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Dayton Still City of Aviation Miracles


This article appeared in the Journal Herald on December 12, 1943
Dayton Still City of Aviation Miracles
     Dayton, birthplace of aviation, city of aviation miracles, today holds the deepest secrets of America’s air might.
     From the massive laboratories and headquarters building of the Materiel Command at Wright Field, the high-ranking Army Air Forces officers who hold the answers to American air secrets supervise the development and production of the nation’s military aircraft.
     As Dayton and the Materiel Command join in ceremonies this Friday, Dec. 17, honoring the 40th anniversary of flight and the Wright Brothers, Daytonians can take pride in maintaining the leader’s role in aviation, a role which today has made the home of the Wright Brothers the most important aviation center in the world.
     The precious heritage of Wright Field brought down through the years from the original Air Forces development center at old McCook Field has resulted in such Materiel Command achievements as development of the supercharger, automatic landing gear, the cantilever wing, high octane fuels, pressurized cabins, the 75mm. cannon-carrying B-25, high altitude oxygen equipment, and many others which have made American aircraft superior and commercial aviation practical.
     Heading the mammoth Materiel Command organization which embraces the Wright Field experimental laboratories, six large Procurement Districts throughout the nation and production and inspection experts who work in aircraft plants to assure that the Air Forces get enough of the best equipment, is Maj. Gen. Charles E. Branshaw, commanding general of the Materiel Command.
     General Branshaw and his staff together with the heads of the Materiel Command divisions, engineering, production, and inspection, have worked relatively unsung on one of the war’s key problems, mass production of up-to-the-minute military aircraft.  As a result of the work of this group of men and the thousands of military and civilian personnel working under them America has solved the problem of turning out thousands of superior combat planes without lowering the quality of our planes.
     These are the men who hold the answers to past, present, and future airpower of our great fighting team, the Army Air Forces.  In the planes these men develop, procure, and follow through production, our airmen will win the battle of the air.
     General Branshaw first entered the aviation section of the Signal Corps in 1917, and was hospitalized for injuries suffered in a plane crash at Issoudon, French training school of American pilots during the First World War.  A long period of outstanding service at Air Corps posts preceded his assignment in 1935 as executive officer and finally commanding officer of the Hawaiian Air Depot.  Prior to his assignment as commanding officer  of the Material Command, General Branshaw headed the Western Procurement district of the Command at Santa Monica, Calif.
     Brig. Gen. A. E. Jones, heads the procurement division which purchases all airplanes and equipment for the Air Forces.  General Jones, a native of Cincinnati, entered the Air Corps in 1917 and served in the office of the Air Corps chief in Washington from 1919 to 1934.  He came to the procurement division in 1939.
     Brig. Gen. Franklin O. Carroll heads the engineering division, experimental and devolpment center at the command.  General Carroll assumed his position in 1939 and since that time some of the most important engineering developments have come out of Wright Field. He entered the Army in 1916, saw service on the Mexican border and entered the Air Corps in 1917.
     Brig. Gen. Alden R. Crawford, chief of staff, came to Wright Field in 1940 as technical executive.
     Brig. Gen. Orval R. Cook, chief, production division, supervises production on all Army Air Forces contracts.  Originally assigned to Wright Field in 1939, he formerly served in the Philippines and at West Point.
     Col. Turner A. Sims, deputy chief of staff, formerly served as flying instructor and assistant post operations officer at Kelly Field, and instructor at West Point.  He was director of propeller and wind tunnel laboratories at Wright Field in 1936.
     Col. William D. Eckert, comptroller, was assigned to the Wright Field budget office in June, 1940.  He was commissioned as a pilot in June, 1930 and was successively stationed at Langley Field, and in Panama as engineering officer and at Randolph Field as flying instructor.
     Col. E. S. Adams, command surgeon, was formerly attached to air surgeon’s office and served as assistant surgeon, Combat Command.
     Chief of the Judge Advocate’s Office is Col. Franklin P. Shaw, who attended the Army Industrial College before reporting here in 1939.
     Col. George W. Polk, chief of inspection division, served as flying instructor in the First World War and was also previously assigned to Barron Field, Mass., Luke Field in Hawaii, and at McCook Field.
     Col. Merrill D. Burnside, air inspector, previously served at the Wright Field armament laboratory, and at Langley Field.
     Lt. Col. Daniel E. Farr, deputy chief of staff, served in the First World War as a captain in a machine gun battalion.
     Lt. Col. Harlan Y. Smith, chief, personnel section, was formerly assigned to the engineering division as chief of the administrative unit.
     Lt. Col. E. K. Merritt, intelligence officer, formerly served under General Branshaw as plant protection officer and chief, security section, western  procurement district.  He also served as a special investigator with the FBI and Air Corps. and served in the First World War.