Man in a Plane

I found this photo in my collection. It was dedicated to one of my aunts from what looks like “Tummil”. I do not know who he is or where he’s going or what happened to him.

New information: received this today  “The plane is an AT-6 Texan.  The man in the plane is definitely an officer and possibly a pilot.  The photograph was taken in the states, possibly circa 1940-1950 as that was when the majority of training took place.  TA stands for Trainer Aircraft.  Neither of us recognize the pilot.”

And yet more information:  “Please let your sister know that we are not saying he was not a Tuskegee Airman.  By the fact that he is sitting in an A-6 trainer suggests he was in the Tuskegee program   But right now we have no way of knowing if he graduated or when he was in the program.  If I get a name then all sorts of avenues open up.  We just need to get lucky where someone recognizes him as having been in their class.  We have records of each graduating class.  The first graduating class was 42-C-SE on March 6, 1942.  The “SE” stands for Single Engine so the first class was all  Fighter Pilots.  There were five graduating officers:
Captain Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
2nd Lt. Lemuel R. Custis
2nd Lt. Charles DeBow
2nd Lt. George S. Roberts
2nd Lt. Mac Ross

There were forty-four Single Engine classes and twenty-one TE (Twin Engine) classes.  The last class to graduate was 46-C-TE on June 28, 1946, 2nd Lt. Claude A. Rowe from Detroit Michigan.  The problem is that there were approximately one thousand pilots who graduated.  Only three hundred (+) went over to Europe.  Of that group at last count we know of forty four who are still living.  But… I know a guy.  He is ninety three and sharp as a tack.  He was attached to Headquarters.  I’m going to send him a copy and see what he says.  By the way, he had to jump out of planes twice during the war.  When I interviewed him he told me all kinds of great stories.  But the last one did make me smile.  I asked him if, at the end he took anything from his plane before he left to get on the boat to come home.  I swear there was a twinkle in his eye when he said, “…Well, you know some of the ladies who built the planes would write their names on the inside of the cockpit in lipstick.  They would also leave their phone numbers.  I made some calls!”‘

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34 thoughts on “Man in a Plane

  1. I am going to see if my aunts remember him and also look for a photo of any “Thurmond” in the photos. Any news will be posted!

  2. Man of mystery! He has quite a look about him – kind of devil-may-care. I bet he was an admirer! It would be nice to know more.

    1. Angella, sometimes my photos blow themselves up when I add a caption or something. This time I decided to let it be because it just seemed to work. Most photos it doesn’t.

  3. ..and back in that day, I would have wondered, was he married? What a story I’m sure to be told !

      1. I forgot to mention I like your new look on your blog….is it the new blogger they keep saying will take over this month?

  4. I love that photo. What a handsome guy. Your aunt was nuts not to choose him.
    But of course we don’t know the whole story.
    Nancy

    1. That’s right, we don’t. Maybe they were just good friends. Maybe they weren’t compatible. Maybe he didn’t ask. etc. etc. who knows?

  5. Those little planes look like they offered NO protection. Maybe they did. Those were brave men who wanted to be fighter pilots.

  6. I wonder if he was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen? A group of WW2 pilots my father belongs to used to have a member of that illustrious group.

    1. Here is some information I received today, which I’ll also add to the main post. It comes from someone who studies the Tuskegee Airman:

      “Please let your sister know that we are not saying he was not a Tuskegee Airman. By the fact that he is sitting in an A-6 trainer suggests he was in the Tuskegee program But right now we have no way of knowing if he graduated or when he was in the program. If I get a name then all sorts of avenues open up. We just need to get lucky where someone recognizes him as having been in their class. We have records of each graduating class. The first graduating class was 42-C-SE on March 6, 1942. The “SE” stands for Single Engine so the first class was all Fighter Pilots. There were five graduating officers:
      Captain Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
      2nd Lt. Lemuel R. Custis
      2nd Lt. Charles DeBow
      2nd Lt. George S. Roberts
      2nd Lt. Mac Ross

      There were forty-four Single Engine classes and twenty-one TE (Twin Engine) classes. The last class to graduate was 46-C-TE on June 28, 1946, 2nd Lt. Claude A. Rowe from Detroit Michigan. The problem is that there were approximately one thousand pilots who graduated. Only three hundred (+) went over to Europe. Of that group at last count we know of forty four who are still living. But… I know a guy. He is ninety three and sharp as a tack. He was attached to Headquarters. I’m going to send him a copy and see what he says. By the way, he had to jump out of planes twice during the war. When I interviewed him he told me all kinds of great stories. But the last one did make me smile. I asked him if, at the end he took anything from his plane before he left to get on the boat to come home. I swear there was a twinkle in his eye when he said, “…Well, you know some of the ladies who built the planes would write their names on the inside of the cockpit in lipstick. They would also leave their phone numbers. I made some calls!”‘

  7. Your post illustrates two things that I have come to love about Sepia Saturday. First it is a magnificent photograph which has a life of its own – things like this should be shared and saved for posterity. Second, there is the interactive element, knowledgeable people who fill in gaps by sharing their own specialist knowledge. There is something very special about all of this.

  8. What a splendid photograph!!
    You sure this ain’t an actor on a movie set.
    Looks glam enough!!
    Looking forward to hearing more from that chap you know…
    🙂
    HUGZ

  9. I was reading through your blog and this caught my eye.
    2nd Lt. Charles DeBow, more correctly 2nd Lt. Charles Henry DeBow, Jr.
    currently Charles Henry DeBow, III is married to my Godmother’s daughter and they have one son who is currently in college. I’ll just let you take a guess as to what his name might be. 🙂

    1. Ummm, Charles Henry DeBow, IV? 🙂 Amazing all the ties and connections. I was hoping you knew who the mystery pilot was…

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