In 1998, Tom Brokaw used the phrase, ” The Greatest Generation" when he wrote his book by the same title. Some thought it was a catchy marketing phrase. Read my story, and I think you'll agree, that this generation was indeed The Greatest Generation. Thunderbird Field is part of America’s storied aviation history. It was considered a training base that was “steeped in multicultural tradition” with student pilots from America, Canada, Britain, Argentina and China.
In late 1930's, another World War in Europe was inevitable. The German Air Force had amassed over 20,000 pilots and trained the largest reserve of pilots ever in the history of mankind. Simultaneously, Japanese Army Air Service was wrecking havoc throughout Asia, mainly China.
It was in the late 1940's that the leadership of the United States and the US Army Air Corps, General "Hap" Arnold, saw the desperate need for skilled aviators. With only a handshake between General Arnold and Leland Hayward and Jack
Connelly, Southwest Airway founders, planned for the nation's first civilian flight training center in Phoenix, Arizona.