Re:Deciding who got to be a pilot or co-pilot
My father had originally trained as a aircraft mechanic working on fuel and oil cell cobmat repair. During that time the Army Air Corps had a regulation that only college graduates could become pilots. By 1943 they realized that they were going to have serious problems manning all the medium and heavy bombers with only college graduates as pilots. They quickly instigated a program they called "Flying Sergeants" (After the British program) where they would accept enlisted personel to try for pilot training. My father applied and was accepted. The plan to keep their rank as sergant was discarded soon after the program started and it was decided that if you passed pilot training, you were given the rank as a 2nd lieutenant like everyone else. However it was understood that you would not become a command pilot unless you showed exceptional ability. My dad never did become a command pilot, but his command pilot always let him fly and command half the mission and was not one of the "wheels up, flaps up and shut up." command pilots that used their co-pilots to watch engine gauges and little else.
Son of 1st Lt. Richard N. Coyle (1922-1982)
739th bombardment Squadron, 454th (HBG), 304th Bomb Wing, 15th Air Force. co-pilot with Ed Green (command pilot)
San Giovanni Airfield, Cerignola, Italy - Jan 44 until Jul 44