Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Craig AFB Legacy

Selma was once home to the largest flying field in the U.S. This Air Force plane greets visitors who enter the Craig Airport and Industrial Complex and is a reminder of the part the Air Force Base played in training pilots. Cadets received advanced training for the AT-6, the T-37 and the T-38. More than 30,000 students flew here between 1941 and 1977 when the base was among those closed during President Jimmy Carter's administration. Today, the runway serves as Selma's airport and has a runway that can accommodate jets. 

56 comments:

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

How interesting! I didn't know that about Selma.

Kate said...

Love the photo. Airplanes are such a draw and objects for great imagination. Reading a memoir right now written by Lindbergh's daughter. Interesting man! Very complex, too.

Chris said...

This is a very interesting post. I had no idea that Selma served that way. . . .Did you guys not have an airport there until the Carter admin? Or, did they move it?

Thanks for the MMD Award!

Can you tell me how to capture that image so I can put it on my blog, please?

Jim said...

I was stationed at an AFB in Austin in the 80s. There was an air park there. The base has been closed, its now the airport. I wonder if the old planes are still there, and how are they exhibited.

Fabrizio - ikol22 said...

Thank you very much about my nomination. Just now I published my 10 blogs winners of "Make My Day Bloggers Award" :-)

Steve Buser said...

Thanks for the "You Make My Day Award" -- I actually got two of them -- which I think means I have to spread it on to 20 people. The complexity of doing that set me back a day or two. But I finally decided to do it over several days so as not to overwhelm anyone.

Thanks for the honor and for your many visits. I alway look with eager anticipation to see what you have posted.

-- steve buser
New Orleans Daily Photo

Claiborne said...

I was in Class 65H and have many fond memories of Selma. That was the class that was in training when the famous march took place from Selma to Mongomery. My wife and I lived next door to a wonderfamily named Jack. The wife was Bernice Jack. I recall that my mother in Richmond, VA had to send newspaper clippings to us to see what the rest of the world was seeing about the march and the unrest because we did not see nearly what the papers said.

Bill said...

I was stationed there at Craig in 1975 to late 1976. I have allot of good memories from being there. I was an aircraft mechanic on the T-37 and T-38.It's to bad they closed it. After Craig I went to Germany but I sure do miss being at Craig. I almost most married a Selma Girl but that is a differant story.

Owlslair said...

I was wondering what had become of Craig AFB. I was married at the chapel just passed the main gate. We lived in the NBF housing. I stood on the side of the road and watch as the civil rights marchers passed by. The photo of the plane brought back a lot of memories.

jc peterson said...

J. Chuck Peterson:
I was stationed at Craig from l952 until l953, waitng for our class 54N to be called up for pilot trainning. I spent a lot of time on the flight line and in Selma at MA & Pa Browns resturant, and at the local American legion.
To bad the base had to close, it was an experience there.

Sid said...

I was stationed there At Craig AFB after basic in 1951 and was assigned to the 3615th Med. Group to work as a Dental assistant at the dental Clinic.
After a year I transferred to the Dental lab at the Clinic and worked there till discharged on September 21st, 1955.
I was from Philadelphia and never been in the south before.
I soon adapted and had a most enjoyable time in the city of Selma.
Hope you Selma girls are all still well.
Anyone who thinks he knows me or wants to talk about the Base can email me

Rambling Round said...

Thanks for visiting, Sid. So glad you enjoyed living in Selma way back then. Hope you hear from old friends.

Fran Herring said...

I'm trying to locate an old friend of mine - Anna Lynn Funderburk. I think her father was a sergeant. He was stationed at Craig AFB, Alabama in 1964. I'm pretty sure they were from Louisiana. If you have any info on where they might be, please email me at fherring73@yahoo.com

patsfan25 said...

I was stationed there from April 73-august 74 As a aircraft mechanic specialist on T-38 and T37. My dorm was down by the Bowling ally. Then 4 of us rented a house off base down by the drag strip. Found many mushrooms out there. I remember after a few inches of snow we hung around the drive-in by the bridge and watch car accidents at the 4 way. Gary Boutin,from NH

Joe V said...

I have many fond memories of Selma and Craig AFB. I was there from Dec 67 until Jan 69 in Class 69-04. We lived in a large apartment building that we were told had been a hospital in the Civil War. It was near Union and McLeod.

Lots of fun and good people.

Carl said...

I was stationed there From 1975 until it closed. I have great memories. Maybe a friend of mine will see this email. His name is Harry Steck. He was a pilot, and I was a Jet Mechanic (T37, T38).

wmess2003 said...

