Ninety-Fourth Flying Traning Squadron, Air Force Academy:
G Wing Ceremony May 17, 2017
Don Ehr enlisted in the Army Air Corps on February 22, 1942 and graduated from advanced glider flight school on February 28th 1943 as a 2nd Lt. and was assigned as a glider pilot flight instructor. Don instructed in basic glider flight instruction at Wickenburg Arizona. He was then transferred to South Plains Army Air Field, Lubbock, Texas, where he instructed in advanced glider flight technique. Don was promoted to 1st Lt. on 22 February 1945.
In spring 1945, Don was transferred to Laurinburg Maxton for more tactical training in preparation to deployment to the ETO. During Don’s time as an instructor he also was involved in the testing of snatching gliders by air. This is the method in which a glider on the ground is snatched from the ground into the air by usually a C-47. In six seconds you go from 0 to 160 miles an hour. He certified to fly co-pilot in a C-47 to snatch the glider and was also participated as the pilot in a glider being snatch.
In May of 1945 he received orders to board a ship for the Europe on May 9th but the order was rescinded on May 8th due to the surrender of the Axes Forces. So he was to await orders for the Pacific but the dropping of the bomb released him of further combat duty.
He received an accommodation for his glider training techniques and ground school instruction in July of 1945. After the war, Don returned to College and then enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and after 20 years retired in as a Captain.
When the invitation came from the 94th Training Flying Squadron Don Ehr was the perfect person to talk to the Cadets about his teaching
experiences during WWII in the CG-4A glider.
On Tuesday, 16 May 2017, Don entered the briefing/ready room at the Air Force Academy to a standing applause by the cadets. These cadets who are graduating after two years (freshman and sophomore years) of glider training would be the ones to receive their G Wings on Wednesday 17 May 2017 to become, for the next two years, instructors training the next generation of glider pilots.
All cadets must fly a minimum of four glider sorties to graduate. Don talked to the cadets about his experience in training pilots and what he
felt was the most important aspects of glider training.
After Don spoke the cadets showed Don and his contingent (Joan and Robert Abrahamson and Patricia and Bruce Overman) their flying skills in their gliders. And what skills they have! Don was impressed with both their skills and the type of glider they were using. The rest of us were enraptured by what they were doing.
On Wednesday, Cadet Samantha Reed, took us all over campus. What a great tour! The facilities and grounds were magnificent but the most impressive aspect of the tour was our guide. If Cadet Samantha Reed’s courtesy, professionalism and confidence is representative of her fellow cadets, and we suspect that it is, then the future of the USAF is in GREAT shape!
Wednesday evening the cadets received their G Wings at a formal dinner. Don and the WWII glider pilots’ efforts during the war was recognized many times throughout the evening. The ceremony was very special for each Cadet to receive the same G Wings that the WWII glider pilots wore and that represent Guts:
The announcement of the G Wings was preceded by the following statement from the Cadet Master of Ceremonies:
In the Army Air Force Guide the glider pilot rating was awarded for the successful completion of a prescribed advanced course of glider pilot training at
an Army Air Corps glider special service school. The emphases of the early glider program was to produce a basic skill gilder pilot who would enter troops and equipment into a combat zone. The Army Air Corps program graduated a glider pilot with a planned 10 to 15 hours of training. Today the Air Force Academy program qualifies young cadet glider instructor pilots in approximately 25 hours of flying training. Surprisingly much of the Army Air Corps glider pilot ground training is very similar to the current cadet soaring operating experience. The only distinct exception between our times was the Army Air Corps war time need to fly training sorties at night. Man, could we try that one day? However, despite any comparisons that might be made we stand proudly here today acknowledging one commonality, the men and women of the past and of today have all stepped up to the challenge of learning to fly in an unpowered aircraft, where the words “Go around” are not part of our vocabulary. Now Captain Norton along with Cadet 1st Class Leonard and 1st Class Bigoto the M day Flight Commanders for the academic year 2017 will present their up graders with their G Wing. Additionally, Colonel retired Wally Miller will present the cadets with a gift.