A little over six months ago my granddad, Bill Stevens died. It was right around the time of the birth of my second daughter and so I was unable to attend the funeral. The summer before his death I began asking my dad lots of questions about Granddad, and began to feel that we were a great deal alike, I'll probably go into that conversation at some point with these post. This weekend as I was cleaning in my garage I found a story my Granddad's neighbor had written about him that chronicled his career as a military pilot in WWII.
I wanted to share some of that story and some of the details as I have recently been think a lot about my Granddad.
Though my grandfather wanted to be a pilot before he entered the service he was in training to be an infantry officer. It wasn't until his girlfriend, later my grandmother had a good friend who was the secretary to the head of Army personnel who would process the application for his transfer into the US Air Force. My Grandmother hooked him up! He began his training at Bennett Field, SC in 1943 as part of Class 44C. His flight training was conducted in a Boeing Stearman BT-17 biplane, a radial-engined, two-seat, dual-control airplane that has always been capable of aerobatics. Only 40% of the group that began training with him made it through, the other sixty were washouts.