My name is Sam (Spook) Simmons and I was stationed ar Craig Field from Feb. 1953 until 1956. I was in the 3715th Field Maintenance Squadron. We serviced and repaired radios in T-33's, T-28's and a couple C-47's and B-25's. I played on the baseball team in 53 and 54. A new base commander discontinued the team in 55. My email address is penwmess2003@yahoo.com.

Ron Reichenberger said...

I just found this blog site.
I was at Craig AFB for pilot training in 1975. Too bad it closed as as Air Force Base. T37s and T38s were always flying around the area, some of them with me in it. By the way, Carl, I knew Harry Steck - he was an instructor pilot then. It's great to see familiar names. I enjoyed the Selma area with its old mansions from the pre-civil war days.
My email address is rmr@measuretech.com

Rambling Round said...

Thanks to all you former Craig servicemen for your comments!

Sid said...

I'm originally from Philadelphia, PA
I was in the USAF
I was stationed at Craig from November 1951 till September 1955.
I was attached to the 3615th medical Group.
I worked at the Dental Clinic as a Dental Lab. Tech.
I designed and saw the building of the new dental Lab while I was working there.
I have found memories of Craig and also the town of Selma.
I'll be 80 years old in November and my mind goes back to those younger days in Alabama all the time.
If anyone was stationed there when I was please feel free to write me.
That goes also for the girls I dated back then.
Thanks
SSgt Sid Bayer, USAF Retired

Rambling Round said...

Sid, Thanks so much for your nice comments about Craig AFB and Selma. Have a great 80th birthday!

Sid said...

Thank you for the Birthday wish

muse said...

Hi - My dads uncle S Sgt John Kilmurray served in the 3615 Maint Sq AF and served in WW2 and Korea. Does anybody know if his unit was based at Craig AFB? He was originally from Longford in Ireland (as i am) and lived in NYC. I am keen to find out more about his military career.

Anonymous said...

Air Force personnel aren't the only military with Craig Field memories. I took a portion of my Army OCS training there (1982)after the AFB was closed as an active facility. I have double-timed nearly every square inch of Craig field. Today, I live about 60 miles from Selma and visit the base quite often. I still camp at the lake/recreation area every now and again (no facilities).

Vernon Eugene Rose said...

As a AFROTC cadet, I spent my Junior year summer at Craig AFB in 1959. It was a great experience, my first flight in a jet fighter and especially being welcomed at the local VFW for dinner.
Vern Rose, Professor Emeritus UAB

Rambling Round said...

Thanks for your comment, Professor Rose! Glad you have fond memories of Craig AFB and Selma.

Minicar3 said...

Hello All,
I was stationed at Craig AFB from 11/63 - 9/65. I worked in the unscheduled maintenance hangar for Sgt. Crowder. I worked there along with Ronnie Worll, Don Dice, Charlie Furey, Chuck Massey and a few others that slip my memory now.
I enjoyed my time working there with a great bunch of guys.
Chuck (from Philly originally)

Minicar3 said...

I was stationed at Craig AFB from 11/63-09/65. I worked as a Jet Mechanic in the unscheduled maintenance hangar for Sgt. Crowder. Also worked with Ronnie Worll, Chuck Massey, Don Dice, Charlie Furey and a few other guys I cannot remember right now. I liked going to the Glass House and a few of the local clubs. I enjoyed my time in Selma.
Chuck R(orighinally from Philly)

Anonymous said...

Was a UPT student at Craig from April, 1962, to May, 1963, being graduated with the Class of 63-G. Just learned today that two of my classmates at Craig, Terry Dardeau and Dewey Burchett, had passed away and earned their "Wings of Gold."
So, I'm visiting all of the Craig AFB posts on the Net tonight.
Nolan Bailey

Jerry Lenzora said...

We were stationed at CAFB January 1963 to 1967. I was assisgned to the Physical Training Dept. at the gymnasium. The civilian supervisor was David Smith was a great guy. Will never forget him. Also assigned to the gym: SGT. Ted Hall,A1C Chico, A1C Ollie, SGT. Patterson. These were really fond memories with the Officers in Pilot Training and the permanent stationed giving them the 5BX physical test. Great memories. Will always love that chapter in my life. Will always remember our fantastic civilian friends the BUSBY family..Bill and Janice. Write me if you were stationed there 1963=1967. My e=mail: mantecaimage@aol.com

Sincerely
Jerry Lenzora

Sean Dardeau said...

