The Army Air Corps Training Program
Oshkosh was an important step in the cadets’ development in the Army Air Corps, but they still faced a long road before they received their wings. After Oshkosh, there was the classification center where the cadets received their groupings as pilots, bombers, or navigators. After classification, it was off to the Army’s preflight schools for additional ground school instruction and advanced math and physics. Still to go was primary flight training followed by advanced work where they were able to fly combat planes. If they survived that, the cadets then became pilots and were sent to war.
The mission of the 96th was to prepare cadets "to understand the basic principles of mechanics, physics, mathematics, and political geography, combined with physical and military training considered essential to operate and navigate modern high-powered aircraft in combat." More specifically, however, the detachment sought to compensate for the various educational deficiencies represented in each cadet class. For this reason, soldiers in a "squadron," or class, were separated into "flights" based on the results of Army academic testing. Each flight had different schedules based on the needs of the students. Most cadets received academic instruction in history, geography, mathematics, physics, and English. Instruction was given by OSTC faculty. In addition to these courses the cadets took part in physical fitness classes, first aid, hygiene, military drills and etiquette classes as well as civil air regulation lectures. Most soldiers were in the detachment for five months, with the final four weeks reserved for flight training with S.J. Wittman at the Winnebago County airport. Once done with the college course, the cadets were shipped out for further training at an army classification center.