M.E. Arnold, U.S.N.A. Yearbook, 1923 (Source: Woodling)
M.E. Arnold landed once at Tucson, Monday, August 19, 1929. He landed solo in an unidentified Boeing F2B. Based at San Diego, CA aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga, he arrived amidst nineteen other naval aviators, each signed into the Register on the middle third of page 112. Other than the first six who signed their own names, the rest were entered by an unknown hand all at once. Please direct your browser to the link and review page 112. There you'll see that signers Chourre through Wick comprise the group of twenty. They all remained overnight at Tucson, departing the morning of the 20th for El Paso, TX. Photograph and blurb, left, from his U.S. Naval Academy (U.S.N.A.) year book, 1923.
What were twenty Navy pilots doing at Tucson all at once? They were on a grand cross-country flight headed from San Diego to Cleveland, OH and back to participate in the National Air Races (NAR) held August 24th-September 2nd at Cleveland that year. Lt. Cdr. Homer Wick was commanding officer of Squadron No. 1 based on the Saratoga.
Wick brought his entire squadron through Tucson on behalf of the NAR. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Navy ordered numerous activities by its personnel, ships and airplanes to build confidence in the naval force among the U.S. citizenry, to provide real-life training for personnel, as well as to encourage recruitment.
Arnold's job in the group was to participate in event No. 21 of the NAR, the Navy Pursuit Race. It took place on August 30th and covered 100 miles in ten, 10-mile laps. According to the Aircraft Yearbook for 1930, sixteen navy pilots competed. Arnold placed first in the Race, with an average speed of 127.38MPH. Please direct your browser to Wick's page to see a tabulation and identification of all the men in his squadron.
An excellent online biography of Arnold is at the link. It follows him from his birth (December 12, 1900 in Shubonier, IL), and focuseson his naval career through 1961. By 1961 he had been promoted to Rear Admiral and followed a career path typical of his peers at the U.S.N.A.
After his initial obligatory sea duty, he was trained at Pensacola, FL and designated Naval Aviator on April 24, 1926. From July, 1928 to October, 1929 he was assigned to San Diego, from which he visited us at Tucson and participated in the NAR. A couple of assignments of increasing responsibility during the 1930s placed him on the U.S.S. Yorktown in May, 1940 as commanding officer of Bombing Squadron Five.
Arnold was involved in every engagement of the Pacific Fleet from January, 1942 until the Yorktown was sunk on June 7, 1942. He won the Bronze and Silver Stars for his work on the Yorktown. He returned to the U.S. and was had a training assignment on the west coast until July, 1944 when he was sent to China on a special mission. In October, he returned to the Fleet and was given command of the carrier escort U.S.S. Fanshaw Bay. In September, 1945 he was assigned to the Navy Department, and the linked biography outlines the rest of his assignments through 1961.
Arnold's Web presence is very limited, focused mostly on his medal awards and announcements of rank changes. He died April 13, 1991 at Norfolk, VA.
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