FRANK P. HAYES, 0-768089 - PILOT

First Lieutenant Frank Philby "Bud" Hayes (1924-1945) was born the 3 July 1924 in Filer, Idaho to Fay Fern Phibly and  Frank Hayes. After graduating from Filer High School in May 1942, he spent his time working on his family farm. He entered the service, and completed basic training at Santa Ana Army Air Base in June 1943. Bud was certified for pilot training on the 24 June 1943 and and was accepted to the 7 month long Aviation Cadet program, attending Basic Pilot training at Hemet, California in July 1943. Bud began Primary Flight Training at the Ryan School of Aeronautics (Hemet - Ryan Field) in Hemet, California in July 1943. The airfield was opened in September 1940 by the United States Army Air Corps. Flight training was performed with the PT-17 "Stearman" as the Primary trainer along with the Ryan PT-21 "Recruit." Bud's transfer from the Ryan Flight School occurred as promised in October 1943.  The Army Air Force sent him to Merced Army Air Field, Merced, California, part of the Central Valley of California.  Today it is the site of Castle Air Force Base.  During WWII, Merced was home to the Western Flying Training Command of the 4th Airforce, training 30,000 pilots before war's end.

The Advanced Pilot Training would continue to use the Ryan aircraft as well as Boeing-Stearman Model 75 aircraft.   The training schedule was certainly intense and Bud's first letter home postmarked, October 18, 1943, notes he wrote it at 1:00 a.m. after an exhausting day.  His days begin at 6:00am with training often not ending until 8:00pm. Bud notes he is now undergoing night flight training in which he does not get much sleep.  He completed two days of "cross country" flights of over 600 miles. Daytime is filled with ground school.  Bud now has logged 110 flight hours.  He notes that 35% of the trainees who began with him have washed out of the program. Just completed is instrument flying.
His parents having advanced him $5.00 to carry him over to payday, he dutifully returns the $5.00 in the letter home. By November 1943, Bud had graduated from Merced Army Flying School sending home a postcard picture of the graduation.  Dated December 8, 1943, he advises he is off to Douglas Army Airfield, then believing it's the last training assignment before being deployed.

Douglas, Arizona in Cochise County, 118 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona is about as far and secure from the War in the Pacific as one could get.  Located near the Southeast corner of Arizona where it meets Mexico (at Agua Prieta) and New Mexico borders, the area was vast grasslands and mountains.  Founded in 1901, it was the site of smelters servicing nearby copper mines. Today it is the site of Douglas Municipal Airport (KDGL). It was the ideal flatlands for the Army Air Force in 1942 to establish an airbase.  Douglas included six operational runways and ranges for training on machine guns and aircraft ordinance. The base of 5,500 primary mission was advanced training on two engine aircraft, primarily bombers and was under the command of the Western Flying Training Command, Santa Ana, California (where Bud began his service). Training aircraft included the BT-14, AT-6, UC-78, AT-9, AT-17, and B-25. December 9, 1943,  Bud writes home that he about to be at the last stage of his advanced training. "The Army will either promote me or demote me" he says.  Questioning if its premature, he mentions they have already provided him his "Officer" bars for his uniform as  2
nd Lieutenant, though official promotion orders have yet to be received.  The war is moving quickly. Bud is surprised at the cost of his new officer's uniform.  The Army Air Force has provided him a uniform allowance of $250.  Many of the local shops near the base are more than that, but the Major shows him a local dealer who will outfit him for $200.

On February 9, 1944, Second Lt. Frank Philby Hayes received formal graduation diploma from the U.S. Army Air Force Advanced Flying School at Douglas along with the offical commision as officer and Air Force Pilot Wings.
Word would come two weeks later and Bud was quickly transferred to Advanced Navigation Training at Selman Army Airfield in Monroe, Louisana. Soon after, Bud received word that he would be receiving follow-on training on the PBY Catalina in Pensacola, Florida. May 14, 1944 Bud writes home for the first time from the Naval Air Training Center, Pensacola, Florida. The final work at Selman had been intense as was the rapid transfer to the combined Army Air Force/Navy Joint PBY Training program in Florida.  Bud again apologizes to his parents for the unusually long delay between letters.  His training was so busy he writes, "I turned down an invitation to the beach [most likely from a lovely girl] so I could write." Two days after receiving his wings at Pensacola, Bud was whisked to Keesler Air Field in Biloxi, Mississippi.

By 24 May 1945, Bud had made the marathon flight in his PBY from the United States to New Guinea. Bud flew many missions for the 2nd ERS and he, along with Flight Officer Jack Leonard and an observer were killed on take-off the 10 October 1945. There are no historical records of this mission or the loss, but a Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) along with statements from the Navigator on board pieced their last days and the fateful crash together. His awards and decorations include the Air Medal per General Order 1951, dated 10 September 1945.

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