Harold C. Stuart Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
Harold C. Stuart

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Civil Affairs, 1949-1951

Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 28, 1978
by Charles J. Gross

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened October, 1983
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

Oral History Interview with
Harold C. Stuart

Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 28, 1978
by Charles J. Gross




CIVIL AFFAIRS, 1949-1951


DATE: 28 August 1978
LOCATION: Tulsa, Oklahoma


6 October 1983


At the conclusion of our discussions on 28 August 1978, Harold C. Stuart orally granted me permission to use this interview however I saw fit. Subsequent efforts to obtain his written permission to use the interview have not been responded to. Because of the great value of the interview and Mr. Stuart's oral permission to use it, I have prepared this transcript for inclusion in the Air Force's oral history collection.

AFSC Office of History






Harold C. Stuart, attorney and business executive, served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Civil Affairs from October 28, 1949 to May 25, 1951. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 4, 1912. Stuart graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1936, and was admitted to the Oklahoma bar that same year. Following service as a judge in Tulsa, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces in August 1942. His active duty included assignments as an intelligence officer with the 497th Fighter Bomber Squadron at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Headquarters Ninth Air Force in Europe, and the SHAEF mission to Norway. After he left active duty in February 1946, he remained in the Air Force Reserve.

In addition to his service as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Stuart actively participated in a variety of civic and business affairs following World War II. His Air Force related activities included being president of the Air Force Association, 1951 1952, and special consultant to the Secretary of the Air Force, 1961 1963. Mr. Stuart also served as chairman of the board of the Air Force Academy Foundation. His extensive business ties included the board chairmanship of the Southwestern Sales Corporation as well as directorships of such firms as Getty Oil, and the First National Bank and Trust Company of Tulsa.

This interview was one of several that I completed in connection with a dissertation on the Air National Guard's history while a doctoral candidate at Ohio State University. The interview took place on 28 August 1978 in Mr. Stuart's office in Tulsa.

I am deeply indebted to the members of the DCS/Logistics Management Systems Word Processing Center at HQ AFLC who transcribed the interview and Ms. Elizabeth A. Maness of the Office of History at HQ AFSC who typed the final draft.

AFSC Office of History



Harold C. Stuart Interview

Appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force

Air Force Association

Organizing air reserve programs

Initial problems with the Air Guard

Maj. Gen. Earl Ricks appointed head of the Air Guard

Air Guard given the best equipment
Civil Air Patrol problems

Stuart’s relationships with top Air Force leaders

Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington

ROTC and the need for a college-educated Air Force officers
Air Force Academy site selection
Housing badly needed at air bases after World War II

Frank McCoy appointed as Stuart’s deputy for Reserve and Guard matters

Capabilities of Air Guard and Air Force Reserve units prior to the Korean War

No real state role for the Air Guard

Air Force had inadequate control of Air Guard units in peacetime

Air Force leaders

Air Guard leaders

Korean War mobilization

1961 Berlin mobilization
Secretary of the Air Force Gene Zuckert
1961 Berlin mobilization
Korean War mobilization

Mobilized Air Guard units strengthened with Air Force reservists and regulars

The Air Force convened the Bob Smith Board in 1951 to develop a long range air reserve forces plan

Influence of politics on promotions

The emphasis placed on reserve programs is conditioned by the availability of money
Many reservists remained on active duty

Missile programs

Pressures by Secretary of Defense Johnson to cut military budgets

Korean War bombing strategy

Little attention given during Korean War to planning the postwar Air Guard

Contributions of General Earl Ricks

The Miltonberger Board and reorganization of the National Guard Bureau

Impact of the draft on the Air Guard

Reserve training programs were inadequate

Influence of powerful Air Guard political lobby limited by constraints on the defense budget

Mr. Stuart didn’t keep his reserve pay except expenses

Comparative abilities of Guard and active force personnel

Airline pilots in the reserves were reluctant to be recalled to active duty

Reserve promotions

All reserve programs of the armed services should be governed by the same law


MR. GROSS: Asked Mr. Stuart to recount the events that led to his being appointed Assistant Secretary of the Air Force in 1949.

MR. STUART: When I got out of the service in 1946, I joined the Air Force reserves, as part of the Air Force Reserve. I got out at Camp Chaffee in Arkansas coming back from Norway. I had served in Air Force intelligence and ended up head of the Operational Intelligence Section of the Ninth Air Force Advanced Headquarters in Europe. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, who was Commanding General, said he would release me. I wanted to get into the invasion of Norway. We thought they were going to remain in Norway and the Bavarian Alps, called the redoubt area, but they had plead surrender. But I was going up as head of Air Intelligence in Norway. So I went to Norway, and immediately after the surrender of the Germans with the SHAEF Mission Norway as A2 or intelligence of the Norwegian mission. I remained there until about December of 1945, came back and got out about March 1946.

