P-40s at Fort Sumner, NM



From January 1942 to July 1944, Fort Sumner Army Airfield was used as a multi-engine training
base, providing advanced twin-engine flight training with the Cessna AT-17 Bobcat. The field
was also home to a glider training school from October 1942 to April 1944 and may have briefly
provided four-engine bomber crew training, though I'm not totally sure on this last.

In July of 1944 twin-engine operations ceased and the field was transferred from the Western
Flying Training Command to II Fighter Command, providing fighter RTU training with the
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and then the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt until November of 1945.




The WASP and the Hawk

Dorothy J. Dodd, member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, sits with her cocker spaniel
'Ronnie' on the wing of P-40N 'W2', serial 44-7549, of the 267th CCTS at Fort Sumner in late 1944.


From the family of Dorothy J. Dodd Eppstein via Mel Halbach - Larger Image


This P-40 was involved in two accidents at Fort Sumner; the first was a taxiing accident on
August 28th, 1944... I've no further details except that the pilot's name was John R. McKinley
and that the ship was at the time assigned to the FPTS of the 267th Base Unit, which was the
forerunner of the 267th CCTS. The second accident took place on November 1st, 1944. This time
it was a landing accident, though I have no further details as to what happened. The pilot was
WASP Frances D. 'Doris' Burmester... she and Dorothy Dodd were the only WASPs assigned to Fort
Sumner at the time the Women Airforce Service Pilots program was shut down in December of 1944.


Here's a nice close-up of 'Ronnie' in the chin scoop of 'W2'. The pooch's name was derived from
the military acronym 'R.O.N.', meaning 'remain overnight'. Dorothy recieved 'Ronnie' from her friend
and future husband, Samuel Eppstein. When the pooch was still a small puppy, Dorothy would sometimes
take him along on flights... the little guy fit rather nicely into the pockets of the flying overalls
or, as Dorothy referred to them, 'zoot suits'. These overalls were standard Army issue and even
the smallest sizes were a bit too large for most of the gals of the WASP.



From the family of Dorothy J. Dodd Eppstein - Larger Image



Yeah, yeah... I know what you're thinking about this next photo...

"That's a mighty strange lookin' P-40".

But look! There's a couple'a Hawks in the background on the left. =P

Anyhoo, here we see Dorothy Dodd with a C-53 at Fort Sumner. This was the type in which
she and her friend Doris Burmester flew right-seat quite often while stationed at the
New Mexico airfield... transporting the pursuit pilots around to various destinations.

A feature page dedicated to Dorothy J. Dodd Eppstein is in the works... keep an eye out!



From the family of Dorothy J. Dodd Eppstein - Larger Image


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