Memories of Malden

Do you have a story to share from your time at Malden Army Airfield or Malden Air Base? We'd love to hear from you! Meanwhile, here are some memories of Malden that have been generously shared with us and may sound somewhat familiar to you.

Malden class 55-L. Aviation Cadet
 Great Instructor Reynold S Smith. Demanded excellence. Had a knack of keeping you just shot of your breaking point.
Went on to only F-86 slot at Nellis after graduation.
Flew numerous aircraft including F-105 Test Pilot at Republic Aviation Corp. Also Career with Pan Am & UAL

Theodore Osinski Class 55-L

I was stationed at Malden Air Base for about nine months, from August 1952 until April 1953.  I was a staff sergeant and worked on the line under a old warrant officer whose name I cannot remember now.  I was stationed at Vance Air Force base at Enid, Okla when I volunteered for this assignment.  I drew perdiem and lived in town during my time there at Malden as they had no living quarters for enlisted personnel.  I really enjoyed my time spend there and wished I could have spent the rest of my enlistment stationed there but they were going to close down the base so I was send back to Vance Air Force Base.

Joe Jarrett

As written to Sherry Granger from Barry De Vries:

Barry DeVries and James Granger CLASS 54-M

Receiving your email made MY day. I'm so happy that I was able to help in some small way. As I was writing the note in the card, I kept wondering if I was saying the the right things.

Jim and I first met at Malden Air Base, MO where we would take our primary flight training. We shared a room with two other guys, Don Long and Bob Reisenwitz. Housing was in chicken coops, converted to barracks. We got 20 hours in Piper Cubs before we moved on to the T-6, a larger and more complex aircraft.  Sometime after our solo flights in the T-6, we had to do a night cross country from Malden to Paducah, KY to Dyersburg, TN and back to Malden. Half of us went in that direction and the other half in the opposite with a 1,000 feet altitude separation. We were separated from those going in the same direction by 10 minutes each.  The T-6 had no navigation equipment so, all this was done by drawing our course lines on charts and following those with compass headings. We were required to do our engine run up checks with the cockpit canopy open. During that procedure, Earl Wenberg's chart flew out of his open cockpit. After an oh s--t, Earl thought oh well, I've been around this course in daylight and besides that, I'm following Granger and I'll be able to see his lights. Everything went ok on the leg to Paducah but, guess who wound up over Memphis instead of Dyersburg? Yup, Earl. There were instructors orbiting at each of the two turning points so, I guess it was the one over Dyersburg. who heard him on the radio calling for help saying "this city looks a lot larger than Dyersburg."  He was then told by the instructor to "continue the orbit where you are and I'll come over and lead you home." That as almost 64 years ago so, I'm not sure that my memory of it all is correct. I think Jim flew the correct course and Earl probably just lost sight of him along the way and headed for the city lights. 

After our six months at Malden, I went to Vance AFB, Enid, OK and finished there with my rating on the B-25. I didn't see Jim until years later at a class 54-M reunion in either TUL or OKC. I forget; we had both a year apart. We kept in touch and attended a Malden Air Base reunion together, several years later.


Barry De Vries & James Granger CLASS 54-M

More than anything I wish that I would run across a picture of my Dad, Ralph Summer, in his uniform--he always looked so handsome.  The best memory I have of the airbase is the wonderful 4th of July picnics they would have.  I thought it was always so neat!  I also remember the pool at the base.  That is where we always went swimming.  I spent many summer afternoons there. Blessings, Marilyn Chana

Ralph Summer 1950's Guard

How nice of you to keep all these memories alive! I was in Class 57-G arrived Jan'56 to Jul'56, then to Goodfellow AFB, TX for last 6 mos., B-25's. Flew T-34&T-28's at Malden. I think we were 4th class to fly T-34/T-28 after change from T-6. Civilian pilot instructors (a lot of crop dusters) and small cadre of military, who flew our check rides. Great instructors and friendly town folks. I was ROTC grad/2nd Lt. so could go to town more than Cadets. Those guys really got there butts worked off! My instructor was Bobby Jack Mars, local crop duster, great guy and instructor, stood about 5'-6" but could he fly!! Remember first welcome to Malden AB, told it was northern most pilot trng. base, but how good WX was and flying time on schedule. That night norther came thru and aircraft were frozen to ramp for 2 days! During trng. on night solo cross country (triangle route with instructors at turning points) an aircraft flew thru the projection light at a drive-in movie!   Next day all students who flew the night before were told we would be washed out if the culprit didn't confess. Nobody did, and we never heard another word about it. We finally concluded it was one of the turning point (instructors) aircraft! Flew B-25's another 8 mos. after got my wings(Jan'57), then T-29's 3 yrs.(support to Nav. Trng) at James Connelly AFB, Waco, TX. Off Active Duty but stayed in Active Reserve another 17 yrs. I didn't know history of Malden AB all these years but sure nice to read these memories. Keep up the good work! 

