Retired Maj. Sherrill T. Arvin joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 when World War II was raging across the globe; he was 18 years old.
“I knew when I was in high school that all I wanted to do was become a pilot,” Arvin said.
His flight training pipeline took him to San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, Coleman Army Air and Curtis Fields, before finally graduating from flying training at Fosters Field at Victoria, Texas, as a newly minted 2nd lieutenant.
Arvin’s first duty assignment was Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, where he flew the B-24 Liberator as a co-pilot.
He took an opportunity to be an instructor pilot at Black Land Army Air Base in Waco, Texas, teaching Brazilian pilots how to fly a Beechcraft AT-10 Wichita. After that, he was sent to Foster Airfield to learn how to fly the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, in preparation to be sent to a fighter unit.
However, the war ended before he was sent to a fighter unit.
“When the war ended I was given two choices, go to Germany as a training, advising, and counseling officer or separate,” Arvin said. “When they told me I wouldn’t be flying anymore as a TAC officer, I decided to get out and join the Reserve.”
His last assignment brought him back to San Antonio with the 433rd Airlift Wing at Kelly AFB. There he flew the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, before retiring from the Air Force Reserve in 1972 at the age of 47.
“I’m proud of the military,” Arvin said. “My family has served in the military since the 1600s.
My grandson is carrying on the family tradition as an Army officer.”
Today, Arvin can be found at the Airman Heritage Museum on JBSA-Lackland where he has volunteered for the past three years. He puts on his old uniform and talks with newly graduated Airmen and family members about his time flying in the Air Force.
*Top image: Retired Maj. Sherrill T. Arvin. Photo by Senior Airman Jordan Castelan.