Kenneth Race was drafted December 1942; He was sent
via troop train to Camp Barkley, TX where he completed
basic training and awaited assignment. It was while
here he decided on the spur of the moment to transfer
to Air Corps.
Col Francis K. Race
was sent to Shepard Field, TX and once again had to
go through basic training again. He was now a aviation
cadet! He was then sent to Cenre College for 5 months
in Danville, KY that was also an elimination procedure;
only 4 out of 10 cadets get their wings. Next step
was onto the classification center in Nashville, TN.
The day came their designation was posted, next to
Kenneth’s name said, “Pilot”.
Primary Flight School he became acquainted with the
9 March 1944 Kenneth flew solo his first plane.
Basic Flight School they learned to fly the longer
canopied BT-13. On his check ride, he was passed with
minimum satisfactory. He had to have another check
ride with the Squadron Commander. A few days later
his name on the list to go to Advanced Flight School.
different stages of the war, requirements changed.
In June of 1944 there were requirements for bomber
pilots than fighter pilots.
next Air Corps Base for Race was Hendricks Field,
FL. This is where he was first introduced to the B-17
“Flying Fortress”. Toward the end of 1944,
the war in Europe was turning in our favor and more
emphasis was out on the defeat of the other enemy,
Japan. While awaiting orders, a B-29 Boeing Superfortress
appeared on the flight line. This was the plane being
used for long-range missions to bomb the Japanese
mainland an they needed a crews to fly them. A notice
appeared on the bulletin board to “sign here”
if interested. Kenneth signed up, the next thing he
knew he was in Pyote, TX transitioning in the B-29.
and his crew flew to Hawaii first, and then once again
airborne they opened sealed orders to see what their
destination would be. Next Stop was Kwajalein atoll,
then Guam. They were then assigned to the 60th Bomb
Squadron. Race and his crew were informed they would
be Replacement Crew # 6; they still weren’t
ready to drop bombs on Japan. The new crews arriving
on Guam still needed more ground, sea, survival and
even more flight training.
16 July 1945, after all the training Replacement Crew
6 was put on the combat orders. The mission was to
bomb a shipyard in Handa, south of Tokyo, along with
the other 36 crews of the 39th Bomb Group. Crew 6
would be called upon 7 more times before the surrender.
On the night of August 13, they took off on what would
be the last mission to hit an industrial target.
entire 314th Bomb Wing flew a final maximum effort
mission on 2 September 1945 as Japan signed the surrender
terms aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
They took their last look at Japan and returned to
the war, the remainder of bomb groups that were to remain
activated was sent to the Philippines. One day in March
1946, they asked for volunteers to fly the war-weary
B-29s to Hawaii, Race was first in line to accept the
trip. He decided to take all his belongings with him;
he was going to try and work out a deal once he got
to Hawaii. The trip back to Hawaii was hectic but they
made it back safely. Once on the ground, the crew (which
was a different crew than he had originally gone overseas
with) was given a 3-week break while the powers that
be decided what to do with them. They finally got the
news they were hoping for, they didn’t need us
anymore; The trip home was on a luxury liner that was
under contract to the government as a troop ship. It
was a pleasant journey and they partied all the way.
After he got home, there was paper work to sign, one
of which was to keep our commissions in the Air Corps
Night back in U.S. San Francisco
to R: 1st Lt
Hollis Logan, Don Bunch, F/O Kenneth Welsh,
FE P-01R2*; 2nd Lt Richard Stettler,Nav, P-06R2*;
John Cox; William Biller; Dick Jual; Ken Race*
- *60th Squadron Personnel
the nine years later, a friend told Kenneth about an
Air Force Reserve flying unit that was looking for Pilots.
He and his friend Jim Riddle visited the Clinton County
Air Force Base for more information. They were given
a ride in a C-46 and let them take the controls. They
were hooked; they remained in the Reserves Program until
they had enough service to retire. They updated our
WWII C-46s to the Korean era C-119. We accumulated more
flying hours as Reservist than we did on active duty.
Lt Col Francis K. Race (left) Col Ed Smith presenting
30 year service active and reserve June 1974
In July 1975, while working as a visual information
specialist for Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD)
Visual Communications Division at Wright Patterson
Air Force Base, OH, Ken talked with his boss and got
approval to paint a mural. The idea originated about
a year prior when Race read a notice in the daily
bulletin asking for an artist to go to the Pentagon
to paint murals for the corridors. But by the time
he applied, the job was filled, however also by that
time he had decided he wanted to paint one anyway.
He spent many hours
of research for the project trying to detail the history
of the area, and studying the ways of putting that
history on canvas.
from Springfield (O.) News June 13, 1976
A Shawnee Indian chief stares across 21 feet of canvas,
on the other end an astronaut does the same from the
opposite direction. The painting on the canvas between
them has a meaning for each. For the Indian chief, it
depicts the future, for the astronaut history.
from Springfield (O.) News June 13, 1976
include (1776) A Shawnee Indian chief; fur trades
who traveled by canoe on one of the many streams in
the Miami Valley; (1800’s) a fort and a formation
of troops; pioneers clearing land and a farming scene;
(1909) a Wright Flyer Model A; “White scarf
and Brown shoe era follow of aviation up to the 1930s
with biplanes and a Jenny; WWII with a B-17 and the
birth of the present day Air Force with a WWII Army
Air Corps officer shaking hands with a “blue
suiter”; an F-4 shows the entrance of the jet
age behind some early buildings and hangars at Wright
Patterson; Civilian contributions are shown with civilians
working in laboratories; the final portion shows the
beginning of the space age with the astronaut staring
back across the mural and the B-1.
Ken Race with wife Majorie and daughter Becky,(a
Front: Son, Tim, (a newspaper editor) and daugther