Aviation Ground Officers School,
Class O, Section ? (probably 5 or 6),
Jacksonville, Florida

15 March 1953 to 15 May 1953

AGO Class O at JAX
Back Row: Donald W. Thiede, Francis J. Von Moll, Roger L. Visser, Donald F. Wall, Edward J. Streator, Jr. (?), Todd Tillinghast, Richard B. Walls
Middle Row: Robert M. ter Horst, Robert G. White, Frank M. White, Donald R. Walker, Kenneth Wooster, William E. Tessmer, Doak M. Worley, Jr., James A. Zimmerman
Front Row: Robert P. Tiernan, James W. Titus, Arthur L. Weinman, Irvine A. Wilcox, Robert J. Williamson, Robert A. Wilson

Based upon the fact that almost everyone in the section had been in Fox Company in OCS I would guess that there were probably six sections in AGO School and that we were section #6.

After commissioning I had about a week at home. While on leave I went to the Eastern Airlines office in the old (long gone) Hotel Onondaga at the corner of South Warren and Jefferson Streets in Syracuse in order to make flight reservations. On departure day my parents drove me to Hancock Airport for my first ever flight. The old terminal was a small building resembling a bus station, and it was on the opposite side of the field from the present terminal. One had to walk out across the tarmac in order to board an old (Mohawk Airlines) DC-3. I climbed in and up the sloping aisle to my seat (maybe 23 passengers). Lunch was served on trays that we stabilized on our laps with pillows. After several stops along the way, probably including Binghamton, Scranton, and Baltimore, we arrived behind schedule at National Airport in Washington. I had missed my connection and was routed around most of the southeastern U.S., including Richmond. I mainly remember flying in a Martin 404 (with a ramp up the rear end) and a stop in Atlanta, where I saw my first segregated drinking fountains.

Arriving in Jacksonville in the late evening, I took a cab to the Jacksonville Air Station. The windows were open, the air was balmy, and I was fascinated by my first palmettos and the other vegetation. What a change from the long OCS winter on the shores of Narragansett Bay and from upstate New York in March! It was the beginning of a very relaxed two months. The curriculum was not difficult and the atmosphere was much like a country club. There was even an outdoor swimming pool at the door of the BOQ, and the BOQ was so uncrowded that I was assigned a double room all to myself.

All I can remember from the classes was having to teach a demonstration lesson to the group and a field trip to Pensacola. For my lesson I chose to teach introductory probability. I thought it was terrible, but the instructor seemed to have been impressed. While at Pensacola we went aboard the USS Monterey to observe the naval cadets doing their first carrier qualifications (in SNJs). Hairy! I recall standing up on "vultures row" and watching a plane nose up just aft of the island. I stared transfixed as its tail came up and seemed only yards away from my nose.

Soon after we were there, I remember that Doak Worley and I spent one weekend on a fishing trip. I was never a fisherman, but it was something to do on a weekend. Although I don't remember the actual mechanics of it, I must have been using public transportation to get to and from downtown Jacksonville. About halfway through the time there I bought a yellow 1951 hardtop Chevrolet coupe from one of the CPOs who was an instructor in the school. Maybe I paid $1200, and I financed it with GMAC. One of the officers who was an instructor recommended that I insure it with USAA, and I did. I now pay cash for my cars, but I still insure them with USAA.

Although I had had a driver's licence for about two years, it was not until I got that car that I really learned anything. It is a miracle that I survived. It wasn't all that long before the end of the two months of school and I had to drive home on leave. Donald Thiede, who had a 1951 Ford, and I traveled in tandem for quite a distance. I suppose the last time that I ever saw him was someplace in northern Georgia. Robert Wilson rode with me on that trip as a passenger. I dropped him off in New York City, so that he could get a train home to New Bedford, and that was the last time I ever saw him.

My next duty station was HATU, in Norfolk. There I met fellow students Orville Wendell McGuire and Coleman Everett Meyers, and there the most interesting part of my career began.

Go to my Navy File on my old web site.

Kenneth Jennings Wooster
27 Abdallah Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-3302
(607) 753-3558
File created: November 20, 2003.
File modified: November 20, 2003.