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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.


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Melvin Asp landed at Tucson once, on Wednesday, November 11, 1931 at 3:45PM. He carried a single passenger identified in the Register as A. de Obarreo. They were based at Dayton, OH, enroute from San Diego, CA to Randolph Field, Shertz, TX. They flew in the Douglas O-25A recorded as 30-174. They remained overnight in Tucson, departing the next day at 8:00AM.

The University of South Florida holds a collection of photographs and documents related to the life of Melvin Asp. The finding aid for the collection is at the link, which describes his collection as follows: "This collection contains an assortment of high school memorabilia, newspaper clippings, military service records, certificates, photographs, and pilot log books (1918-1919).  Also includes a bound volume of the 1942-1944 issues of the Drew Field Echoes, the wartime weekly newspaper of the Tampa air base." The following biographical sketch is from that aid. See below for another sketch from "Drew Field Echoes," March 6, 1942.

Melvin E. Asp, Ca. 1942 (Source: Link)
Melvin E. Asp, Ca. 1942 (Source: Link)


"Melvin B. Asp (1893-1964) was born in Pueblo, Colorado.  His family moved to Tampa, Florida in 1907.  After graduating from Hillsborough High School in 1913, Asp left Tampa to attend the University of Minnesota. In 1917, he became a cadet in the U.S. Army’s flying service, beginning a 33-year career in Army aviation. From 1941 to 1944, he served as commanding officer of Tampa’s Drew Field (now Tampa International Airport) with orders to transform the semi-swampy area into a modern air base. After leaving Drew Field, he served in North Africa, then as Deputy Commander for the China Air Service Command.  In May 1946, Asp returned to Tampa to oversee the closing of Drew Field as a military post.  He then served in Germany during the Berlin air lift.  Asp retired from the military in 1949 and returned to Tampa, where he lived until his death." The portrait of Asp, right, ca. 1942, is from the Drew Field link, above.

Another biographical sketch is at the link, and exhibits a couple of photographs. According to this sketch, Asp was based at Dayton, OH from 1927-1931, which corroborates the Register information.

Earlier, he was based at France Field, Panama C.Z. He built two airplanes while he was based there. The first, was billed as the world's smallest airplane, named the "Panther Cub," and it is shown below adjacent to Charles Lindbergh's aircraft, NX211 at France Field.

Asp-Built "Panther Cub," France Field, Panama C.Z., January, 1928 (Source: Link)

The second is shown below from the link. I know nothing about the fate of these aircraft or if they were ever registered. I you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW.

Asp-Built Aircraft, France Field, Panama C.Z., January, 1928 (Source: Link)

Finally, the article below appeared in "Drew Field Echoes" March 6, 1942.

Col. M. B. Asp Prominent In Aviation World
Veteran Officer Was Once 'Dead' For 15 Minutes
A veteran of 25 years in Uncle Sam's flying service is Col. Melvin B. Asp, commanding officer Drew Field.
In point of service, Col. Asp, who is a native Tampan, and who graduated from the Hillsborough High School in 1913, is one of the oldest fliers now stationed here.  He won his wings at Kelly Field, Texas, May 13, 1918, the same date he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
Col. Asp was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant on June 20, 1920, at Ellington Field, Texas; Captain July 1, 1932, at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama; Major September 1, 1939 at Langley Field, VA, and to Lieutenant Colonel on Feb. 1, 1941, at MacDill Field, Fla.  On Jan. 5, 1942, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel while serving as Commanding Officer, Army Air Base, Drew Field.
In 1925, while in Panama, the Colonel was involved in a collision in mid-air and was officially dead for fifteen minutes.  The following year he was advance officer on a Pan Americina goodwill flight around South America.
Co. Asp, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Asp of Sarasota, was born in Pueblo, Colorado, April 18, 1893.  He came to Tampa to live in 1907.
Joining the United States Army at Minneapolis, Minnesota on the 18th of June, 1916, the Colonel was transferred to the Air Corps shortly afterward.  Before entering the army he had attended the University of Minnesota.  In 1938, he graduated from the Air Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala.  An interesting bit of information regarding the Colonel is the fact that he designed the first successful light plane, the Asplane, which he flew from Ellington Field to Kelly Field, Texas, on its initial flight.
Since entering the service, the Colonel has been stationed on the Mexican border 1916-1917, Fort Snelling, Minn. 1917, University of Illinois 1917-1918, Kelly Field, Texas 1918-1919, Ellington Field Texas 1919-1923, Mitchell Field L.I. 1923, Panama Canal 1923-1927, Dayton Ohio 1927-1932, Maxwell Field Alabama 1932-1935, Langley Field Virginia 1935-1940, Tampa Army Air Base 1940-1942, and Commanding Officer, Army Air Base, Drew Field, which post he now holds.
The Colonel's favorite hobbies are wood-working, boat building, fishing and motion picture photography.  He is also an ardent circus fan.

Whether he designed and built the "first successful light plane" is open for debate. The Curtiss Jenny comes to mind. Asp was born April 13, 1893 (or April 18 according to the article above) and died on April 23, 1964.  He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.



The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of pilotAsp and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.


Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help reearching this page.



Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.


Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.


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