

New

Zealand

group,

and

we

went into Christchurch, going and coming, dropping them off and"
picking them up, and we spent a day in Christchurch.

LM:

Were there cadets from other countries?

J M :

N o t

i n

t h a t

g r o u p .

T h e r e

w e r e

t h r e e

A m e r i c a n

b o y s .

O n e

from California, one was from Pennsylvania, and I can't remember
where the third was from.

LM: They were CAP cadets but this was not with foreign cadets in
the same group?

JM:

That's right, just American cadets.

LM: Because in Europe most of the groups have cadets from other
countries.

L M :
b e e n

W e l l ,
o n

t h a t ' s

I A C E

i n t e r e s t i n g .

t w i c e .

D i d

y o u

I

d i d

h a v e

n o t
o t h e r

r e a l i z e
s p e c i a l

t h a t

y o u

h a d

a c t i v i t i e s - -

encampments?

Oh, gosh, yes. Oh, I know.

Yo u s e e y o u s t a r t t h i n k i n g

Mitchell
LM:

JM:
I

Well, that's why it's good to ask questions.

We

had

started

just

program
L a k e

for

I

i n s t r u c t o r

running

i n

b o t h

Wing

years

t o w i n g

f o r

day,

and

a n d

w e

w e l l
m y

far

the

at

w e r e

a s

a

I

Illinois
we

a n

L - 5

can

I

a i r c r a f t
a n d

I

up

a

called

i n s t r u c t i n g .

1 9 6 3 ,

Wing,

set

place

u s i n g

r e g u l a r

f r o m

as

1963

older

a s

c a d e t s

as

In

Commander,

w i t h

a l o n g

p r o g r a m
this

14

as

I l l i n o i s ,

r a t i n g

to

program.

down

cadets

d i d

t h a t

glider

stepped

A i r p o r t ,

p l a n e .

r a n

a

glider
Crystal

a s

h a d

a

a

t o w

g l i d e r

r a t i n g ,
t h i n k

and

a n d

i t ' s

w e

s t i l l

recall.

This started out as a wing activity?

LM:

JM:

It

was

move

over

n a m e

o f

s t r i p

a

wing

to

activity,

another

A a v a n g ,

t o

r u n

g l i d e r

and

we

r u n

o n .

D u r i n g

g l i d e r

' 6 4

p r o g r a m

and

a t

in

M c H e n r y,

cooperative,
f r o m

later

field,

n e a r

o u r

and

had

on

May

several

E a s t e r n

of

this

thing

1964,

I l l i n o i s ,

p r o g r a m

t h e

in

a c t i v i t i e s ,

gliders

s u m m e r,
I l l i n o i s

out

l a t e r

to

by

the

u s

o ff e r e d

had

farmer

a

p r i v a t e

h i s

a n d

there,
o n ,

we

v e r y

and

that

h a d

w e

U n i v e r s i t y,

w a s

a

i n

was

w e e k ' s

w h i c h

t h e s e

cadets would go down to Eastern Illinois University and be based
in
we

the

university

ran

mostly

i n s t r u c t i o n
regular

a

t o

single

substantially,

housing,
glider

s o m e

and

we

had

instructional

o f

engine

and

t h e

p i l o t s

aircraft,

one

of

our

local

program,
t h a t

and

men

a

I

airport
but

w a n t e d

was

that

also

t o

really

we

l e a r n

involved

was

there,

in

and

gave
t o

that

fl y

quite

involved

in

it

was Lt. Col. Ray Johnson, and a guy by the name of Vic Heurlin.
Vi c

H e u r l i n

w a s

a

v e r y

a c c o m p l i s h e d

p i l o t

i n

e v e r y

d i r e c t i o n .

He was a corporate pilot for a Lockheed business jet, and he was
a l s o

A i r

F o r c e ,

I

t h i n k

h e ' s

a

c o l o n e l

i n

t h e

A i r

F o r c e

don't know what he was then, but in Air Force Reserve.
very

interested

masterminded
we'd
them

take

the

these

through

in

this

organization

kids

this

program

down

program,

to

and
and

he

running

Eastern

and

was

inside

the
of

Illinois
of

a

man

that

really

Every

University
we've

soloed every one of them that went down, in gliders.

I

He was

these.

week,

n o w,

year

and

run

always

Mitchell
LM:

That's marvelous.

J M :

We l l ,

v e r y,

t h a t

v e r y

w a s

g o o d

j u s t

o n e

t h i n g .

o f

T h e

t h e

a c t i v i t i e s

p a r t

t h a t

w e

t h a t

d i d

o n

I

f e e l

a n

w a s

a

o n - g o i n g

basis, from year to year out of Aavang and Crystal Lake Airports,
t h a t

w a s

t h e

b e g i n n i n g

o f

a

l o t

o f

t h e s e ,

w h e r e

t h e

k i d s

w o u l d

get a taste of glider flying, and we had two tow planes going and
I

think

at

one

time

up

to

three

gliders

out

at

the Aavang

Field,

and every Saturday and Sunday, we'd do this on the week-ends, for
the

kids

O n

well

4 t h

J u l y

as

o f

participate
s c h e d u l e d

in

as

ourselves,

1 9 6 4 ,

the

o u r

because

l i t t l e

rededication

a i r l i n e

fl y i n g

g l i d e r

of

a g a i n .

most

of

us

p r o g r a m

Midway Airport

We

fl e w

o n e

o f

were

w a s

working.

i n v i t e d

opening

t h e

up

g l i d e r s

t o
to

f r o m

Aavang Airport at McHenry, Illinois, to the Midway Airport, which
is

on

that

the

south

far,

and

it

side

of

was

Chicago.

only

about

It

40

took
or

us

50

about

an
I

miles.

hour

fl e w

to

t h e

fly
t o w

plane, and one of the other men flew the glider.