I came back to Tulsa and started practicing law again in my old law firm. I was requested by a group of newspapers to return to Norway, Sweden and Finland and attempt to get some newsprint for them. I was successful in that venture and I was asked by General Donovan, who was head of the OSS, to go


back to Norway and set up with their underground in late 1948, early 1949, to set up a procedure for the protection of the Royal family and the Government of Norway in the case of an invasion. Coming back from that, after doing work in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, I was having lunch at the Pentagon with General Robert Landry and Lt Gen Elwood R. Quesada who was the Air Force ....Let's see what his title was. He was head of the reserves and the Air National Guard.

MR. GROSS: I think he was Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff or something like that.

MR. STUART: ….For Reserves and Guard and ROTC. Maj Gen Robert Landry, who was the first Air Force aide to a President President Harry Truman. We were having lunch on a Saturday after I had been debriefed by the OSS group for about a week and there was in the Secretary's dining room at the Pentagon was General Vandenberg having lunch with Secretary Symington. I visited with General Vandenberg, who had been my Commanding General in the Ninth Air Force, and with whom I had a close relationship. I visited also with Secretary Stuart Symington, who was then Secretary of the Air Force. That was on a Saturday afternoon. I'd been gone about six or eight weeks in the Scandinavian countries. I returned home to Tulsa Saturday evening.

Early Sunday morning I received a call from Secretary Symington asking me to return to Washington. He wanted to discuss with me my selection and appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Reserve Affairs and civil


aviation and the other Assistant Secretary with various responsibilities. After some thought and conversation with my wife, I did return and met him the next day, Monday. After a short conversation, he wished to appoint me then as the Assistant Secretary or have the President appoint me. He recommended me to the President for appointment.

I commenced on that day as the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force. One of the responsibilities was reserve and civilian components affairs: Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, ROTC and all matters dealing with those affairs, among other responsibilities.

Up until that time, from 1946 till then, the spring of 1949, I had been active in the Air Force Association, which was organized in 1947. I was the Oklahoma Wing Commander of the Air Force Association. We were very much interested in Air Force Reserve affairs and had then elected a National Director, I believe in 1948, 1947 or 1948. There were a lot of officers and enlisted men who had served in the Air Force or Air Corps at that time. It was the Army Air Corps up until 1947. I remember the bill that was passed by Congress, approved by President Truman setting up the separate Air Force. I believe it was September 1947.

The people who had served in the old Army Air Corps wished to maintain some relationship and identity and continue active in a reserve status. We in Tulsa, not having a military airfield, did not have aircraft assigned. We had a non flying Air Force Reserve unit. Those who were flying or those


who wanted the military bases went to Tinker field in Oklahoma City and possibly others.

The main thing that Secretary Symington was concerned about was the organization, cooperation, and utilization training of the Air Force Reserve and what was the Air National Guard. Apparently, in order to help get the bill approved for a separate Air Force, one of the stumbling blocks was the National Guard Bureau in the Pentagon which was the Army Guard and Air Guard in various states. The Army National Guard had traditionally been under the control of the governors of the various states. They were very jealous about having an Air Guard and the National Guard under the governor's control. They still had some national responsibility but, in the main, the governors considered them as their air force and their army. Historically, the National Guard was used by the governor to take care of insurrections, riots what need there was for protection of state, citizens and property. The governor could call them out at his decision. In order to avoid a loss of possible support to get a separate Air Force, General Carl Spaatz, who was the first Chief of Staff of the Air Force and his staff, agreed to let the Air National Guard filter in through the National Guard Bureau.

MR. GROSS: This is support for the National Security Act of 1947?


MR. GROSS: Okay, fine.


MR. STUART: When I arrived at the Pentagon, the problem was pretty acute. Major General Cramer was then head of the National Guard Bureau in the Pentagon and Maj Gen George Finch, from Georgia, who had been the Adjutant General of Georgia, was the head of the Air National Guard reporting to General Cramer. Their offices were in the same suite or complex in the Pentagon. General Quesada, at that time, was a special assistant to the Secretary. There was a lot of confusion ....

