Second Piece of the Puzzle

How will digital media and/or digital tools be important to teaching my target audience one of the essential lessons I’ll be focusing on in my project?

My project will aim at teaching high school students about American history during WWII in connection to local history. While the knowledge of historical events and places are important to the lesson, students will mostly rely on primary sources and first person accounts to piece the puzzle of this time period together from the local front. Digital media will play a role in watching interviews,  documentaries, reading diaries of WWII pilots, and analyzing images using the following websites:

  • The WWII Combat Diary of Lt. Kermit D. Wooldridge –
  • The WASPs: Women Pilots of WWII –
  • Diary of Bruce Johnston –
  • World War II First Person Accounts, Letters Home, Diaries, & Journals –
  • What did it take to be a fighter pilot? –
  • Aviation Cadet Training Program –
  • Pilot’s Log at Mesa del Rey –
  • Life Magazine Covers:

What, specifically, about the digital environment will influence what you do and why?

The digital environment will provide the literature, images, and overall the resources for the lesson. Students will be “mining” sites and browsing for material to compare, to ask questions, and to be better informed about the the journey of pilots. Then they will create their own site about one of the pilots who were trained at Mesa del Rey similar to the Bruce Johnston Diary website. Since they will be inventing a life for a person after training, it will be crucial that they understand what it took to become a pilot, to serve during the war, and to make the sacrifices.


3 thoughts on “Second Piece of the Puzzle”

  1. My dad was trained to be fighter pilot at the airport in King City. About 30 years ago, he and I travelled there to look at it. There wasn’t too much there but I think it was still an operational airport for a small aircraft.

    At the time, dad was still living in Chicago, where he grew up.. I had moved to San Francisco so on one of his trip s to see me we decided to visit King City.

    This past weekend, I had a reason to be in Pizmo Beach, California, a drive of about 4.5 hours from San Francisco. On my way home , I realized I had to pass directly through King City and decided to stop at the airport. I took some photos of it. It is now a place where people can be trained to be pilots. I think that is its only function currently.

    I do have some old photos of my dad, both before and after the war, in uniform. I believe some of them were taken in King City when his parents came out to say goodbye to him.

    Fortunately, my dad came home from the war safely. He had been stationed in Germany and France during the war. I believe he was sent over there shortly after the battle of the bulge. He was shot down twice, I believe once in France and once in Germany. One time he was able to land his plane and I don’t remember if he landed his plane the second time or head to parachute out. I wish I knew. Somehow the allies came and rescued him later on both times. On one of the occasions he landed in a field and the farmer started coming across the field toward him and my dad pointed his gun at the guy and told him to stay away, because he was not sure whether the man was friendly or not.

    Upon returning home, he attended University of Illinois and told me how he would rent a plane and buzz it over the campus. Of course he got in trouble for that but enjoyed doing it anyway. My dad got married, had four kids and passed away at age 84, in 2007. We all miss him a lot, he was a great guy.

    Anyway, I was interested in looking at photos of the King City airport at the time these guys were being trained. Is there anywhere I could access them of those?

    Thanks much,

  2. I have some photos of my dad which I believe were taken at King City, also one with him and some of the other pilots. Would love to post them but don’t know if there’s a way to do that.

  3. Hi Francie,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It was great to read about your dad and his brave accomplishments. This blog is part of a graduate program at George Mason University and because of this DH course, I created a website that attempts to gather up the history of the King City Airport. While I did a fair amount of research at the local museum and talked to a few people who remember or know about it, my hopes were to gather more information and have people contribute or comment on the site to bring forth the history of the King City Airport and the flight school. You may find some interesting things there along with the photos. I was able to interview one of the instructors who is in his 90s and lives in Sacramento. The interview is posted on the website.
    I would love to hear what you think. It is easier to contact me through that website.
    It is called Pilot’s Log at Mesa del Rey and this is the link:


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