* The United States Air Force *
~ and Me ~

~ Luke AFB Glendale, Arizona ~


An Air Force photo of the Base from a pamphlet sent to me by Howard Gleason
He was at Luke just after I left. He emailed me about my AF web page and that email
Got me started on the re-scan and rewrite of all my Air force pages...
If you can find the red arrow there on the right
That was the location of the Gunnery Photo lab I was asigned to...

I was transferred in grade, Airman First Class and AFSC 40350, Senior Camera Repairman to Luke AFB in Glendale Arizona in January of 1952...

A small base at the time, mostly old wooden barracks and buildings... I saw a recent satellite photo, completely different and much larger...

There were photographers assigned to process 16mm gun camera film and Camera repairmen to repair the gun cameras... There was a surplus of camera repair guys so when the NCOIC learned I had been working in Photo supply, he was happy to turn that over to me

The NCOIC in the front office, a very pleasant guy to work for as I found all that I worked for to be...
By the way, NCOIC means Non Commissioned Officer in Charge

A later photo than the first, a new NCOIC and some new hires... Break time maybe?

And again I had a desk and a supply room as my own territory

Photo Supply Sergeant Smith... Notice I left room on the desk sign for another S in front... Planning ahead even then...

Here comes Dave... but where is his box of film magazines to trade

OK, there it is along with a gun camera for repair

Dave had an area on the flight line where he handled his end of the film processing... He would pick up loaded 16mm film magazines, load the cameras and install them in the fighter trainers

Dave Bennett and I went to the same camera repair school at Lowry AFB at the same time... So after being assigned to different bases for over a year, a surprise to see him at Luke when I arrived there...

Dave had to label the magazines and keep track of what camera was in what airplane to check the pilot's hit score

After the film magazines were brought to the photo lab, they were unloaded in the darkroom and stapled together on a larger reel... Then fed through automatic film processing machines...

After processing they were wound back on reels and returned to Dave

Somehow he got the film ready for the pilots to see and check their target hits

One piece of film was saved and known as a local blooper... One fighter pilot trainee shot the tail off the tow target plane...

And after hours? Well, I had a key to the lab and it was all ours after business...

I was in the lab most nights after evening chow and the guys would drop in

And obviouly Dave was a regular visitor

And then a new Base Commander got a wild idea to paint all the buildings... Before they were all the same color...

So this joker decided on all different colors... Weird pastels... Looked like a Mexican village after we got it all done...

What is this.. a Supply Room or a reading library...

Well, a handy place to work on model airpalnes too...

This was supposed to be a flying model of the P-51 Mustang... I never did complete it...

I designed and built this little jewel of a biplane from scraps... Wonder what happened to that?

Oh WOW! Here is Ben Mamina... an Italian from New York... He thought he could sing like Mario Lanza (NOT!) Here we are playing with a ~wire recorder~ that I bought at Sears in 1949... Hauled that thing everywhere with me... Here I think we are laughing at one of Ben's tries at opera!


Here is Dave with his Chevy parked in front of the NCO club... Man was that a nice place on a warm evening... Had a patio garden with a waterfall, all lit up in colored lights... Super burgers... and cold beer... I can still hear Kay Starr singing 'Wheel of Fortune' on the juke box... in the twilight there...

All dressed up and going where? Where can you go in Arizona weather dressed like that?

Well... Dressed up? What is this?... Well Rodeo days in Phoenix and you have to have something Western on or they arrest you...

So this is as Cowboy as you can get me...

Oh Yes! I got a part time job through an AF friend already working there... Hirsch Collin's Texaco in Downtown Phoenix...

Every night I drove in and two of us handled the night business... Nice additional income and a burger or taco on the way back to the base...

And we got to keep any money we made on after hours grease jobs or any electrical repairs I made...

And here I am filling up my 1949 Jeepster... I don't think we got a discount on gas though...

And MAN! was that a nice cool pool out in that Arizona heat... We were in that almost every day and during working hours too...

Yeah, that's me, not exactly Olympic form, that's coming...

And Dave... posing for Playgirl or what!

Now showing off to us amateurs!

Yeah .. that's me.. SO WHAT?

OK.. SHOW OFF!

Hey Mom! Look at ME!

Well now... Down the road a piece from the base was a resort... And in the off season they would rent us a horse to ride... There I am on Sugar, the one I liked best...

The White Tank Mountains in the background


Hi Yo Sugar!.. Away!..... Well, Sugar did have a mind of her own and didn't like riding in the heat... Took any excuse to turn back to the stable, but I was usually in control... But one day she decided to take a run full speed back home... But I did prevail and we did ride til the end of my paid for hour...

Another Air Force Cowboy... Don't remember this guys name... Just that he was in the Gun Lab Crew...

And a cowboy does love his horse...

Now, some of the planes that were at Luke while I was there

Here an old T-6 trainer prop plane...


The P-51 Mustang, probably the fastest and best of the prop fighters

A whole line-up of the P-51 or later, the F-51

Here an F-80, 'Shooting Star' the first operational jet fighter in the USAF

TR-80, a double cockpit trainer version of the F-80

Another view of the TR-80... One of the best looking early jet fighters

The F-84, 'The Flying Cigar', not the best lookin kid on the block

Most of the Fighter Target Training at Luke then was being done in the F-84

Then the arrival of the F-86 'Sabre', a better and better looking sucessor to the F-84

And the dependable hard working B-25... A flight of these was modified to take off from aircraft carriers to bomb the Japanese mainland in WWII

A group photo of my outfit at Luke, the Squadron Commanding Officer far left and me, center, first row

Off we go... for a Flyover at Luke Air Force Base

While at Luke AFB, I was reccomended for transfer from AFSC 40350, Senior Camera Repairman, to Senior Photographer, AFSC 23250...

After a Board Review, was reassigned in grade, something rarely done...

Now musing over that next long trip to Randolph AFB in Texas?



* Lowry AFB Colorado *
* Scott AFB Illinois *<
* Luke AFB Arizona *
* Randolph AFB Texas *

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* To My Personal Pages *
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