General Cramer became very zealous and jealous of his position. He wanted everything that General Finch, or the Air Guard, wanted to come through him for a decision. General Quesada and the Air Force desired certain training and certain operations and certain procedures which the Air Force wanted. Sometimes General Finch wanted them. Sometimes General Cramer wanted them and sometimes he didn't and he issued a directive that any letter or even phone calls should come through General Cramer. It became an untenable situation, especially when the various governors started calling the Air Guard out for air shows and parades in the middle of their two weeks active duty training. On occasions we would have squadrons from two or three states that made up a wing or group, on the active duty training and the governor would call them back for something that he desired or something which General Cramer approved contrary to the believed best interests of training the Air Guard. Certain of the governors did not want their Air Guard to fly over the state line. They could not fly outside of their state boundary which made it very difficult for their training or maneuvers.


It came to a difficult impasse. I went to see General Cramer and told him that we were sending Air Force directives to General Finch. We would send him a copy but he, in our opinion, could not and should not try to override Air Force directives for the training and the maintenance of the Air National Guard. General Cramer, at that time, then tried to isolate General Finch from the Air Force. They had an Air National Guard .... No, they had a National Guard convention in Montgomery, Alabama. I believe it was in the spring of 1950 at which time they didn't even have the courtesy of inviting General Finch. They said that, if he did come, he would not be recognized.

The adjutant generals of the then 48 states as a group were not recognizing him and they had a very powerful lobby. The Adjutant General Association, and the adjutant generals of the states, they had invited me to make a talk which was cancelled. They cancelled it. I believe that General Renthrough, who had a connection in the White House, sort of liaison with the National Guard, then insisted that I be invited to speak insofar as the Air Force was concerned. Maybe somewhat reluctantly they did.

I arrived in Montgomery and they wouldn't permit General Finch on the floor. He was seated in the balcony. I spoke and tried to give the Air Force side of and reasons why it was necessary for the Air Force to maintain the control of the Guard if they were going to be utilized in the event of emergencies. In their training, their maintenance and most other activities I explained that we would cooperate with the Governors, that we would


cooperate with the National Guard Bureau. I received many compliments on my position and stand at that time. I think I was able to get a much better reception.

General Quesada, in that period, was transferred to another assignment and then Brig Gen John P. McConnell, who later became Chief of Staff of the Air Force, was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary. Gordon Gray was then Secretary of the Army, an old friend of mine. He and Secretary Symington, the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Air Force, and the Special Assistants or the Assistant Secretaries with that responsibility in each department met. After lots of discussion, they decided to appoint a committee from the adjutant generals to work with the special assistants and draft a plan for the best utilization of the Guard--Army and Air Force.

General McConnell was probably the most instrumental person. He was very able, very smart, had a good quick mind, worked well with people. I would say and believe that he, more than any other one person, was responsible for establishing the satisfactory procedures under which both the Army and Air Guard could operate.

It was decided by the Secretaries and the two departments that it would be necessary, because of the friction between General Cramer and General Finch, that both should be replaced. Immediately, the Adjutant Generals Association and a group of the strong National Guard group recommended various adjutant generals of the states, one from Massachusetts, one from Ohio, one


from California, to head the Air National Guard. We looked at them, considered their background, but believed that we would be in the same situation. General McConnell and I had long discussions about one person who had not been recommended nor even suggested, was Brig Gen Earl Ricks, then the Adjutant General for the state of Arkansas. He had a good background in the Air Corps, in the Far East, so I got in contact with the Governor of Arkansas.

General McConnell had come from Arkansas prior to his appointment to West Point. I telephoned Governor McMath and asked if I could come down that afternoon. I called him early one afternoon asking if I could come down that evening and talk with him. I got a B-25 and flew down to Little Rock. I asked if I could meet with him and his Adjutant General, Earl Ricks. The three of us had dinner. I was satisfied that Earl Ricks would be my choice. I asked the Governor if he would release him and said I would like to have him appointed the head of the Air National Guard. We agreed satisfactorily that that would be a good solution.

General Ricks said that, if he did come, he would like to bring two people with him. One was Major Winston P. Wilson. The other was Lieutenant Colonel I. G. Brown. I returned to Washington that night, discussed it again with General McConnell. With the approval of the Secretary and General Vandenberg, General Ricks was named head of the Air National Guard. With him he brought Major Wilson and Colonel Brown.