Mr. Bailey,

Terry Dardeau was my dad. He came to visit me in Birmingham in April of last year. He went out of his way on his return home to Texas to go to Selma back to Craig. When he died I was clearing out his house (he moved back to his home in Louisiana) and found pictures that he took while he was there. He missed that time in his life. Craig was on his "to do" list before he died. Regards to his friends from that time...

Sean Dardeau
Birmingham, Alabama

felix said...

In addtion to the planes listed above,I graduated pilot training in 1952 flying the ...P51 mustang..
I still hava very pleasant memories from my time there.

Norm Nyary said...

I was a T-38 Instructor at Craig from May 1968 until Feb 1972. My family and I lived on base and we enjoyed our tour there very much. Anyone stationed there during that time frame is welcome to contact me at nbnyary@cableone.net

Norm Nyary,
Major, USAF, Ret.

Nolan said...

@Sean Dardeau. Sorry to hear about Terry. My wife and I spent a most enjoyable day together with him and his first wife (Beryl) at Ft. Walton Beach, while we were in pilot training. Wonderful folks...and, we both spoke "Louisiana." Wish you would consider sharing the photos with the rest of the 63-G class. With my condolences, Nolan

Nolan said...

@Sean Dardeau....
My wife and I spent a wonderful day at Ft. Walton Beach with Terry and his first wife Beryl...while we were in pilot training at Craig. Sorry to hear about Terry. Several of us were from Louisiana and became good friends. Wish you would consider sharing his Craig photos with the rest of the class. With sincere condolences, Nolan (Nolan Bailey)

jperryfly said...

I was in UPT class 67E-F. I went into C-141's at Dover then EC-47's at Pleiku and Danang Vietnam. In 1972 I got out and flew for Delta for 30 years. I retired in 2003. I got married while in UPT and I'm still married to the same girl. Living In No Fla at an Airpark. We liked Selma. We lived in the Big D Trailer Park by the the RR tracks. That 5 am train was loud.

Dick said...

I was stationed at Craig from the summer of 66 until the early 70s'. Meet and married my wife of 42 years there (married at the base chapel just outside the gate}. I was a "Link Instructor" and worked in building 232. I remember having to work 7 days a week during a big pilot training push during the Vietnam era. But the best thing I remember about Craig/Selma is the way we were received by the community. We were always referred to as "One of OUR boys from Craig Field". At some previous assignments I was briefed not to were a uniform downtown because of resentment of sevicemen by the local community. Miss ya'll Craig!

Ronnie Bissette said...

anybody know If Craig Field Had a year book for 1956 or Base News Paper I was born in base housing at craig field to LT or CAPT John H Bissette flight Inst. Reply Ronnieboy56@ gmail.com

Bryan Bennett said...

REUNION 67E "Last of the Heavies" Planned for September 2013 at Maxwell AFB. Contact BryanLBennett@gmail.com

Joe Trudo said...

I was stationed at Craig AFB Jan 1965-Mar 1968. There was a small civil airport east of town but Craig was one busy place with pilot training going flat out for the Viet Nam war. Craig was the last base in the Air Force to use the Lockheed T33 trainer in primary fligbt instruction. It was replaced in 1967 by the T38. The T33 is the trainer version of the F-80 used extensively in Korea. By 1967 standards it was fairly arcaic but pilots swore by them as dependable.

Joe Trudo said...

I was stationed at Craig AFB Jan 1965-Mar 1968. There was a small civil airport east of town but Craig was one busy place with pilot training going flat out for the Viet Nam war. Craig was the last base in the Air Force to use the Lockheed T33 trainer in primary fligbt instruction. It was replaced in 1967 by the T38. The T33 is the trainer version of the F-80 used extensively in Korea. By 1967 standards it was fairly arcaic but pilots swore by them as dependable.

Joe Trudo said...

Basically Selma was a dry town so the Legion was the place to go even in the late'60s. Was stationed there 65-68 as weather equip repairman.

Stuart said...

I did my AFROTC summer training at Craig in 1960. Looking back from this point in time, it was a great experience. But at that time it was pretty tough.

jesfrankm37 said...

I went to AFROTC summer camp in '59 and graduated college in 60. I was assigned to Class 62H and my wife and I were at Craig from June 61-June 62. My wife taughtin the primary grades at the base school while I worked on my 'wings'. We were very fond of Craig but were reassigned to Perrin AFB after graduation. We were some of the last pilots to do basic in the T-33.

jim said...

