Lieutenant Frank Philby "Bud" Hayes (1924-1945) was born
the 3 July 1924 in
Filer, Idaho to Fay Fern Phibly and Frank Hayes. After graduating from Filer High
School in May 1942, he spent his time working on his family farm. He
entered the service, and completed basic training at Santa Ana Army Air
Base in June 1943. Bud was certified for pilot training on the 24 June
1943 and and was accepted to the 7 month long Aviation Cadet program,
attending Basic Pilot training at Hemet, California in July 1943. Bud
Flight Training at the
Ryan School of Aeronautics (Hemet
- Ryan Field) in Hemet, California in July 1943. The airfield was
opened in September 1940 by the United States Army Air Corps. Flight
training was performed with the PT-17 "Stearman" as the Primary trainer
along with the Ryan PT-21 "Recruit."
Bud's transfer from the Ryan Flight School occurred as promised in
October 1943. The Army Air Force
sent him to
Merced Army Air Field, Merced, California, part of the
Central Valley of California.
Today it is the site of Castle Air Force Base.
During WWII, Merced was home to the Western Flying Training
Command of the 4th Airforce, training 30,000 pilots before war's end.
Advanced Pilot Training would
continue to use the Ryan aircraft as well as Boeing-Stearman Model 75
aircraft. The training
schedule was certainly intense and Bud's first letter home postmarked,
October 18, 1943, notes he wrote it at 1:00 a.m. after an exhausting
day. His days begin at
6:00am with training often not ending until 8:00pm. Bud notes he is now
undergoing night flight training in which he does not get much sleep.
He completed two days of "cross country" flights of over 600
Daytime is filled with ground school.
Bud now has logged 110 flight hours.
He notes that 35% of the trainees who began with him have washed
out of the program. Just completed is instrument flying.
His parents having
advanced him $5.00 to carry him over to payday, he dutifully returns the
$5.00 in the letter home.
November 1943, Bud had graduated from Merced Army Flying School sending
home a postcard picture of the graduation.
Dated December 8, 1943, he advises he is off to Douglas Army
Airfield, then believing it's the last training assignment before being
Lieutenant, though official promotion orders have yet to be received.
The war is moving quickly.
Bud is surprised at the cost of his new officer's uniform.
The Army Air Force has provided him a uniform allowance of $250.
Many of the local shops near the base are more than that, but the
Major shows him a local dealer who will outfit him for $200.
Douglas, Arizona in Cochise County, 118 miles southeast of Tucson,
Arizona is about as far and secure from the War in the Pacific as one
could get. Located near the
Southeast corner of Arizona where it meets Mexico (at Agua Prieta) and
New Mexico borders, the area was vast grasslands and mountains.
Founded in 1901, it was the site of smelters servicing nearby
Today it is the site of
Douglas Municipal Airport (KDGL). It was the ideal flatlands for the
Army Air Force in 1942 to establish an airbase.
Douglas included six operational runways and ranges for training
guns and aircraft ordinance.
The base of 5,500 primary mission was advanced training on two engine
aircraft, primarily bombers and was under the command of the Western
Flying Training Command, Santa Ana, California (where Bud began his
service). Training aircraft
included the BT-14, AT-6, UC-78, AT-9, AT-17, and B-25.
December 9, 1943,
Bud writes home that he about to
be at the last stage of his advanced training. "The Army will either
promote me or demote me" he says.
Questioning if its premature, he mentions they have already
provided him his "Officer" bars for his uniform as
On February 9,
1944, Second Lt. Frank Philby Hayes received formal graduation diploma
from the U.S. Army Air Force Advanced Flying School at Douglas along
with the offical commision as officer and Air Force Pilot Wings.
Word would come two weeks later and
Bud was quickly transferred to Advanced
Selman Army Airfield in Monroe, Louisana. Soon
after, Bud received word that he would be receiving follow-on training on
the PBY Catalina in Pensacola, Florida.
May 14, 1944 Bud writes home for the first time from the Naval Air
Training Center, Pensacola, Florida.
The final work at Selman had been intense as was the rapid transfer to
the combined Army Air Force/Navy Joint PBY Training program in Florida.
again apologizes to his parents for the unusually long delay between
letters. His training was
so busy he writes, "I turned down an invitation to the beach [most
likely from a lovely girl] so I could write."
Two days after receiving his wings at Pensacola, Bud was whisked to
Keesler Air Field in Biloxi, Mississippi.
By 24 May 1945, Bud had
made the marathon flight in his PBY from the United States to New Guinea.
Bud flew many missions for the 2nd ERS and he, along with Flight Officer
Jack Leonard and an observer were killed on
take-off the 10 October 1945. There are no historical records of this
mission or the loss, but a
Missing Air Crew Report
(MACR) along with statements
from the Navigator on board pieced their last days and the fateful crash
together. His awards and decorations include the
Air Medal per
1951, dated 10 September 1945.
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