General Ricks, after serving in the Air Corps and after the war lived in a little town of Stamps, Arkansas. He had run for mayor. This was right outside of Hot Springs. He moved to Hot Springs where he remained in the Air Guard and was elected mayor of Hot Springs. He did a very fine job in cleaning up a lot of bad gambling situations in Hot Springs so he had some political ability. He was friendly, got along very well with people, handled difficult situations with people and immediately, upon taking over as head of the Air Guard, worked along very well with the National Guard Bureau, with the Army Guard, with the Air Force, and had a great rapport with the various states.

He was a good flier, had flown many, many years. He toured the various states. We were able to secure a promotion to major general for him and got I. G. Brown and Wilson promoted. From that time, we had little or no problems at all with the Air Guard, with their active duty training, with their maintenance utilization of their aircraft, with the Army Guard Bureau, or the Adjutant Generals Association.

Following General Ricks' death from cancer in the 1950s, about 1952, 1953, Wimpy Wilson was named head of the Air National Guard. I. G. Brown, I believe, was made training officer. On Wilson's retirement, I. G. Brown became head of the Air Guard. So, for a period from 1950 to the mid 1970s, the three we brought in from Arkansas very successfully headed the Air National Guard. During that period of time, we had excellent cooperation, excellent training. So much for the Guard.


On the Air Force Reserve, I was one of those who started the Civilian Components Policy Board. The Civilian Components Policy Board consisted of one member from the Secretary of each department Army, Navy, Air Force -and they had a special assistant. They had, I believe, two Reserves and two Guards. I believe there were six from each Service. General McConnell and I, we had tried to establish training procedures, administration of all of the reserve forces. We tried to improve the training.

Because the Guard had organizations in the various states and, because they were a more close knit organization, the fighter aircraft or the combat aircraft were generally given to the Air Guard which caused some jealousy between the Air Force Reserve and the Guard. But, they had a nucleus of an organization and they were referred to as the "minuteman" to be called out, because they had a state organization and were easier to train and to keep together. That was always a cause of some friction between the air reservists and the Air Guard. But with General McConnell, I worked on it. I had been a reservist. It worked out pretty well. On a couple of occasions, they were called to active duty, the Guard was augmented by reservists to fill up their table of organization and it worked out pretty well.

We also had the Air ROTC and the Civil Air Patrol. We had problems with the Civil Air Patrol that was made up of non military people and generally those who had never served or did not serve on active duty in the Air Corps, but flew as civilians, flew with their own aircraft on submarine patrol, and


search and rescue missions during the war and after the war. The main problem there, they made fast promotions. People were named colonel and each state had so many of them with wealth and who had airplanes who were named colonel. And, they had uniforms identical to the Air Force uniforms. They would wear an insignia identical to the Air Force with a small blue patch that designated them as Civil Air Patrol. There is a great deal of resentment among the reservists and the Guard and the regular Air Force, those on active duty. At various conventions or meetings, the heads of the Civil Air Patrol were commandeering military vehicles. The younger officers and enlisted personnel were saluting and taking some direction not knowing they were Civil Air Patrol. They had a political impact. They were organized virtually in every state and insisted on keeping the Air Force rank and uniforms.

I endeavored to change their insignia or their rank such as using the strips on the arm as is done in many foreign countries as designating their rank or maybe referring to them as the Canadians or rank that the Canadians or the British had when the air forces are distinguished from the Army. I was pretty close, or I think I was pretty close to accomplishing that up until the time that I went back into my private law practice. Now that's the basic story and if you want to ask questions or want me to elaborate on anything ....

MR. GROSS: Well, certainly I appreciate that. I do have a few questions I


would like to ask you. Looking back now on your experience as Assistant Secretary, how would you characterize the basic differences between the top civilian officials, such as yourself, on the one hand, and top military officials such as Chief of Staff, and the Air Staff? Was there any clear division of responsibilities? How would you describe that?

MR. STUART: Well, I had an excellent relationship with General Vandenberg and the people in the Air Force because I had served under General Vandenberg and served under several of the generals in the Ninth Air Force. I knew them. I knew them on a very friendly basis. Military wise, social wise, I can't recall in the Air Force that I had anything but the finest and best relations with the military. By the same token on the Secretariat level, Stuart Symington, Gene Zuckert, who was the other Assistant Secretary, and Arthur Burrows, who was the under Secretary at that time, they were extremely helpful to me. We had the very finest relationship.

I could talk with and discuss matters with the politicians much easier than could the people in the armed services. The politicians felt, many of them felt, that they owned the military forces. The officers were not in a position to stand up and discuss matters or to take positions contrary to positions that those in the Secretary's office could. Those in the Secretary's office did not have a military background. They were not trained. That was not their profession. Their profession was that of people in business and it gave a different point of view to matters and items that they, business community, a non military community didn't have because of their various professions


and training.

