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.
Ralph Summer 1950's Guard
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
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-GR. 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 56BH.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 56NL.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 55RC.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-BG.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. 54KF.S., Class 54-K
"Our class had several Italian students and they loved the soft American bread. I can still remember them in the mess hall with their trays stacked high with many slices of bread. And I remember the woman (Ma) who ran the mess hall."H.D., Class 56-B
- - H.D., Class 56-B, 1954-55
"Remember the place like yesterday. Especially the cadet barracks that were like converted motel rooms. Remember the rooms housed four cadets to each and had windows that went sideways until Uncle Andy, Mr. Anderson the contractor, had the place redone and then the windows went up and down. One of our class also got a small radio station started there with a range of about five miles that we found the AF Tac Officers were listening to since we played Kenton, Brubeck and the like. That is, until one night they were having a party with Mr. Anderson and one of our guys said something disparaging about the old man!"A.D., Class 57-J
-- A.D., Class 57-J, 1956
"I remember that whenever someone did something stupid, a silence would fall over the cadet mess hall at dinner and there would begin a tinkling of spoons on glasses. Then the name of the guilty party would be chanted by all present until the guilty party stood on his chair for all to see, and announced his error for all to hear. I remember it well because I stood on a chair one evening.R.R., Class 54-K
-- R.R., Class 54-K, 1953