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The WW II Glider Pilots

There is very little pictorial history and artifacts of the WWII era glider activity at the Atterbury Army Air Field and we need your help finding photographs, memorabilia and personal stories about this great time in history. Contact the museum if you can help. Also, if you can help identify the dates, locations and people in some of our photo, please let us know.

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Many WWII CG4-A Glider artifacts, one eight scale CG4-A, and a CG4-A Glider nose in can be seen at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum. The museum also has an airworthy 1941 TG-2 training Glider.

Click on photographs for full size viewing

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A rare color photograph of CG4A's in tow. From the markings and numbers on the gliders they do not appear to be from Atterbury Army Air Field. This photo was found in the museum archives. Two photos from Atterbury Army Air Field show the number 10 and 50 and Troop Carrier insignia on those gliders stationed at the former base. An interior view of a CG4A Glider. Chris Rumley the 314th AW historian recently talked with some individuals in Stuttgart , Arkansas who seem to think the photo may have been taken near the old Stuttgart Army Air Base. The ground below looks like harvested rice fields and bean fields very common in that area. Gliders trained at the air base. This information is offered as a possible location of the photo.

 

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The first photograph shows the CG4A nose markings of the gliders at Atterbury Army Air Field in 1945.  Standing next to the glider is Don Allen, a glider pilot back from overseas duty. A CG4A Glider and C47 tow plane over Columbus, Indiana during WWII from the J. Bernard Craves collection.

These photos are more from the J. Bernard Craves collection, a WWII Glider Pilot stationed at the former Atterbury Army Air Field. All were noted as taken at Columbus, IN

This photo has the names Sgt. Fielding and Big "Chief" noted on it taken at Atterbury Army Air Field during1945.

The name Radanke was on this photo of a CG-4A at Atterbury Army Air Field taken 1945.

 

CG-4A #50 on the ramp at Atterbury Army Air Field with unknown pilot standing next to the glider. A photo taken from a CG-4A toward the C-47 tow aircraft. Another photo looking west over Atterbury Army Air Field during 1945.

Wayne Palm standing next to a CG-4A Glider. A snapshot taken from the cockpit of a CG-4A Glider as the C-47 lifts off during the take off sequence of the two aircraft.  Another CG-4A on a long tow appears to be taken from another glider in tow.

We are unsure of the location of these two photos. The back of them are stamped "Official Photo Army Air Forces George Field, ILL." The notation on the front states "Short tow glider cutting loose" and on the right photo,  Emergency Snatch pick up" and the photo has 805AB-29 Apr. 45-L83-Openhouse noted on it.

C-47 Specifications

Span: 95 ft. 0 in.
Length: 64 ft. 5 in.
Height: 16 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 33,000 lbs. loaded
Armament: None
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830s of 1,200 hp. ea.
Crew: Six
Cost: $138,000

PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 232 mph.
Cruising speed: 175 mph.
Range: 1,513 miles
Service Ceiling: 24,450 ft.

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CG4A Glider and a row of glider fuselages in an Official U.S. Army Air Corps photograph. (click on the photos for full size viewing)

 

CG-4A SPECIFICATIONS

Span: 83 ft. 8 in.
Length: 48 ft. 4 in.
Height: 12 ft. 7 in.
Weight: 7,500 lbs. loaded
Armament: None
Engine: None
Cost:
$24,000

PERFORMANCE
Maximum towed speed: 150 mph.

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These two Official Army Air Force photographs were taken by the Base Photo Section, Bowman Field, Kentucky during WWII. A C-47 makes a 120 MPH pick up of a fully loaded CG4-A Glider and a successful pick-up is made by the Troop Carrier Command aircraft. As an auxiliary of Bowman Field, Atterbury Army Air Base assisted the Troop Carrier Command in training pilots.

Glider Pilot training was conducted at the Atterbury Army Airfield during 1944 and 1945. In March of 1944 liaison type airplanes arrived at Atterbury Army Airfield from Bowman Field, Kentucky for the glider pilot training program. The small planes with their motors shut off give the filers practice identical to landing a glider.

In June 1944 several gliders arrived at the air field and were the first reported at the field. Also, on June 19, 1944 a glider landed in a cow pasture east of the airfield on the Marr farm. The glider was snatched from the field the next day by a C-47 in an air-ground "close line snatch." An experienced C-47 pilot and glider pilot from Stout Field at Indianapolis were called upon to make the pick-up. A jeep pulled the glider to the corner of the field and a tow line was laid out in front of the glider and stretched across two vertical poles about 12 feet high. It took four tries for the C-47 pilot to pick up the glider. It became a common site around the area for gliders to make unscheduled stops in farm fields.

