Brigadier General James Raymond Alfonte Collection

Brigadier General James Raymond Alfonte Collection

Brigadier General James Raymond Alfonte Collection

The Library and Archives at the San Diego Air & Space Museum has acquired a very important collection of early Air Service records and documents relating to the career of Brigadier General James Raymond Alfonte. The records had been donated to the English Field Air & Space Museum in Amarillo, Texas by his son, James Moorehouse Alfonte. Upon the recent closure of that museum their dedicated volunteers made a painstaking search for the most appropriate facility to receive documents and the Alfonte records were passed on to us.

Alfonte was born in Fortville, Indiana, on December 7, 1886. After attending Purdue University he was commissioned in the US Army Infantry in October 1911. While serving with the 7th Infantry he participated in the Punitive Expedition to Mexico in 1916 under General Pershing.

Late in 1916 Alfonte was ordered to the Army's newly established Signal Corps Aviation School at what would soon become Rockwell Field on San Diego's North Island as a student pilot. During his training he was involved in at least one crash on the beach at Encinitas, California.

Upon graduation and the award of his wings in mid 1917 he was transferred to Camp Kelly Texas to form and command the 28th Aero Squadron. This unit would go on to see service in World War I, the Pacific Theatre in World War II and is still in service today as the 28th Bomb Squadron (28 BS) is part of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. It operates B-1 Lancer aircraft providing strategic bombing capability. The 28 BS is the largest bomb squadron in the Air Force.

Shortly after this assignment he was assigned as commanding officer to Call Field in Wichita Falls. Also during this period Alfonte was assigned to give a local senator's son his first ride in an airplane. Included in the order was the specific instruction that if anything happened to the VIP, Alfonte was to keep on going and not come back!

Post war Alfonte saw extensive duty with the Quartermaster Corps from 1921 to 1945, during which time he graduated from the Command and General Staff school in 1930, the Army Industrial College in 1932 and the Army War College in 1938. He served as Quartermaster at the Infantry School from 1938 to 1942 and was promoted to Brigadier General in June 1942 with duty at Headquarters of the Quartermaster General from 1942 to 1943. His service continued as Commanding General of the New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Army Services Depot 1943-1945 and Commanding General of the Utah Army Service Forces Depot 1945-1946. Alfonte retired in August 1946. He died on February 8, 1951.

The collection donated to the museum is made up of material related to Alfonse's' association with aviation starting with his assignment to Rockwell Field in 1916, through his re-assignment to the Quartermaster Corps in 1919. Included are original official and personal correspondence, orders, awards, cap wings, flight logs, a large number of original photographs and his pilot's certificate.

 

Link to Descriptive Finding Guide

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