LM:

Yo u t o w e d i t a l l t h e w a y ?

JM:

Ye s ,

LM:

That was quite a job.

JM:

It

LM:

Yo u

JM:

Oh, I had a lot of things that I don't even remember.

LM:

towed

got

hairy

had

Well,

it

at

quite

that's

all

the

way.

I

was

the

tow

plane

pilot.

times.

a

the

varied

way

we

career

all

in

do.

Civil Air

There

are

Patrol.

lots

of

things

we

don't remember.

JM:

L M :

I

know

Yo u ' v e

b r o u g h t

o u t

you

did

g i v e n
s o m e

too.

u s

q u i t e

t h i n g s

a

t h a t

f e w

i n t e r e s t i n g

m a n y

o f

u s

a n e c d o t e s ,

n e v e r

k n e w

o r

a n d

w o n ' t

Mitchell
r e m e m b e r.

J M :

O h ,

b e f o r e

e x p e r i e n c e .
o n

t h e

I

t r i p

t h i n k

t o

LM:

Oh,

how

JM:

Ye s ,

L M :

I

I ' v e
I

did.

i t

fl e w

a

t h e

either

student

t o

fl y

w e n t

J M :

T h o s e

g l i d e r
h a d
I

1 5

b u t

I

n e v e r

w a s

u p

A n d

t h a t

t h e

e v e n

f u n n y

fl y i n g .
s o r t

a

l e t

n i c e

W h e n

gliders

place

I

w a s

u s

fl y

too?

gliders,

and

an

t h e m .

S w i t z e r l a n d

fi g h t e r

I

h a d

i n

p l a n e ,

h o u r

i n

F u g a

J u l y

2 4 t h

a b o u t

w e r e

a t

t h a t .

a

A n d

I

t h e

g u y

a l l

h a d

a n y h o w

t o

h a v e

did

get

fl e w

t h e

my

w e r e

r i g h t

o u t

n e a r

Av i v,

a n d

from

the

Mediterranean

Sea

to

y o u ' d

o v e r

us

down.

So

Te l

b e

we

roll,

r i g h t

had

to

and

go

s e g m e n t e d
a

a n d
he

t r y

said

J o r d a n
and

I

a

he

t e r r i t o r y
south

a l l

t h e

k n o w

a n d

I

g o i n g

m i l e s
said
a n d

instead

w e

s a i d

minute."

t e n

and

k n o w

d o

w a s

o n l y

y o u

y o u
i t

r o l l .
j e t .

A n d

t a k e

I

F o r c e

m e

"Wait

Jordan,

north

A i r

a n d

i t . "

i s

r o l l .

s e g m e n t e d

h o u r.

m e

I s r a e l

segmented

a h e a d

o n l y

l e t t i n g

l e t

doing

shoot

" G o

a

a n

they

n o t

b e f o r e ,

h e

and

I s r a e l i

w a s

n i g h t

I

d i d

fl e w

start

h e a d e d

s a i d

I

I

y o u ' r e

H e

d i d

M a g i s t a r,

T h i s

p a r t y

I

a n d

1 9 6 4 .

u p .

t h i s

i t ? "

o f

I s r a e l .

a n d

b e f o r e ,

a

licenses

" C a n

there

r o l l

t h a t

private

t h a t

t h i n g

m a d e

or

t r i e d

a n

w a s

W e

o f

c a d e t s

fl e w

f o r

tickets

t o

w h e r e .

fly

two

h e

a n o t h e r

I s r a e l .

cadets

b u t

h a d

s o m e
i n

were

I

g l i d e r s .

fl y,

pilot

g l i d e r

they

w h o

h e r e

the

t h e r e ,

c a d e t s

g l i d e r s ,

i n

Did

Because

w o u l d

t h e

g o t

fascinating{

p i l o t

k n o w

l e a v e

I s r a e l .

they

I s r a e l i

w e

t o
We

w i d e

where
t h e y ' d
of

east

Sea

of

and west. (Laughter)

LM:

JM:

Even in those days there were border problems.

That's

G a l i l e a ,
working

right.

a n d
in

a t

the

Oh,
t h e

beck.

k i b b u t z

fields,

and

We

were

w e

one

of

in

w e r e
them

a

i n ,

kibbutz
t h e r e

was

on

w e r e

killed

and

the
t w o
the

p e o p l e
other

one was wounded very badly while we were there. The Syrians just

Mitchell
shot them right down.

L M : We l l , u n l e s s y o u h a v e s o m e t h i n g m o r e t o e n d o r s a y, I t h i n k
w e ' l l

j u s t

s h u t

o f f

t h e

t a p e ,

a n d

s a y

t h a n k s

f o r

y o u r

participation in this Historical Committee Oral History Interview
Program and we will get back to you with the finished product.

JM:

Thank you very much.