I think Stuart Symington did an outstanding job as the first Secretary of the Air Force. I think that Eugene Zuckert was as fine an objective person as I ever knew and I still say that. Arthur Burrows had been president of Sears Roebuck. He came with a lot of business training. I took the job when C. B. Witney, who was the first Assistant Secretary... I think he had problems relating to the Reserve, the Guard, because he was an immensely wealthy person with lots of investments and didn't have the time because of these various outside responsibilities and it was difficult with a man with that wealth to get down with the rolled up sleeve, digging with the Reserves and the Guard.

I had enlisted in the Army Air Corps. I was a judge here in Oklahoma at the time. I went to Texas to enlist. I wanted to get the training but I was over 26 and couldn't then. Then I was able to get into combat intelligence and going through Officers Training School and through various bases in this country and the intelligence school at Harrisburg then overseas through the invasion of France, all through France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany and Czechoslovakia when the war terminated and we immediately went to Norway. I had more of an opportunity to be with the officers and enlisted men. Probably I had more background and experience than Mr. Whitney had who was a very fine person but had so many other interests.

MR. GROSS: Were there any specific instructions that Secretary Symington


gave you when you took over regarding the reserve forces in particular?

MR. STUART: No. He said you are a lawyer, got a good education, used to be a judge. You spent four years in the service, have been in the reserves. You've had a lot more experience than I have. One thing I will always remember of Stuart Symington. At the first day or two that I was serving in the capacity as acting Assistant Secretary there was a very controversial matter that involved several hundreds of millions of dollars that came across my desk. I looked at it, took the file and went to the Secretary's office and said 'Mr. Secretary I would like to ask you a question about this.' He said 'sit down. Let me tell you. You're the Assistant Secretary. You have the authority and the responsibility. If you have to come up to ask me what to do, then I don't need you. You're the one that's got to make the decision. You go over the matters. You determine what should be done and you can come up and tell me what you propose and why.' He said, 'you're like a batter in a batter's box. The pitcher throws the ball. You don't have time to go down and ask the coach whether you should strike at the ball or not. You have got to make your own decision. Sometimes you'll get a hit. Sometimes you'll get a walk. Sometimes you'll strike out. Sometimes you'll fly out. But, if you've got a good batting average, you've got the job. But, if you have to come up and ask me, then, if I have to make the decision, then I don't need you. You're going to make some good decisions. You're going to make some bad decisions, but make your mistakes in commission not in omission.' I never forgot that. It's been a very valuable thing to me in business.


MR. GROSS: So, is an implication of that you in your position as an Assistant Secretary were to take some of the heat perhaps off of him and the responsibilities for the reserves?

MR. STUART: Take all of it: If he had anything that came up, he'd say 'go see Stuart,' and sometimes if a Senator or someone called him, why he'd tell them to see me. Or, if they came out to see him, he'd call me up. And, so far as I know, I had full authority and full responsibility and that's the way he operated.

MR. GROSS: During your period of service in the Department of the Air Force, do you recall any basic disputes between the civilian staff on one side, people such as yourself, and the military professionals on the other on the major matters of the policy over the reserve forces?

MR. STUART: No, not any major ones. We had some disagreements or minor disagreements or differences of opinion, but they were all resolved. Nothing went beyond me.

We had some differences with Congress mainly on the Air Force ROTC program. The Navy was able to give four year scholarships and in we called NROTC, Navy ROTC, and they could take boys out of high school and give them a four year college scholarship. Neither the Army nor the Air Force could do that. And, we wanted the same right. When World War II commenced and pilots had to be, if they were not already pilots, they couldn't go in unless they were


under 26 years of age. Those that had flying experience and all were young. The entire Army Air Corps, just before World War II started, was about 25,000 people and it expanded to several hundreds of thousands. Consequently, those with flying experience and combat experience in the Far East were promoted much faster than those in the Army or Navy. And they were boys whose educations had been interrupted, boys without college education, without college degrees. They went into the colleges and recruited these people who...[end tape 1.] People in fighters and in bombers, a lot of times had to react fast and the reactions of the younger persons, people who were what we call today 'hot rodders' at the time put together old cars, motorcycles, were leaders in their group, were called into the service. Called into the Air Corps and made good pilots, good squadron commanders, and the... group and on up. Consequently, at the end of the war, the percentage of college graduates in the Air Corps, then Air Force, was much lower than the Navy or Army. The Navy had by far the highest percentage of college graduates.

