Thomas J. Hanley

Its Origin and Early Years
by Colonel William C. Stancik USAFR
R. Cargill Hall

U.S. military forces demobilized rapidly after World War II. Between June 1945 and May 1947, the Army Air Forces, an air force that had counted 2,300,000 men and women and 68,000 aircraft, nosedived to approximately 300,000 active-duty personnel and 25,000 aircraft. While millions of American servicemen returned to civilian pursuits, how best to recruit and train officer candidates in the ROTC again presented the military a difficult challenge. Military leaders judged a pool of trained reservists to be essential in the postwar years, and on 22 August 1946 the Army Chief of Staff, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed General Order 124 establishing seventy-seven Air ROTC units under the Air Training Command (ATC). A few weeks later, on 15 November, Headquarters Army Air Forces transferred Air ROTC from ATC to the Air Defense Command (ADC).
     Transferring Air ROTC from the Air Training Command to the Air Defense Command in November 1946 hardly improved the quality of instruction. Most college units operated without training aids or texts. At the beginning of 1947, after observing the air detachments in New England schools, the Eleventh Air Force historian wrote: "The sum total of Air ROTC equipment on hand at each college could be contained in a cigar box and consisted of some 30 Kodachrome slides of cloud formations. In April, Major General Thomas J. Hanley, Jr., commander of ADC's Eleventh Air Force, inspected Air ROTC units at Purdue, Ohio State, and Duquesne universities. In his report, Hanley not only confirmed his historian's contention about shortages of books and supplies but also declared ROTC instructors to be poorly trained. But Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer, commanding general of Air Defense Command, immersed in organizing the country's air defense forces, did little more than acknowledged Hanley's report. The Air ROTC program claimed a decidedly low priority at ADC.
Highly Recommended Links for Further Study
Air Force ROTC
This page presents a complete and comprehensive history of the ROTC. Major General Hanley is just one of the many notable members of the Air Force who are mentioned.
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Thomas J. Hanley died in 1969
From The Early Birds of Aviation ROSTER, 1996
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