and radar equipment. They requested that the Signal Corps
transfer to the Air Corps those offi cers who had been working
on Air Corps programs. They also requested that the Aircraft
Radio Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Airfi eld, Dayton, Ohio
be transferred to the Air Corps. Secretary Stimson found
these allegations to be true and issued orders to correct the
Thus I was transferred from the Offi ce of the Chief Signal
Offi cer to Headquarters, Army Air Forces on April 1, 1945.
Some of the Signal Corps offi cers who were transferred were
somewhat upset by this. "We will be second-class citizens,"
they complained. "All Air Corps offi cers are trained pilots
and wear wings to prove it," was another common theme.
The Air Corps in retrospect did its best to convince us that we
were not second-class citizens. A few (very few) were sent to
the Tactical Air Force School in Orlando, Florida to take the
Radar Bombardier course and receive radar observer wings.
Years later, one (and only one) of our group of former Signal
Corps offi cers (Pete Sandretto) was promoted to Brigadier
General. He had been in charge of radio communications for
United Airlines before the war. Some of us with advanced
engineering degrees were put in research and development
jobs since the great majority of Air Corps offi cers had only
two years of college before becoming aviation cadets and
taking fl ight training. I was eventually promoted to the rank of
Colonel. Now you can appreciate why I believe in miracles.
Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose
After three months in Air Force headquarters, I was
assigned to be the project offi cer on several guided missile
projects. My Colonel suddenly received orders to go to
California and inspect Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose. Hughes
had received government fi nancing of $18 million to build
this wooden fl ying boat. President Roosevelt personally had
ordered the Household Finance Agency to provide Hughes
with the money. Now Hughes had asked the government
for about $4 million additional money to fi nish construction.
The Army Air Corps was asked to send an expert out to see