Full scale glider operations got under way on March 3, 1945. Atterbury Army Air Field commander, Major Robert E. McDonald announced that it would be the center for all glider operations in connection with the training of Troop Carrier Command pilots at George Field. George Field was northwest of Vincennes, Indiana in Illinois. Atterbury Army Air Field was also used for practice take off and landing by C-47 and C-46 transports.

Glider training continued after V-J Day during 1945. On February 7, 1946, high winds sent eight old gliders on their last flight. The gliders were all retired to the salvage section of the field when caught by the wind. The wind gusts reached 50 miles an hour at times as recorded at the field. The normal take off speed of a glider is 40 miles an hour and when hit by the gusts the began flying.

This information was supplied by Bruce Dalton of Columbus a WWII Glider Pilot from articles researched in past editions of the Columbus newspaper. Bruce was active with the museum staff had vast knowledge of CG4A Gliders for the museum glider project. Bruce passed away in 2007.

 

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Bruce Dalton, 95er, museum volunteer and WWII Glider Pilot. The big smile is because he was working on a CG4A Glider nose section for display at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum. A young Bruce Dalton standing in front of his CG4A Glider in England during W.W.II. Bruce Dalton and the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum CG4A Glider Nose Project and Scale Glider featured in the Hoosier Times/Herald Times Newspaper.

 

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On display at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum are CG-4A Glider parts donated by Glen Russo of Clifton New Jersey. Thanks to Glen the museum has glider bench seats, escape hatch, jump seat and seat backs. These items were found in the attic of a farm house in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. In the photograph above you can see how the bench seats and seat backs were used in the glider.

 

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L-4 Liaison Aircraft used for glider pilot training at Atterbury Army Air Force Base. The engine was shut down for gliding training. It was also used for flight time for the glider pilots and sometimes it was used as an aerial taxi cab flown between Bowman Field, Louisville Kentucky and Atterbury Army Air Field.

The TG-3A is a two-place, dual control glider manufactured by the Schweizer Aircraft Company for the Army Air Force during WWII. Students received about six hours dual instruction in the TG-3A before being trained in the CG-4A cargo glider.

There is a historical marker dedicated to the WWII Glider Pilots. The marker is located on Bakalar Green between the control tower and rotating beacon. Many W.W.II Glider Pilots and their families were on hand for the dedication of the historical marker.

 

This group of photos was donated to the museum along with uniforms, ribbons, correspondence and other artifacts by Melinda Filer Easley  and Pamela Thomas, daughters of World War II Glider Pilot David E. Filer. These great photos show the daily life of a WWII glider pilot, the uniforms, equipment, locations and most importantly, the people. Many of the snapshots were taken during Glider Training. Museum Volunteer and former WWII Glider Pilot, Bruce Dalton can be seen in some of these photos along with David Filer.

Without the former service members or their families donating these one of a kind historical photographs, equipment, documents and artifacts to our museum, you would not be able to view them, and they would be lost to history.

From left to right show the interior of the Glider Pilots barracks at a training site, and various photos of gliders during training. Many of the photos had "Place Studios division of The Goodeve Company Lubbock Texas" stamped on the back.

 

This sequence of photos show the view from the cockpit of a CG4A glider and the C-47 towing the glider. The middle photo shows a glider landing, note the tail still airborne. The photo was taken from the cockpit of another glider that just landed. The last two photos show a good side view of a glider and the uniform of the day for the Glider Pilot.

 

The photo on the left picture show David Filer, the shortest in the photo facing the camera and Bruce Dalton on the right side of the photo with his back turned to the camera. In the second photo David and Bruce are in the center of the photo. The center photo an L-4 aircraft can be seen and Bruce Dalton is 6th from the left, back row just under the wing tip. Tent City with a soldier shaving shows some of the Glider Pilots living conditions. A CG-4A being worked on in the photo on the right.

 

 This group shows David Filer in England, a censor stamp that appeared on back of some of the photos, the pilots lounge in England where they were censoring mail and a street scene in England.

The museum is always looking for W.W.II glider artifacts, particularly from the former Atterbury Army Air Field. Contact the museum if you have anything you wish to donate associated with the W.W.II Glider Pilots.

 

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Send your questions or comments about this web site or the museum to: lakegc@aol.com  Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum 4742 Ray Boll Boulevard Columbus, Indiana 47203
Copyright 2000-2012 Last modified:
January 16, 2012