One linkster earned an IHSA Medal for his efforts on the golf course. As a team Western Military had one
TOP-TEN finish and three District titles in IHSA Competition!!
1949-50 Team Finished EIGHTH in STATE MEET Competition!!
3) Rockford (West)
4) Winnetka (New Trier)
Peoria (H.S.) 666
6) West Frankfort
7) Chicago (Lane)
WESTERN MILITARY ACADEMY 673
9) Moline (H.S.)
1951-52 Brad Godfrey Individual Medalist
1952-53 Team Qualified for State Match Play
1953-54 Team Qualified for State Match Play
One grappler of WMA earned a medal in State Meet Competition. Some nice team records were recorded as well in the
early 1940s while the program was under the guidance of Coach Bill "Red" Schmitt.
1946-47 6 - 5
Coach Bill "Red" Schmitt
Individual Medalist Harry Clark 165 Lbs. Weight
Class 4TH Place
1947-48 7 - 4 Coach Bill
1948-49 8 - 3 Coach Bill
The boys played basketball as well. The only information we currently have was supplied by Mark Jurenga
and is regarding two games the team played against Collinsville. In 1942-43 the team lost a first round Regional game and
in 1948-49 they lost the championship game of the Regional to Collinsville. If you have any further information it would be
1948-49 2nd Place in Regional Tourney
This article was submitted by Frank Hedrick about one of Western Military's great alumni:
"Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. was born in
Quincy, Illinois on February 23rd, 1915. Later his parents moved to Florida where, at the age of twelve, Paul had his first
airplane ride. As part of an advertising stunt, he threw Baby Ruth candy bars, with paper parachutes attached, from a biplane
flying over a crowd gathered at the Hialeah horse track near Miami. From that day on, Paul knew he had to fly.
"His teen years were spent attending Western
Military Academy. Later he attended the Universities of Florida and Cincinnati in pursuit of a career in medicine, but his
determination to fly was greater than that of a career both parents wanted for him. So, on February 25th, 1937, Paul enlisted
as a flying cadet in the Army Air Corps at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. A year later he got his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas
and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.
"In February 1942, Paul became the Squadron Commander
of the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, destined for England. He flew 25 missions in B-17s, including the first
American Flying Fortress raid against occupied Europe. In November of that year, he was in Algeria leading the first bombardment
missions in support of the North African invasion.
"In March 1943, he was returned to the states
to test the combat capability of Boeing's new Super Fortress, the B-29, an airplane plagued with problems. He taught himself
to fly the airplane and subsequently flew it about 400 hours in tests. This eventually gave him more experience as to the
capabilities and limitations of a B-29 than any other pilot at that time.
"In September 1944, Paul was briefed on the Manhattan
Project, the code name for the development of the atom bomb. It was to be his responsibility to organize and train a unit
to deliver these weapons in combat operations. He would also determine and supervise the modifications necessary to make the
B-29 capable of delivering the weapons, and for this, the unit had to be self-sufficient. Secrecy was paramount. The unit
would support Los Alamos with flight test airplanes to establish ballistics and detonator reliability to explode the bombs.
Paul was told, "You are on your own. No one knows what to tell you. Use normal channels to the extent possible. If you are
denied something you need, restate your need is for "SILVERPLATE" (a codename) and your request will be honored without question."
"Paul requisitioned 15 new B-29s and specified
they be stripped of turrets and armor plating except for the tail gunner position; that fuel-injected engines and new technology
reversible-pitch propellers be installed; and the bomb bay re-configured to suspend, from a single point, ten thousand pounds.
Such an airplane would fly higher, faster, and above the effective range of anti-aircraft fire.
"A B-29 bombardment squadron, the 393rd, in its
final stage of training, and Wendover Army Air Base located on the Utah/Nevada border were selected by Paul for "starters."
The 393rd was fully equipped and the base had a fully manned "housekeeping" group. Wendover was isolated but close enough
to Los Alamos to work together. The Salton Sea was an ideal distance for bombing practice.
"Then on December 17th, 1944, formal orders were
issued activating the 509th Composite Group, consisting of seven subordinate units. In March 1945, the First Ordnance Squadron,
a unit designed to carry out the technical phases of the group responsibilities, became part of the 509th. The personnel count
now exceeded 1500 enlisted men and some 200 officers. Then, quietly, the group started moving overseas to Tinian Island in
the Marianas chain.
"On the afternoon of August 5th, 1945, President
Truman gave his approval to use the weapons against Japan. By the time the plane left, it's familiar arrowhead tail motif
had been changed on both sides to the letter "R" in a circle, the standard i.d. for the Sixth bomb group. The idea behind
the change was to confuse the enemy if they made contact, which they did not. At 02:45 A.M. August 6th, the Enola Gay lifted
off North Field with Paul Tibbets and his crew en route to Hiroshima. At exactly 09:15 plus 15 seconds the world's first atomic
bomb exploded. The course of history and the nature of warfare was changed."