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11 Camelot!» February 1946-June 1949 The five-hour trip from Godman Field to Columbus, Ohio, went without a hitch. Coming out of the mountains of Kentucky onto the broad plains of Ohio, our eight-year-old '38 Buick, Black Beauty, galloped along like a frisky colt gobbling up the miles in between . It was late afternoon when we saw the sign on the outskirts of the city with its insignia of Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, and the like proclaiming "Welcome to Columbus." Before leaving Godman Field I had checked with a couple of my buddies who had kinfolk in Columbus and had obtained addresses and telephone numbers. I knew that such advance planning was necessary because Lockbourne was a vacant base with no billets available and, although it was in "the Nawth," Columbus, Ohio, was no haven of unrestricted housing or hotel accommodations. Therefore, I had to plan ahead so that Pete and I would have a place to lay our heads when we first arrived in town. We were indebted to Lieutenants James E. Harris and Lewis Lynch for steering us to their relatives, who helped us find temporary quarters in the city. Jim's Aunt Edith was a kindly "little old lady" who took us in the first night of our move to Ohio. Then we were able to secure a room with an in-law of Lewis's where we stayed for a few weeks. Mrs. Geraldine Hamilton was as congenial a landlady as could be found anywhere. Her home was a two-story cottage with living room, dining room, and kitchen downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs. It was spick-and-span, neat as a pin, 205 206 and yet had the ambiance of being"lived in." BB, a Chinese Chow, was Gerry's watchdog and was the most "human" animal I had ever seen-or been evaluated by. "You must be good people," Gerry said, when BB's tail began to wag as we patted her head. "She's very choosy and doesn't take to everybody. So we'll be glad to have you folks live with us here as long as you like." With our living accommodations all set for the time being, I was ready to tackle the task I was sent to Lockbourne to do. Pete and Gerry hit it off fine right from the start so I had no worries in that regard. On Monday morning I drove to Lockbourne and found base headquarters where some officers of the 477th advance party were getting set up. I was shown a map of the base and where the 99th'S squadron area, with orderly room, supply room, and enlisted men's barracks, was located. Also where the B 0 Qs were located. Prior to the 477th's move to Lockbourne, a B-I7 combat crew training center and the Army Air Corps all-weather flying school had been stationed there. In some of the buildings earmarked for the 99th I found literally hundreds of spare parts, like roller bearings and various metal gizmos, in cabinets and closets that had simply been left behind when the B-I7 training outfit moved out. I had not the slightest clue as to their use or purpose. Or how to dispose of them. One of the officers in the headquarters advance party knew how to go about salvaging all of the surplus materials, which were now superfluous because of the end of the war, and took the spare parts off my hands by moving them out of our area. Within the week some others from the 99th came to Lockbourne to complete the setup of the squadron area and facilities before the entire complement of men and planes moved in. All over the base other units were busy setting up and settling in. From March I3, I946, when Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., assumed command of Lockbourne Army Air Base, it wasn't long before all units and facilities were in full operation with Colonel Davis, his staff, unit commanders, and personnel, all Americans of color, in full control of the entire base. Variously referred to by the men and women of Lockbourne as« A-Train "the Colonel," "B.O. the C.O.," "Bo the Co," and "the Old Man," or just "the Man," he was very clearly in charge. From the very beginning Lockbourne Army Air Base bore the stamp of Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., graduate of West Point, son of...


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MARC Record
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