Edward T. Roberts
Lt Col
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Commander, 1607th Field Maintenance Sq

"We moved about eleven times in four years," recalls Edward of life as the son of a sharecropper. He was born near Coffeeville, Mississippi, and attended school only through mid-year of the seventh grade. Edward went to work "in 1934 or 35" in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He recalls being paid $30 a month, with $25 automatically sent to his parents. He says he was in Company 3496, with men who were mostly from the same fifty-mile radius. All along Edward had been trying to join the U.S. Navy with no luck. "The Navy wanted good-looking people," he says. On February 13, 1936, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and was sent to the Thirty-Fifth Infantry of the Hawaiian Division. He returned from Hawaii in 1938, was discharged, and then re-enlisted in 1939 in Bossier City in the Thirteenth Squadron of the Third Tactical Group. He recalls earning $21 a month as a private, with a quarter held out for the Old Soldiers Home. Edward was sent to the Sparta School of Aeronautics in Tulsa where he was trained as an aircraft mechanic second class. He began working on B-24s, and sailed to England on a British troop ship, Duchess of Bedford. He was based near Lavenham about seventy miles northeast of London in County Suffolk. By then a master sergeant, he worked in the IG (inspector general) section of the 487th Bombardment Group, Third Air Division. A senior officer urged him to apply for a commission. He only had to pass the entrance examination to Officer Candidate School. Edward passed and became a second lieutenant. As a maintenance officer, he says, he was judged by the number of planes that took off. In his spare time he went to church in Lavenham, where he learned English sanctuaries were not heated. After the war, Edward remained in the Air Force. He worked in the Berlin Airlift with C-47s, and then spent the last twelve years of his career as a squadron commander, ending his duties at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. He retired on October 31, 1962. Edward came to Shreveport where he worked for AG Edwards and Sons as a stockbroker, and then as an independent broker until May of 2003.