Viewing page 46 of 66


By Lt. Ralph W. Barnes, Musical Director

The Rich Field Vaudeville Company on April 20, under the direction of Lieut. Seymour Simons, who previous to entering the service was a song writer for Al Jolson and the New York Winter Garden, and aided by Scottie Comrie, sailor, playwright and comedian, who was at this time Y.M.C.A. director, was formed of about twenty-five Rich Field men, comprising ten interesting  and clever acts. After two weeks of earnest efforts and hard work on the part of every member, the first performance was staged at the city Auditorium at Dallas before an audience filling the hall. The show opened by musical numbers from the Rich Field Aviation orchestra, including the famous 150th Jazz Band, under personal direction of Lieutenant Simons, followed by Lee Suttell, the eccentric juggler whose comical acrobatics and juggling feats were marked by cleverness. Following this was William Fox, concert singer, with Arnold Roberts at the piano. John Byrnes, cartoonist, and Lester Parmalee, lighting artist, displayed exceptional talent in their work with crayons.
The Flying Four Male Quartet, composed of Lieutenants Larkin, Barnes, Zingermann and Sgt. Lodge, gave a selection of songs ranging from heavy operatic roles to the light fantasy of ragtime. Others on the bill were "Fat" Miller and "Red" Donahue in "A Little Bit of this and a Little Bit of That;" Marvin the Marvel on the Trombone; Hayden and Goodwin, "The Singing Phools," and Broadway, the Scotch comedian.
On account of the fact the men of this field were being constantly sent away for overseas duty, many of the acts were changed. George Staples, Master Magician and Ventriloquist; Aero Quartet composed of the Rich Field Comedy Four, and George N. Cortright were some of the new acts. After the first performance at Dallas on May 6th, many other towns requested engagements: McGregor, May 8th; Baylor University, May 11th; Waco, May 15th, after which performance Lieutenant Lee Webster Adams replaced Lieutenant Simons as manager, and A. Rogers became orchestra director.
The following is a list of the engagements played: Hillsboro, May 25th; West, May 27th; Mart, May 30th; Marlin, June 5th; Belton, June 9th; Whitney, June 12th; Temple, June 15th; Rich FIeld Y.M.C.A., June 19th; Waxahachie, June 23rd; Valley Mills, June 26th; Corsicana, June 28th; Milford, June 30th; San Antonio, July 3rd; Houston, July 7th; Fort Worth, July 12th; Galveston, July 16th; Austin, July 25th; Corpus Christi, July 26th.
It was the purpose of the show to assist in providing funds for the Rich Field swimming pool, built on the field at a cost of $10,000.
After twenty-five engagements it was shown that the success of the tour amply repaid for the hard work of each member by having supplied the Rich Field swimming pool with nearly $3,000.
No further attempts were made to start out on another tour until the last of October, at which time through the aid of Lieutenant Lee Webster Adams, Lieutenant George O. Berg and Lieutenant Ralph W. Barnes an attempt was made to organize a strictly musical company with a large male chorus of about 100 picked voices and several of the best character impersonators in the country. It was their object to give a musical comedy composed solely of male characters. The libretto, written by Cadet Richard A. MaGee, was the story of a flyer's life in the American army beginning with physical examination for entrance and ending with a scene from his life seventy-five years later, still on the same flying field. A cadet's love story was interspersed between the serious lines, and at the end the old men cadets got their beards tangled in the controls of their planes and had many mishaps. The big male choruses directed by Lieutenant Barnes, assisted in giving a little spice to the production. This was produced but once on account of the fact that it was impossible to hold so large a band of men together at a time when their services were needed at other fields.


The youngest member of Squadron A, Flying School Detachment, both in age and in point of service, is Cleda Geraldine Jones. This wee member entered the service on the day of her birth, November 15th, 1918, at Rich Field, Texas.
She chose as her parents Sgt. 1st Cl. and Mrs. John R. Jones, the father being the supply sergeant of the Flying School Detachment
Cledia G. is not yet a full-fledged soldier, since she has not mastered the intricacies of "squads east and west," nor has she learned to complain about the fit of her "O.D.'s" and "chow."


Full Information Must Go With Application.

The Joint  Army and Navy Board on Aeronautic Cognizance announces that permits for flying are now granted to qualified civilians who apply according to the requirements of the president's proclamation on February 28, 1918. All applications should be addressed to the Joint Army and Navy Board on Aeronautic Cognizance, 6th and B Sts., N. W., Washington, D. C.
In making an application for a flying license the civilian is requested to forward a copy of his or her certificate or license showing that the individual is qualified as a pilot.
The application must be supplemented with full information as to the nature of the aerial project contemplated; the financial backing; the means to be taken to insure the reliability of motors and the upkeep of planes; typs [[types]] and condition of planes, and the number of hours each has been flown. The number of mechanics to be employed should also be stated.
In short, a complete detailed report is desired, and standard forms of application are furnished upon request to the secretary, Lieut. L. G. Haugen, Division of Military Aeronautics.


Three Instructive Publications Are Now in Press.

Three interesting and instructive publications on the medical side of flying prepared by members of the Air Service Medical, are now in press.
The first of these pamphlets will appear under the title "The Air Service Medical Manual." It will comprise four chapters concerning the conservation of human material, as well as the conservation of machines as developed in practice in the United States Air Service. The development of the "Trouble-shooter" of the flyer as compared to the trouble-shooter of engines and machines was developed in the prson of the "flight surgeon."
The second publication is more general in character and also more extensive. It is issued under the title "Air Service, Medical," and comprises 500 pages of text with 275 full-page illustrations. It is a story on the general standpoint of the medical aspect of aviation from Langley's experiments to the aeronautical achievements, of the present day. It is the doctor who makes flying safer, through selection, classification and maintenance of the flyers. Under the last sub-division are explained the duties of the physical director and nutrition officer.
The third publication is more technical and deals with the internal working of the medical research laboratory established for the air service at Mineola, L. I. It is actually a manual of the Air Service Medical Laboratory and recounts and describes the tests and experiments developed and conducted for the safety of the flyer.


Several Trips Made Between Waco and Fort Worth.

Speedy service was rendered by using an airplane in getting out the FLYER final edition. Three cross country trips were made to Fort Worth, in order that the twenty-four layouts, which were made in the photographic hut, might be taken to the engraver with the least possible delay, and the copper engravings were returned by the same route.
The first two trips were made by Lieutenants Ralph W. Barnes and John K. Gowen, Jr., the Rich Field publicity officers. On the last trip, a head wind too strong for the training type of plane was encountered.
One of Rich Field's six DeHavilands was called into service. Lieutenant Andrew B. Bassi, Jr., left the field with Lieutenant Gowen at 11:05 a.m., carrying the final layout. It was taken to Forth Worth, delivered to the engraver, the plate was made and the DeHaviland was back at Rich Field at 6:10 p.m. the same day.
The Southwestern Engraving Company broke all speed records in order to turn out the FLYER cuts as promptly as possible.
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact