I recently inherited a large group of historic photographs, from which this treasure from World War II came to me. I do not know any personal information about the pilot seen here, Airman 1st Class John S. Hancock, except that he was a cousin of one of my cousins [Frances Trammell McCormick] and was trained by Bill Dillard.
From the World War II Flight Training Museum brochure: Originally a part of South Georgia College’s pilot training program, the 63rd Army Air Forces Contract Pilot Training School (Primary) was established in response to the urgent demand for pilots during World War II (1941-1945). The school was run during the war by the Raymond-Richardson Aviation Company, which was under the supervision of the U. S. Army Air Forces. Over 5,000 aviation cadets learned to fly their first plane here. The Stearman PT-17 biplane was the training plane used. Many cadets “washed out”, as it was tough training.
Today, many of the structures associated with the Pilot School remain at the Douglas Municipal Airport and the World War II Flight Training Museum is located in the old instructors’ barracks and open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays. Of about 55 such flight training schools open during World War II, this location is the most intact. Great job, Douglas 63rd Preservation Society and Coffee County, for recognizing its importance.