• James-Connally/Harlingen Navigators Website

    You successfully navigated the world wide web to find the James Connally Navigator’s/Observers Home Page. This web site covers people who trained at James Connally AFB, Harlingen AFB, Texas and Mather AFB, CA or who were instructor navigators or radar observers at Connally or Harlingen Air Force Bases.

    The term navigator includes, navigators, observers, electronic warfare and weapons systems career fields. Today the Air Force has renamed the Navigator career field to Combat System Officer (CSO). After Harlingen closed (last class 62-22) the training moved to Connally. The last class at Connally was 66-18. Training then moved to Mather AFB near Sacramento CA. When Mather closed Sept. 1993 training was moved to Randolph AFB, TX. The last class completed training at Randolph in Sept. 2012 and training {renamed Combat System Officer (CSO)} moved to Pensacola Naval Air Station FL.

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  • James Connally AFB History

    JCAFB Main GateJames Connally Air Force Base, located seven miles northeast of Waco, Texas, was initially a basic pilot-training school. It opened as Waco Army Air Field on May 5, 1942, and became headquarters for the Army Air Forces Central Instructors’ School in February 1945.

    The base was inactive from late 1945 to 1948, until it was reactivated as a basic pilot-training school. On June 10, 1949, the name was changed to Connally Air Force Base in memory of Col. James T. Connally, a local pilot killed in Japan in 1945. By 1951 the name had been changed to James Connally Air Force Base.

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  • Col. James T. Connally History

    Col. ConnallyJames Connally Air Force Base, near Waco TX was named for Colonel James T. Connally, a resident of Waco. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1932, completed pilot training and got his commission at Randolph Field in 1933.

    He flew the air mail as an Army pilot in 1934. In 1941, he accompanied the first B-17s sold to the British. In 1942, he transferred to Clark Field in the Philippines with the 19th Bombardment Group where he won the Distinguished Flying Cross for a mission that destroyed a Japanese tanker ship and rescued 23 stranded US pilots.

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  • Harlingen History

    Harlingen Main GateHarlingen Army Airfield opened in July 1941 and was used by the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) as a training base during World War II. It was initially assigned to the AAF Gulf Coast Training Center as a flexible gunnery school. Training was conducted in both air-to-air & air-to-surface gunnery. The air-to-air training used a variety of aircraft, including AT-6 Texans, BT-13 Valiants, P-63 Kingcobras, B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators. For ground-based training, a number of facilities were available, including the moving target ranges and a number of gunnery simulators.

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  • Mather AFB, CA–

    Mather Air Force Base was named after Second Lieutenant Carl Spencer Mather, a 25-year-old army pilot killed in a mid-air collision while training at Ellington Field, Texas on 30 January 1918. Mather learned to fly in 1914 at the Curtiss Flying School in Hammondsport, New York, and became an instructor there at the age of 20. He enlisted as an aviation cadet in August 1917 and as a licensed pilot was commissioned with part of his class as a second lieutenant on 20 January 1918. He continued training to earn a Reserve Military Aviator rating and promotion to first lieutenant but was killed ten days later. The remainder of his class requested that Mills Field be renamed in Mather’s honor.

    After James Connally Air Force Base (AFB), Texas closed, Mather AFB was the only navigator/bombardier training base in the Air Force in the late 1960’s thru the early 1990’s. The base was assigned to Air Training Command, and closed 30 October 1993. It is now a Sacramento County Airport with mostly civilian aircraft using the facilities. Cargo aircraft like UPS and others are currently the largest users of the Airport.

    The Air Force Base first opened in 1917, during World War l, for early pilot training. During World War ll, Mather was also a large pilot training base, with many of the trained aircrew, sent to the Pacific area of conflict. 

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