R. Strottman Class 57-G

R. Strottman, Class 57-G

I got lost on a rather long VFR solo cross country on a nice spring day (good visibility) which started at Malden went to Paducah, KY then to Jonesboro, Ark. and back to Malden. One of the visible landmarks along the way was the Air Force Base just outside Blytheville, Ark. Anyway for some reason Jonesboro never appeared even after I flew another 20 minutes beyond my ETA. Knowing I was lost I flew down to 4,000 feet and began looking at names of towns on Water Towers and found I was over Marked Tree, Ark, about 20 miles south of Jonesboro. Because of the added distance this created, my fuel started to run low as I flew back to Malden. I thinned out the mixture as much as I could without causing the engine to overheat, to save fuel, and reduced the RPMs, which also used less fuel. As I entered the Malden landing pattern the gauges said I was close to empty, and I made a good landing, no go around, parked the plane and returned to the flight shack. Instructor Russell Essex was there so I told this story to him, and how low my fuel gauge registered when I'd shut the plane down. He went out to see in the dash how much fuel was put in the plane after I'd shut it down. He came back in and said I had only .2 of a gallon left and if I'd had to go around I'd never have made it. My response was, "But I made it!" That's what being young is all about, no sense of risk. I didn’t' give it a second thought. It would be different today!

H.D. Jr. Class 56B

H.D.Jr., Class 56-B

My aviation career started as an Aviation Cadet in Class 56-N and lasted for 43 years. Paul Johnson was my flight instructor and mentor. He was a perfect instructor for me and I "heard" his voice prompting me throughout my career. "Pappy" Dewald released me for solo. I remembered what Pappy said when he was given a demonstration flight in a T-33, "All these years I have been flying at a stall!"

The PA-18 and T-6s were great plans to learn fundamentals on flight.

My next assignment was Bryan AFB for T-28 and T-33s, then Perrin AFB for the F86-D. I was assigned to Selfridge AFB with the Air Defense Command for the next 5 years, flying F86D/: and F-106s. When the Berlin Wall went up, I was assigned to the 526 FIS, Ramstein AB, Germany, flying F-102s the next 4 years. I left the Air Force after 11 years and joined Unit4ed Airlines. I flew most all United's aircraft, both domestically and internationally the next 32 years.

Malden Air Base and Anderson Air Activities served me well beyond all expectations!!! A special thanks to you and all my aviation friends.

     -- L.K., Class 56N

L.K., Class 56-N

I arrived at Malden Air Base in July of 1954, Class 55R, as a Foreign Cadet from the Honduras Air Force.  My Instructor was Mr. Widner, cigar smoker, excellent Pilot and human being.  I left for Bryan AFB in January 1955.  I have great memories of the old Base.  I flew for 30 years (military and commercial) and logged over 24,000 hours.  I am now a proud Citizen of the USA, my Country that I learned to love while I was undergoing training with the USAF. 

    -- C.G. Class 55R

C.G., Class 55-R

I went through Malden as an aviation cadet in class 56-B. 

I was at Malden from Oct 54 until April 55 before transferring to Bryan Texas for single engine training.  My instructor was named "Doc" Edwards.  I certainly tried his patience as I had not even driven a car before soloing the PA-18 and the T-6.  His instructions were apparently great as I went on to survive 20 years as an Air Force pilot.

- G.W. Class of 56-B

G.W., Class 56-B

Class of 54k- "Mean" Gene Sackey was our instructor. I will never forget our first meeting and his short speech. "My name is Gene Sackey and I have about 10,000 hours and have never had an accident, any questions?" I took one look at him and said to myself this hillbilly is going to teach me to fly. Well he went on to bigger and better things. As for myself, I retired after 20 years and most memorable part of my career was flying 100 missions over North Viet Nam in the F-105 (thud).

    -- F.S. 54K

F.S., Class 54-K