Thursday, January 8, 2015

WWII Civilian Pilots Trained at Thunderbird in Glendale

by Noah Austin ARIZONA HIGHWAYS

These days, Luke Air Force Base is the most well-known military installation in the Phoenix area.  But back in the 1940s, another base to the east was filling a vital role: training civilian pilots to serve in the Army during World War II.  Thunderbird Field 1 was located at what today is the corner of 59th Avenue and Greenway Road in Glendale.  Back then, though, it was an isolated piece of desert land - until general Henry "Hap" Arnold came along.

In 1940, with the war raing in Europe and Japan becoming a threat in the Pacific, Arnold realized the U.S. would  need to bolster its air power if it were to enter the war.  Time was of the essence, so Arnold recruited the founders of Southwest Airways (later called Pacific Air Lines), Leland Hayward and John Connelly, and Life magazine photographer John Swope to help find investors for the project.

With Hollywood stars such as Jimy Steward, Robert Taylor and Henry Fonda on board, construction on Thunderbird Field 1 got under way on January 2, 1941 - nearly a year before Japan attached the U.S at Pearl Harbor.  Arizona's clear skies, combined with its relatively sparse population at the time, made the Valley of the Sun an ideal location for the air base.

Well-known artist illard Sheets designed the layout of the base, and from the air, it resembled the thunderbird found in the mythologies of several native American peoples.  The field began operations March 22, 1941, with a first class of 59 civilian pilots.  Swope, a former ilitary pilot himself, was among the trainers.

Before long, Thunderbird had expanded to two satellite airfields: Falcon Field in Mesa and Thunderbird Field 2 in Scottsdale.  By the time the war ended in September 1945, more than 16,000 Allied pilots, including hundreds of Chinese airmen who served in Chiang Kaishek's army, had been trained at the Thunderbird fields.

Today, Falcon Field is owned by the city of Mesa, and Thunderbird Field 2 is now Scottsdale Airport.  As for Thunderbird Field 1, the federal government sold it to a retired Army Air Forces commander, Lt. General Barton K. Yount, for $1 after World War II ended.  Yount established the American Institue for Foreign Trade at the site.

Today, you might know that learning instituion by a different name: The Thunderbird School of Global Management.  Looking at the school's campus, you might have a hard time imagining that it once was a bustling military base - this is, if it didn't still include Thunderbird Field 1's circa-1941 aircraft control tower, reopened on Veteran's Day in 2011 after an extensive renovation.  The tower houses a restaurant, an alumni and veterans gallery, and a student common area.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WAVE - The Floating Clinic



I will be heading to The Congo once again this month for another medical assessment with Project C.U.R.E.  I’m looking forward to returning to and lending my assistance to this developing country.  To add to my trip this time around, I will also be working with the great folks at WAVE – Water Based Aid, Value, Engagement www.floatingclinic.org  WAVE is a water based aid floating clinic that has been helping the communities that live around the lake basin, Lake Tanganyika, Africa for over five years. 

Lake Tanganyika is the second largest late on earth.  It is surrounded by four countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia.  About three and a half million people live on the shoreline and twelve million live on the basin as a whole.  There is no viable healthcare system and the waterway is the only way that any goods or services move around Lake Tanganyika.

So, the only way that this can be provided is via the hospital ship that WAVE developed to aid that people - the floating health clinic.  It has two operating rooms, a laboratory, dental services and is able to respond to emergencies.  Now, due to the ship, in this neglected area WAVE delivers vital healthcare, distributes necessary medical supplies, establishes important communications, gathers essential medical data, and builds strong relationships with the people and government of the region.
Describing the work they undertake is a task in itself so instead they use three words to describe what they do.  Aid.  Value.  Engagement.  Because they use the lake itself as their highway, they call it water based thus the name WAVE.

You may wonder what water based aid is – they began by using boats to deliver medical supplies and transport people to remote lakeside health centers and soon realized how important the late was to the region.  So, they expanded their vision with intent to build a full size ship to act as a floating hospital and research facility – as well as a communications and training hub.  By doing this, their hospital will become the regional hospital for the basin.  In doing this it strengthens the capacity of local health centers and proves a teaching partner that is desperately needed.  It also provides supply chain support, diagnostics, treatment including surgery, as well as education for the care workers.  The late becomes a healthcare community!

Last year, WAVE impacted more than 75,000 individuals!  To continue extending their work on and around Lake Tanganyika, they need our help.  Each donation is used to improve the lives of thousands of people in the Lake Taganyika Basin.  Their work is making a profound difference on all levels and I’m looking forward to helping them in their continued success and growth.

Here’s how you can help too… Donate Here 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meeting the First Lady of Panama

While in Panama for a Project C.U.R.E. medical assessment, our group had the pleasure of not only visiting the hospital del niño and San Migual Arcangel, but to do so with the First Lady of Panama. She is a kind lady and the people of Panama love her. It was an honor to meet her. We brought a couple hundred C.U.R.E. kits for the children and there was a media frenzy to document the visit.







Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another Panama Trip Update

Panama update - amazing day learning what full circle really means...from hospitals across the US to a warehouse in US to container through Panama Canal to hospital del niño in Panama City. we came, we saw, we are impressed!!





For more information about my philanthropic work, please visit www.charlesirion.com  

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More from Panama

Today in Panama - getting ready to visit another hospital for assessment this morning...here's a recap of yesterday's media blitz with the First Lady of Panama at hospital del niño and San Migual Arcangel.







For more information about my philanthropic work, please visit www.charlesirion.com  

For more information about my Summit Murder Mystery series, please visit www.summitmurdermystery.com 

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Project C.U.R.E. Trip to Panama

So far so great in Panama!!  Project C.U.R.E.Panama has hit the ground running visiting hospitals and learning of the health care system...and the container is here!! What generous donors we have!!





For more information about my philanthropic work, please visit www.charlesirion.com  

For more information about my Summit Murder Mystery series, please visit www.summitmurdermystery.com 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Mexico

Great long weekend in Bahia Kino, Mexico. I packed 50 pounds of clothes and brought them along with food donations to the poorest there coupled with a meeting with the missionaries Jesse and Jenny in Guaymas/San Carlos. I met 20 children ages 8 and under. A christian based orphanage that was wonderful, and I was thrilled to also donate clothing, money and food to them. Looking forward to going back some time.










 
 
For more information about my philanthropic work, please visit www.charlesirion.com  
For more information about my Summit Murder Mystery series, please visit www.summitmurdermystery.com 
Follow me on TWITTER
Friend me on FACEBOOK
Subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel