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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.

---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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The New York TImes, September 16, 1946 (Source: NYT)
The New York TImes, September 16, 1946 (Source: NYT)

Paul Wurtsmith (b. August 9, 1906; d. September 13, 1946) landed as a passenger once at Tucson, probably on Wednesday, June 24, 1931. He landed with pilot E.H. Alexander. Alexander did not enter an arrival date or time, but they appeared to be accompanied by another Army pilot that did. He was Joseph P. Bailey. Both flew Douglas BT-2Bs; Alexander identified his as "345" and Bailey as "147." Based at Riverside, CA March Field, they were eastbound to El Paso, TX.

He learned to fly and received his wings at Kelly Field, San Antonio, TX in 1928. Shy of two years' flying experience he was appointed by the Army to participate in the National Air Races (NAR) at Cleveland August 24 - September 2, 1929. He was based at Selfridge Field, MI at the time as a member of the "Hat in the Ring" squadron of the 94th Pursuit Squadron. The New York Times of August 16, 1929 announced his appointment. Other officers listed read like a Who's Who of Register pilots. They include Hugh Knerr. W.R. Wolfinbarger, John Jouett, Horace Heisen, Otto George, Ralph Royce and Victor Strahm, and others.

According to the Aircraft Yearbook for 1930, at the NAR Wurtsmith took first place in the Army Pursuit Race (Event #7). He flew a Curtiss P-1 with a D-12 engine at 152.17 miles per hour for the win. He was awarded the Mitchell Trophy for his effort.

Please note that the Navy was well-represented during the 1929 NAR. Please direct your browser to Register pilot Homer Wick, and the many hyperlinks therefrom as entry points into the Naval contingent that year at the Races.

A Wiki biography with photograph and a summary of his military experiences is at the link. He enjoyed only a short life. He was killed in North Carolina in 1946 in the crash of a Mitchell B-25 bomber. Details of the crash appeared in The New York Times of September 16, 1946, above, left.

The New York TImes, January 24, 1943 (Source: NYT)
The New York TImes, January 24, 1943 (Source: NYT)






Before his passing, according to The New York Times of January 24, 1943, right, Wurtsmith was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for service in the Pacific Theater.

In the Times of April 3, 1945, Wurtsmith was nominated and rose to the rank of Major General about a year before his death.

I have no information about his wife or personal life, interests, or recreational preferences. If you can help, please let me KNOW.



The Register

I'm looking for photographs of this airplane 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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