tv Military Aviation in Spokane Washington CSPAN September 2, 2017 12:31pm-12:46pm EDT
activism that went into that moment had long been predicted. people had been begging for some remedy for the housing discrimination and the police brutality. that frustration cannot be understood as just chaotic and incoherent. >> three-day labor day weekend on american history tv on c-span3. long, american history tv is showcasing the history of spokane, washington. to learn more, visit www.c-span.org/citiestour. we continue with our look at the history of spokane. right from the get go, was immediately behind the development of aviation, commercially and militarily. they decided to start something
committee military base here in spokane because they wanted to make this the most northern military airbase in the country. this was a great spot because it was just an old municipal golf course. it had lots of open area, lots of space. that was really needed back then for taking off in different directions with the wind speeds. , spokane hasen been 100% behind developing aviation here. currently, we are in the historic felts field brick hangar. 19was initially broken in 23 -- and was introduced in 1934. onewas touted as
of the most modern hangers in america. it was the modern base for our first squadron. squadron --ervation 116th observations watch in. -- observation squadron. 116th observation squadron first volunteered in 1954. it was made up of businessmen and officers from the great war. it was pretty bare-bones. the first couple of hangars were torn down from the old airfields in france and brought over here by steamer ship. the first mission of the observation squadron, observation being the key name mother was aerial photography.
-- there was aerial photography. it was crucial back then because it would be able to help locate enemy movements behind enemy lines. it was a strategic item for the army back then. there wasn't an army yet. they needed to get bombs on artillery and major it was getting to where it needed to go. sure it was getting to where it needed to go. dh4, a bomber plane. --sported a huge b12 engine it was lagging behind as far as aviation technology behind the european countries.
we had not yet invested in advancing our aviation technology at the time. it was not manufactured here in the states. huge, robust engine, 240 horsepower -- that thing gets you going. pilots were fighting to get into that. there was only one third the other planes that arrived were the jennies -- the jenny was the common nickname. was fabric wings and wooden framework held by metal wire. todayfer that to a pilot and he would say you are nuts, not getting in that thing, but these guys did it it was a dangerous occupation. felts field is called felts
field today because our first officer casualty in the unit was james felts, a lieutenant who flew in world war i. local in a jenny flying a chicago newspaperman around the field and came in on a low approach. the engines were so big and the body was light, it would lift up the tail, so when he was coming in for a landing, the plane stalled and they crashed in both perished out here. -- and both perished here. they renamed this area felts field in his honor. if you think of the wild west as the exploration westward, the
20's was really the expansion of exploration upwards across the country. the air was the new frontier. tolly, when it comes promoting military aviation, here, it really comes down to that unit commander who is in charge of the airfield at the time. here locally, that was taken on by our first commander, major -- hehatcher, who wrote was a huge name here between 1924 in 1927. to get people enthusiastic, would purposely do something out here at the field.
1925 was our first air show. 1926, they did aerial maneuvers in the countrysides in newport. racesthey had the air here in spokane, which was a huge deal. a town this small did not have an area seven. it was usually cleveland or chicago or new york. -- at town this small did not have an air show. he said you want to have this thesene in spokane, people are enthusiastic, you are going to get big crowds. it will be exciting and you will get a lot of publicity and everybody will get a lot of money. he successfully talked them into it. at the time, spokane was the smallest town that ever hosted these. when he came back, he was met by
charles lindbergh who had just flown his famous flight to paris. his plane was parked right out here and major thatcher was shaking his hand in a welcoming him for those september air races. it was a huge event. 9900, almost 10,000 people. people from all parts of the northwest were coming to this location. they were coming here to see the show for four days. it was the first time those air races had made a profit over expenditures. on the maput spokane as far as aviation back then. after the war, the squadron was
reformed here at felts field under the command of telford wallace. our first brigadier general rank in an aviation unit. he was the first to do it as air military. he was instrumental in groundbreaking for the super airport that was being built in geithner field. that was originally called sunset field and was renamed after a famous aviator from the air force side. were retreading 50 ones -- we were coming into the jet age.
germany kick started the jet age with their jet fighters during the war. get themthey didn't off the assembly line fast enough. these jety clear that fighter plans were advanced and none of our planes could keep up .ith them it was difficult for a pilot to knock down one of the jet aircraft. that the jets were going to be the future. as technology developed, the first jet to come here was the shooting star. the engine was a little underpowered. as good as felts field was, having a massive range for airfield, it wasn't quite long enough for these jets, fighter jets to come from. it would take the entire course of the runway and then a little
bump at the end to get enough air to get off of this particular field. became theer airport location for fighter jet squadrons. it was renamed the 116th when we moved up there in 1948. for a while, it was the only squadron assigned to protect the northwest air approaches for america. i squadron was the shield that was keeping america safe for quite a long time. in 1910 to six, the department dust inse decided to 1976, the department of defense decided to repurpose those squadrons. a lot of them went to aerial refueling, which was not new technology. 1976 and itoped in
was a little constant changes as ,onstant ages -- for 20 years these guys had been flying fighter jets. the king of the skies. then, they are told you're going to get these gigantic boeing 707 air refuel or's and fly those that refuel -- boeing 707 refuelers and fly those. what? when they told them where they were going to be going -- it is not a glamorous fighter jet, but you're not going to be home anymore. as a pilot, home defense was home. you never left. kc 135, you are going places. to refuel go to guam
planes that were going overseas to japan. you're going to the philippines, britain, germany. that's where your missions are taking you. i could are going, hm, use some vacation time while doing my drill work. ok, we are in. since 1976, they been doing refueling missions. there's a common thread of military history in the northwest from 1924 to present day. tour staffes recently traveled to spokane, washington. learn about spokane and other stops on our tour on www.c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, every weekend on c-span3.
we continue with our look at the history of spokane. >> up next, herbert hoover scholar george nash talks about the defining relationship between the president and his oval office predecessor, calvin coolidge. this was part of the herbert hoover presidential library conference called "presidential partnerships." >> i'm going to introduce our second speaker. dr. george h. nash is our foremost authority on the life and times of herbert hoover. receiving a phd from harvard university, nash's dissertation, the conservative intellectual movement in america since 1945, was quickly published and remains a seminal study on this topic. on the recommendation of william f. buckley, hoover presidential library association, now the hooverre