on 23 january 1942 the usaaf created the separate air corps flying training command and the air corps technical training command to control all aspects of technical and aviation training. the air force program stopped taking civilian and enlisted pilot candidates in 1961 and navigator candidates in 1965. the first enlisted u.s. army pilot was corporal vernon l. burge, a crew chief at the u.s. army’s flight school in the philippines. the army air corps act of 1926 set certain standards as part of a five-year program to expand and improve the aviation arm of the u.s. army. holmes had enlisted in the army as a mechanic in 1919, became a pilot with the rank of corporal in 1921, and was promoted to lieutenant’s rank in the army reserve in 1924. the army later made holmes an enlisted man and he served as both a mechanic and a pilot in the 1920s and 1930s. in 1912 the requirements and rank of military aviator were created for heavier-than-air aircraft pilots; the rank of military aeronaut was for lighter-than-air aircraft pilots. the army air corps act of 1926 set certain reforms as part of a five-year program to expand and improve the aviation arm of the army.
the grade of aviation cadet was created for pilot candidates and the program was renamed the aviation cadet training program (avcad). it was in blue enamel for air ratings (pilot, navigator, bombardier, flight engineer, or fire control officer – graduates of the aviation cadet program) and brown enamel for ground ratings (radar operator, armorer, meteorologist, etc. the lower half was made up of students just beginning the stage and the upper half was made up of the students who were half-finished. this was combined with familiarity with the tasks of a pilot or radioman in case of emergency. the aviation cadet training program continued to remain as a principal source of the air force’s pilots and navigators and they wore the same basic uniform as air force officers. he was the first black usaf officer to reach the rank of brigadier general and was the first black general officer to command the national guard bureau (1998-2002).
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