Spent time with the 3615th A. B. Group Hq at Craig AFB in 1952 after returning from Korea. Trying to locate a friend (John Mullins)who served with me while I was there

Jim @ jrwolfe@comcast.net

Larry Hanberry said...

I was stationed at Craig from 7/71 till I was discharged on 6/10/74. I was an ATC radar repairman and worked on both of the radar systems at Craig. I enjoyed my time at the base and in Selma. I met some very nice people while I was stationed there and even dated a couple of the local young ladies.
Larry Hanberry

dalamping said...

Station their from 1967 to 1970. Air Craft Mechanic on the t38. Flight line Hotel company. Our daughter was born at The Selma Baptist Hospital in 1968. A lot of memories.

Dale Nelson said...

i knew a pilot that trained at Craig Airforce Base around the 1963-65 ?, courious if anyone know of his where a bouts. Jim & Nancy Swenson. they lived off base, Dale

UniqueFunny said...

My dad was the OSI Agent-inCharge and Detachment Commander. We returned from the Phillipines where all our neighbors and friends were brown.

But in this new country -- some place called America in 1964 and 1965 -- we weren't supposed to associate with "the colored," who seemed to the 7 Geehan children to be no different than our Filipino friends.
So glad I had parents ho taught us every person is equal before God.

Dad was Capt. Elmer Geehan. Mom is Maureen Geehan.

We attended Craig AFB Elementary, but Fr. Joseph Sullivan, our chaplain, recruited us to the Our Lady of Assumption school run by the "Sisters of Mercy," who at times seemed anything BUT merciful!

My dad was charged, as the leading federal law enforcement officer in Selma, with protecting the marchers after "Bloody Sunday." My mom walked us all to the Craig AFB fence to watch the March. The memory of my dad protecting them will be with me always.

Many fond memories, especially water-skiing at "the lake" on base. Write if you remember, please...

Dennis Geehan

Randywinbush said...

Gary R. (Randy) Winbush. I was stationed at Craig from Dec 1966-April1970 as n aircraft flight line mechanic in Alfa Flight T-37s. Lived first in the Boy Scout building because of no room in barracks. I later mov s to NBF Homes. I started playing golf on the Craig golf course and I. Still playing. I'm planning a memory trip to Selma in Jan 2015. I worked part time at night at Ronnie Brech's Chevron station downtown. I loved my time in Selma and Craig. See y'all soon Selma.

LindaB said...

My dad was stationed at Craig AFB in the early 50s. I attended the base school for 2nd grade and part of 3rd grade. I drove him back there after the base had closed and we saw the house where we lived, it looked so much smaller than I remembered it. I was friends with the Polk girls and the Panky boys - we used to walk out behind the house and it was just sand out there with these burrs that would get stuck to our feet. There was a little stream out there that we used to walk in but then someone came to the house and told my mom we shouldn't go in that water because there were water moccasins there. I remember singing the Stephen Foster songs in school - I sure did miss that when we moved back north. I have several photos of the base the way it looked back then.

Bob Challender Sr. said...

I was stationed at Craig from 1966 to 1970. First started in the engine shop and then to flight line engine conditioning. Still in touch with friends made there. Many fond memories of Craig.

Kerry Lemley said...

My father, Boyd Owens, was stationed at Craig when it closed, then at McConnell in Wichita, Kansas until 1980 when he retired.

LAURENCE LEAMER said...

I am an author. For a book project, t I'm looking for people who were stationed at Craig in the late fifties and early sixties. I'm especially looking for those who were there in 1957, but anyone within five years of that either way would be fantastic. You can email me at leamer@leamer.com or call me at 202 255-8463.. If you want to check me out, you can go to Leamer.com. Thanks for any help. Laurence Leamer

LAURENCE LEAMER said...

I am an author. For a book project, t I'm looking for people who were stationed at Craig in the late fifties and early sixties. I'm especially looking for those who were there in 1957, but anyone within five years of that either way would be fantastic. You can email me at leamer@leamer.com or call me at 202 255-8463.. If you want to check me out, you can go to Leamer.com. Thanks for any help. Laurence Leamer

Charles Ceraso said...

I was in UPT @ Craig AFB, from June '66 until graduation in June '67. After 18 mos. in B-52s I spent a year in Plieku as an O-2A Covey FAC. After returning to SAC, flew my last 6 mos. out of Guam, Arc Light SEA missions. After 6 1/2 years of USAF, I was hired by Delta AL, and retired after not quite 30 yrs. And that was 15 yrs. ago, but it all started the first year at Craig AFB.

C. D. Ceraso Class 68A