My Dad, James “Gene” Rier, served in the US Army Air Corp from March 7, 1942 until December 30, 1945. I was surprised to find this letter among his papers along with other documents. It is a Statement of Interest in Consideration for Commission in the Regular Army. October 22, 1945. I had no idea that he submitted this letter of interest for commission in the US Army Air Corp after the war. Perhaps it was a backup plan in the case he did not find a civilian job.
Note: Pertinent parts of this letter are transcribed below for easy reading.
By October 29, 1945, one week after this letter of interest, Captain James E Rier, separated from the US Army Air Corp with commendation.
Dad found a job at the mill in Calais where he worked for a year and saved the money to build a home and business in Machias. By January 4th, 1946, Dad, Mom and my brother Jimmy were living in Calais.
What is interesting about Dad’s Statement of Interest for Commission in the Army is the details it contains about Dad’s education, training, and his early work history. I thought I knew about all about it but I did not. He wrote:
I have attended the following schools or colleges for the indicated number of years and hold the indicated degrees:
a. New England Aircraft School – Airplane Mechanics Course, six months.
b. Hemphill Diesel School, Boston Mass, six months.
c. Army Pilot Training, seven months.
d. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft School – Engine Specialist Course, two months.
My professional or business experience is as follows:
a. Aircraft Maintenance Officer – Three years
b. Six years experience as auto mechanic and foreman
c. Two years experience as topographer and surveyor
My military record is as follows:
a. Commissioned at Brooks Field, Texas, 7 March 1942, per paragraph 14 GO 54.
b. Date of entry on active duty 7 March 1942
c. Active duty, commissioned service, three years and eight months
d. Active duty, enlisted service, one year five months
Former immediate commanding officers from whom an officer evaluation report may be obtained:
a. Colonel Benjamin J. Webster, present address, Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY, served under from 25 June 1945 to date.
b. Colonel Joe W. Kelly, last known address, AAF Training Command, Fort Worth, Texas, served under from 25 January 1945 to 25 June 1945.
c. Colonel George F. Schlatter, last known address, Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY, served under from 3 June 1943 to 25 January 1945.
Permanent home mailing address: Lubec, Maine.
Dad must have been receiving his mail at his mother’s home in Lubec.
Dad’s Separation Qualification Record adds more details of his military career.
Military Occupational Assignments
5 months 2 Lt, Pilot, Two Engined (1051)
4 months 2nd Lt, Pilot, Single Engine (1054)
35 months Capt, Flight Test Maintenance Officer (4821)
Flight Test Maintenance Officer. Supervised the inspection, maintenance and repair of single and two engine training aircraft in the production line maintenance section. Supervised the preparation of reports, forms and correspondence necessary in the administration of the section. Supervised the changing of aircraft engines. Performed all necessary test flights to check safety of aircraft. Totaled 1215 flying hours as First Pilot.
Note: Dad was awarded the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer.
On the second page, Dad lists employment:
Auto mechanic at Diamond Point Garage, Lubec Maine from 1935 to 1937. (This must be his father, Frank Rier’s garage. I did not know the name).
Topographer – 35.725 – for US Engineering Department, Boston, Mass from 1934 to 1935. On survey party, making maps of flooded area, also map of area to be flooded by future dam built.
Dad must have done the surveyor work right after he graduated from Lubec High School in 1934, likely living with his Aunt Mary in Leominster, MA. He truly was a jack of all trades!
Quoddy Light (Dad’s 1934 Yearbook)
Dad’s Graduation from US Army Air Corp Advanced Flying School.
Dad Received West Point Assignment as Flight Instructor. 1942.
The Beginning of A Business in Machias Maine. Rier Buick. 1949.
Rier Buick and Machias Auto Parts. Circa 1960s.
My Dad, James “Gene” Rier: Maine’s Dean of Gas Engines. 1985.