MR. GROSS: This is among officers?

MR. STUART: Among officers, and enlisted personnel, also. So an effort was being made in the Air Corps and Air Force to get more college graduates or send boys back to college then. Stuart Symington, General Spaatz, and General Vandenberg conceived the Air Force Academy and appointed a committee to select the site for the Air Force Academy. When the Korean war came along, that was stopped for the duration of the Korean War and was never really re-established again until President Eisenhower came in and Harold Talbott was


the Secretary of the Air Force. So another committee was selected.

I think the original thinking was the Air Force Academy should be near some big Air Force training base, Randolph Field; Maxwell Field, Alabama; Mitchel Field, New York. When Secretary Talbott came in, a committee had another idea. It should be separate, away from a military base, but within 60 or 75 miles of a town of 500,000 or more. So they narrowed it down to three locations, one Genessee, Wisconsin; another one was Alton, Illinois, north of St. Louis, the third one was Colorado, north of Colorado Springs or Denver. And the ultimate selection was Colorado.

But we were trying to get people in the Air Force ROTC and we were sending enlisted personnel as well as officers to schools to get their, complete their college education.

Another problem, of course, we had when they separated the Air Force from the Army, the air bases, those with large runways, maintenance facilities, did not have housing, did not have permanent housing. So many of the bases with fine strips were isolated areas, no places for the personnel to live. So the big drive was to get housing for the Air Force. In building these permanent bases you get an area like Laurinburg Maxton, North Carolina that had beautiful runways used in World War II but no housing and a town of 1,300 to 3,000 people but a difficult place to station troops. There were certain bases Mitchell Field, Bolling Field, Randolph Field, Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama that did have good areas and some housing.


The Air Force was very instrumental in helping get through Congress the Wherry-Spence Housing Act, which we could advertise and get bids for housing on military bases. The average square foot was low. I believe that we had an average $8,600 mortgage on an average housing unit, which, even at that time in isolated areas or areas where we had air bases, was not too great. I had an assistant for housing, Scott Donaldson and later Lawrence Reynolds from Joplin. And we built, the figure that comes to my mind, about 86 percent of the housing under the Wherry-Spence Housing Act.

The Army and the Navy didn't need it so much. We had quite a problem in Alaska. My first experience in Alaska in 1949 was that building housing in Alaska was extremely expensive. I think they had a figure of $65,000 per unit north of the Alaska Range and $55,000 a unit south of the Alaska Range. South of the Alaska Range what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base. North was what is now Eielsen Air Force Base. And, Secretary Symington was able to get General Wood of Sears and his staff or his people to design a house that we could bid.

Secretary of Defense Johnson appointed a committee, a banker, an architect, a man from the Federal Housing Administration; one from Texas, one from Indiana, one from New York, who went to Alaska to study this. We wanted a basement so that, in the winter time, they could dry clothes, store their goods. They came back with a report that it cost many thousands of dollars, $15 to $20,000 just to build a basement. In Alaska, however, we prevailed upon Congress to let us go ahead and bid on our terms and see what the bid


was. We got a house with a basement with an average of $16,000.

We then had B-36s in Alaska which is the closest point to Russia. With the education and the crew, they had no place to live. Those at Eielsen, which is 25-30 miles east-south-east from Fairbanks, living in Fairbanks were very poor accommodations. In other bases, families were living in one room garages and things like that. I think one of the good accomplishments for the Air Force was getting housing which we got a lot of and which is great for the morale.

I recall going to many bases for inspection. You'd have a congressman or a Senator come down to take a look and the Air Force commander takes them to the officers' club and gets them a fine steak or fine meal and shows off the better parts. I told all of them what I wanted to do was show them where the officers and enlisted men had to live. I think that was very helpful. Instead of showing the good part, show what the daily life, living conditions of the personnel. We were able to get a great deal of improvement for our personnel. But getting more college graduates and people with graduate degrees was very important.

I neglected to say that I brought in Frank McCoy as my deputy for Reserve and Guard civilian component matters. I had known Frank McCoy. He was from Oklahoma. Lived in Tahuska, fine family. I believe he was a lawyer, graduated about the same time as I did. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee on dedication


of Seward Air Force Base near Nashville. I had a long conversation and visited with Frank McCoy. I brought him in as my deputy for Reserves and Guard Affairs. He was very active in the Reserves and did an excellent job.

MR. GROSS: Did you have occasion during your ten