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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Adler, CA-012600-01, -20, -40, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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ELMER EDWARD ADLER

Wedding Announcement, New York Times, January 10, 1913 (Source: NYT)
Wedding Announcement, New York Times, January 10, 1913 (Source: NYT)

Elmer Edward Adler was born in Buffalo, NY, January 30, 1892. After attending grammar and high school at Buffalo, he attended the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), West Point, NY and graduated in 1915. Note well that some other sources say he graduated in in 1913 or 1914. His record in his NASM biographical folder, cited in the left sidebar, clearly states that he attended USMA from 1910-1915. A possible explanation for the confusion lies in the article from the New York Times of January 1, 1913, left.

Elmer Adler, Ca. WWII (Source: NASM)
Elmer Adler, Ca. WWII (Source: NASM)

The article cites the USMA rule that no cadet shall be married. Adler chose to wed before he finished his last year, leaving the Academy in the position of deciding what to do with this student who showed good promise (he would, later in his career, move steadily through the ranks and excel in military logistics and maintenance and receive several commendations and awards for his work). This article ends short of that decision. Photograph, right, from his NASM file, with the two stars of a Brigadier General. This would date the photo to after January 1, 1945 (see below).

A resolution was quickly reached, however. It is not clear when or how he was required to complete his final course of study, but his "official" biography states, "He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., from March 3, 1910 to Feb. 15, 1913. Commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry in the New York National Guard Dec. 6, 1915, he was promoted to first lieutenant April 22, 1916, serving with the 65th Infantry and 3rd Field Artillery. He became a captain in the New York National Guard July 25, 1916, and resigned August 23, 1916." This implies that he was dismissed from studies in February, 1913, but was commissioned about two years later as a second lieutenant.

His official biography goes on the state, "Accepting a temporary commission in the Air Service as a first lieutenant July 22, 1918, he was promoted to captain Sept. 24, 1918, and commissioned a captain in the Air Service, Regular Army, July 1, 1920. He served at Buffalo, N.Y., and then on border patrol duty until the completion of the Mexican Border Crisis, and through the first period of the first World War. Going to Washington, D.C., in July 1918, a short time later he was assigned to Kelly Field, Texas as executive officer of the Air Service Mechanics School."

Soon after, he attended the Air Corps Engineering School from 1924-25. During 1924, he served on the World Flight Committee and in so doing affected the activities of several Register pilots who participated in that Flight, e.g. Erik Nelson, Henry Ogden, Alva Harvey, Les Arnold and Lowell Smith. He went on to attend the Air Corps Tactical School from 1931-32, the Command & General Staff School 1932-34, and the Army War College 1934-35.

From 1928-1931 Adler was assigned to Washington, DC in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps as the liaison officer and a member of the Plans Division for the Materiel Division. It is near the time of this job we find him at Tucson.

As a captain, Elmer Adler landed twice. His first visit was on Monday, March 24, 1930. Based at Bolling Field, Washington, DC, he carried a single unidentified passenger in the Curtiss O-1E Falcon, 29-307. He was accompanied by three other pilots and their aircraft that landed and departed at exactly the same time, perhaps in a cross-country formation or ferry flight. They were westbound from El Paso, TX to San Diego, CA, Rockwell Field.

His second visit was five weeks later on Thursday, May 1, 1930. Still carrying one passenger in 29-307, they were eastbound this time from Rockwell Field to Fort Bliss in El Paso. With Adler were four other Army pilots in Falcons that appeared to be accompanying each other. Neither Adler nor any of the others accompanying him on either flight gave any clues as to the purpose of their flights.

After his graduation from the Army War College, he served in general staff duties at Washington, DC until 1938. He was assigned to Hamilton Field, CA, in August 1938 as executive officer. He assumed command of the Seventh Bomb Group became executive officer at base headquarters. He assumed command of the Ninth Bomb Squadron in September 1939. He transferred to Fort Douglas, Utah, in February 1941, and served with 20th Bomb Wing headquarters, becoming group commander of the 39th Bomb Group in March 1941. His progression through the ranks during the 1930s and into the early part of WWII is cited below.

During late 1944-45, the Materiel Command and Air Service Command were merged into the Air Technical Services Command (ATSC) as the organization responsible for engineering, production, supply and maintenance activities of the Army Air Force. Then Brig. Gen. Adler was appointed to the staff of the director of the ATSC, Lt. Gen. William S. Knudsen.

Adler retired March 31, 1946 after 37 years of military service. On June 10th that year, a press release announced his appointment as Vice President and General Manager of Aerovias Braniff, the Mexican associate airline of Braniff Airways, Inc. The release states, "In accepting the managerial post of Aerovias Braniff, Adler returns as a civilian to the country of his last foreigh military assignment. Chosen by the American State and War Departments early in 1945 for the Army-Navy Mission to Mexico in establishment of a military policy between the two countries, Gen. Adler served as Chief of the Air Section, working with the highest civil and military air leaders of Mexico."

According to his official biography, Adler was promoted to major (temporary) June 16, 1936; to major (permanent) July 1, 1940; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) March 21, 1941; to lieutenant colonel (permanent) Nov. 16, 1942; to brigadier general (temporary) Nov. 1, 1941 to major general (temporary) Jan. 1, 1945. Adler died August 1, 1970 at age 78 in San Antonio, TX.

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Dossier 2.2.14

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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Adler and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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