"Well, I was afraid it was going to get over before I got into it, [laughs] which is a dumb thing to say. But, I very much wanted – In fact, I entered the Army before I graduated from high school…
   "I was kind of excited about the adventure of it. And I had the real desire to learn to fly. I was in aviation. All the time I was growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on, and built model airplanes. I had it in mind that I was going to go to flight training…
   "The Navy wouldn't take me because I wasn't out of high school, but the Army would. But, in order to take the test, I had to volunteer for induction as a regular draftee and go in as that, and then take the test after I was in…
   "So, the morning I was to report, I got up and walked two blocks over and went into another world. I was right there in San Pedro at Fort MacArthur. And there was – When we first arrived, the first formation they asked, 'Are there anyone that want to volunteer for aviation cadets or paratroopers?' And I got my name on the cadet list…
   "So we got jockeyed around for a while before we really got to where we wanted to be. We were waiting to go to Army Air Force classification center, where they determined whether we were pilots or navigators or bombardiers. But, every place we went, there was a pretty large bunch. I think there must have been about 500 of us waiting to go into the Air Force. We got sent from base to base for a while. Every place we went, they used us for labor [laughs] while we were waiting."

Jim Chenault on Enlisting Early


Other Excerpts from Jim Chenault's Interview:

Pearl Harbor
Bombing Germany from England
Nisei Internment in California
V-E Day
Student Pilots on the GI Bill
Flying the Berlin Airlift
Mining the Aquifer
Irrigation Enabling Other Technologies
Crop Dusting