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There is no biographical file for pilot Auton in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Lt. Jesse Auton, 1929 (Source: Woodling)
Lt. Jesse Auton, 1929 (Source: Woodling)

Lt. Jesse Auton was born in 1904 and landed once at Tucson, sometime between January 1 and February 10, 1932. He was among a flight of seven other officers on a ferry trip from Seattle, WA to their home base at Selfridge Field, Detroit, MI. They were ferrying brand new Boeing P-12E aircraft from the factory at Seattle. None of them entered an arrival or departure time, or destination.

The leader of the flight was Register pilot R.C. Blessley and the details of the cross-country flight and the personnel are discussed and documented at his link. Interestingly, in the same time period a similar ferry flight was carried out by George Brett, which was very vell documented in the Air Corps Newsletter.

Photograph, right, is of Auton at age 25 from the link. Additional photographs and information are also at the link. Auton has a good Web presence, having moved through the ranks to Brigadier General by the time he was killed in an airplane crash in 1952.


Auton was a graduate of Georgetown (KY) College, and on January 30, 2008 he was posthumously inducted into the Georgetown College Hall of Fame. The statement read during his induction is below. It is a fitting tribute to his service to his community and the country.


"Combat pilot, aide to President Franklin Roosevelt, and general, Jesse Auton served in many significant capacities during his career in the fledgling United States Air Force.

"A 1927 alumnus of Georgetown College, Auton began his career in military aviation in 1928, by enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Service, when the nation’s air force was part of the Army. Following pilot training in Texas, his advancement was meteoric. After being commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1930, Auton served several assignments in Michigan and California. In 1934, he became an aide and pilot for the commander of the 2nd Army Corps, which gave Auton the opportunity to command the Air Service color guard during the funeral of Will Rogers. In early 1936, he began serving as a White House aide under President Franklin Roosevelt and as aide and pilot for Assistant Secretary of War, Louis Johnson.

"When the United States entered World War II, Auton was given key assignments to prepare for the arrival of the American air force in Europe. He was an observer in England and Ireland to survey potential sites for U.S. air bases. In the United States, Auton commanded two fighter groups, one in Florida and then one in California. The San Francisco Air Defense Wing was transformed into an overseas fighter wing, and it became the first operational U.S. fighter wing in Europe. As wing commander, Auton directed five fighter groups and one emergency rescue squadron. In addition to his duties as commander, he actively flew combat missions until the end of his command in November 1945.

"During the Cold War, Auton held a number of command positions, including wing commander of the 313th Troop Carrier Wing, which led in hauling coal into Berlin during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49.

"Auton’s last assignment was at the Strategic Air Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, serving under General Curtis Lemay. In late 1951, he was given the permanent rank of brigadier general with the position of director of fighter support operations. (He had held the rank temporarily during World War II.) General Jesse Auton was killed in a plane crash in 1952. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors."



The Register
I'm looking for photographs of pilot Auton 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 researching 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.


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