Alvin E. Prothero
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Pilot, Strategic Air Command

Born in Lead, South Dakota, Alvin moved at age five to Miami, Florida, where his family was following the building boom in that area. Alvin finished high school in 1939 and helped his father in home and commercial construction. He then went to work for Pan American Airlines in its radio shop. Concerning flying, he recalls, "I was interested in it, but I wasn't as we used to say, `Shot in the butt with flying.'" He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in Miami, however, on September 16, 1942. He was sent to air traffic control operator school at Smyrna, Tennessee, and then was stationed as controller at Drew Field near Tampa, Florida. From Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, an overseas replacement depot, he was sent in March of 1943 to a base near Natal, Brazil, which served as a departure point for aircraft going to North Africa. As many as 150 aircraft per day funneled through his duty station, where he served as a controller. Alvin himself entered flight training, and graduated March 11, 1945. A first lieutenant, he went on to B-17 training at Sebring, Florida, and then to B-29 school at MacDill Field near Tampa, Florida. He volunteered for the Pacific, where he was stationed on Guam, and in Japan at Kobe and Osaka during the occupation. Alvin spent the rest of his career in the Air Force, and retired in 1975.