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Thread: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

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    Default Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    Hello/Bonjour,

    I am looking for the Squadron (a RCAF Squadron I suppose) in which Sgt. William C. Aney (service number T-10601561) served after receiving his wings (in April or May 1943) at the Service Flying Training School of Calgary, Alberta, Canada - I do not know the SFTS number by the way. Sgt. Aney was an American citizen who enlisted in December 1941 and who was in December 1943 transferred to the U.S.A.F. I thank you beforehand for your assistance.

    All the best,
    Frederic

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    Frederic

    Looks like he served in the U.S.A.A.F. with the 354th FG/356th FS, and became a P.o.W. after failing to return in P-51 43-12205 on March 22nd 1944:

    https://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/227089

    https://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/11161

    He then flew F-86s in Korea:

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.c...&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    He was killed in a plane crash in 1961: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...illiam-c_-aney

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    Hi Simon,

    Thank you for this answer, I already had these informations after browsing the web. What I wanted to know is which RAF or RCAF unit he belonged to before being transferred to the USAAF (to the 356th Fighter Squadron).

    Small addition; on October 30, 1961 the plane Bill Aney was flying was a Navion - a North American or Ryan, I could not yet determine the manufacturer.

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    Frederic,
    He was killed in N8803H: https://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinq...umberTxt=8803H
    which as you can see was registered as a North American Navion (scroll down to 2 of 2).
    Andy

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    William Clarke Aney
    BIRTH 21 Feb 1922
    New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
    DEATH 31 Oct 1961 (aged 39)
    Ely, White Pine County, Nevada, US

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    Andy and Paul,

    Thank you for these answers. This research has taught me also something as his rank of T/Sgt. (...an equivalent to his rank in the RCAF I suppose) was not common in the USAAF where pilots were more often officers - I thought it was impossible for a non-commissionned. Now, where was Aney before he joined the 354th Fighter Group?

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    There were quite a few 'Flying Sergeants' in the USAAF,Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover started their careers as Sergeants flying fighters.
    The USAAF eventually 'invented' the commissioned rank of 'Flight Officer' which was junior to 2nd Lt (kind of a midshipman/ensign level rank),I believe this rank was introduced to give operational pilots better POW conditions.Chuck did very well to get from Sgt to Brig,especially as he just wanted to fly.
    Many of the US glider pilots were 'Flight Officers'.

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    This is a little article from the USAF Museum,but the US Army did have enlisted pilots in the 1920's as well.

    On the eve of World War II, it soon became apparent that there were not enough college graduates or young men with two years of college to fill planned aviation cadet requirements. As a result, in 1941 Congress authorized an enlisted pilot training program. As aviation students, they would receive the same primary, basic and advanced flight training as aviation cadets who would be commissioned as officers upon graduation. Enlisted students would graduate as staff sergeant pilots and would serve as flight instructors, transport pilots and in similar utility roles. (Later in the program, technical sergeants and master sergeants were allowed to retain their higher rank.) It was never intended that sergeant pilots be placed in a position of command over an officer. Candidates had to have a high school diploma and rate in the top 50 percent of the class, with at least 1.5 credits in math, and be between the ages of 18 and 22.

    Despite discrimination from some officers, 2,576 enlisted men are known to have graduated as sergeant pilots under this program. Ultimately they flew virtually all types of AAF aircraft. Although most were elevated to the new rank of flight officer with officer privileges or to second lieutenant before assignment to a combat unit, about 332 pilots departed the United States while still sergeants and about 217 flew combat missions overseas as sergeants. Not counted in this number are other sergeant pilots based in the United States flying antisubmarine combat patrols. At least 137 Americans enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and were trained as Noncommissioned Officer pilots, then later transferred to the Army Air Force as sergeant pilots before promotion.

    Half of the first graduating class of flying sergeants went overseas with the P-38-equipped 82nd Fighter Group. Members of this class shot down 130 enemy aircraft, and nine became aces. In all, former sergeant pilots destroyed 249.5 enemy aircraft and 18 became aces flying fighters. William J. Sloan was the leading ace of the 12th Air Force with 12 victories. Four WWII enlisted pilots became general officers (seven pre-WWII enlisted pilots also became generals). Also included among former sergeant pilots are international race car driver Carroll H. Shelby and USAF test pilot and later air show aerobatic performer Robert A. "Bob" Hoover.

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    I knew there was a 'last flying sergeant' - this just from wiki for brevity.
    Some people had complex military careers :)
    Even up to the Vietnam war - if Officers were 'Rifted' or came to the end of their engagement - they could re enlist as a sergeant - then on their last day of service they reverted to their highest achieved commissioned rank for pension entitlement etc.

    George H. Holmes (February 6, 1898 – February 11, 1965)[1] was the United States Air Force’s last enlisted pilot.

    Originally, Holmes served in the United States Navy during World War I. When he tried to reenlist after the war, he was told he would be assigned to a destroyer rather than a shore position. Holmes declined and joined the Army instead.

    Holmes enlisted in the Army as a mechanic in 1919, became a pilot with the rank of corporal in 1921 but left the army for civilian life. He joined the Army Reserve with the rank of lieutenant in 1924 and rejoined the army in 1928. He left again in 1929 to fly for Pan Am in South America. He rejoined the Army in 1931 and served as both a mechanic and a pilot in the 1920s and 1930s. He became a sergeant in 1931, a technical sergeant in January, 1940, and a master sergeant in March, 1941. He was breveted as a captain in 1942, promoted to major in 1945 and achieved the rank of lieutenant-colonel before leaving the Air Force in 1946. Only a few months later he re-enlisted for a fourth and final time as a master sergeant.

    In 1946 he was one of only 55 remaining enlisted pilots in the Army. When the US Air Force was created as a separate entity in 1947 he was one of only two remaining enlisted pilots. Master Sergeant Tom Rafferty was the other one until he died in a plane crash in 1949. Holmes continued to fly until he retired in May, 1957.[2]

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    Default Re: Sgt. William C. Aney (American in the RCAF)

    Aney appears to have enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on December 2nd 1943. If you can find out where he enlisted, it may help?

    Is there any evidence to say he came to Europe after his time at the S.F.T.S., or did he stay in North America until he enlisted in December?

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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