This 1943 U.S. Army Air Force film, Keep ‘Em Flying (T.F. 1-3314), is a short educational film to help new recruits find their place in the Army Air Force’s Technical Training Command. This WWII film details the activities of the men who support the U.S. Army Air Force, from crew chiefs to mechanics to armorers and munitions crew. The film opens with shot of planes flying in the air. An advanced air drone takes off (00:50). The film shows some of the various people who play a role in flight, from mechanics to weather observers. Men climb aboard a bomber (01:12). Plane engines are manufactured at a production facility. An armorer loads machine gun ammo into a plane’s gun (01:54). Men sit at a basic training center after completing their preliminary examination (02:29). A new recruit, Joe, is interviewed to see where his best fit is within the Technical Training Command. The officer goes through the different tracks or schools with Joe. The first is Aircraft Mechanics. Students are given a look at a propeller engine and required tools (09:17). They study a model of a plane and a hydraulic system for operating the landing gear. Students look at wings and flaps (10:28) and how they operate. Several students work on a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (10:39) and a North American B-25. The students work on a motor that sits on a testing block, while others work to move a motor on a combat field. In the next area, Aircraft Metal Workers, viewers see a student drawing blueprints (11:53). Men shape metal pieces, rivet, and repair radiators (12:30). Some men plug up bullet holes on a plane (12:41). A bomber makes a crash landing at a rural airstrip. For Aircraft Welders, men weld in a shop; one man works on welding a fuel tank (14:10). Next, the film shows Aircraft Machinists, who operate heavy grinding and milling machines. A man heat-treats a piece of metal. Men operate other large pieces of equipment as they machine parts for aircraft (15:15). Men in the teletype field learn how to build typewriters (16:15) and type on the machines. Members of the Air Corps Clerks do inventory on supplies that are being loaded. A clerk types up a message that a radio man sends out for him. Students in the Radio Operators and Mechanics area sit in the classroom and learn to send and receive Morse code (18:00). Students study a loop antennae and practice using radio communications systems found on the Army’s bombers. Men participate in a B-17 communications simulation (19:08). At gunnery school (19:27), students learn to shoot guns. The film shows a series of shots of the gunners on planes and bombers firing machine guns. The next area the film looks at is Link Trainer Instructors. Link Trainers help pilots practice instrument flying (20:28). A plane flies through stormy weather, presumably using the aircraft’s instruments to continue its course. Students who study to become Weather Observers sit and learn about weather in a classroom. Students use sling psychrometer (21:44) and other devices for measuring weather; a man repairs an anemometer that measures wind velocity. Parachute Riggers inspect and pack parachutes in a warehouse. 23:33 A man tests a chute being packed correctly (23:33). The film shows a man parachuting out of a plane from the point of view of the plane. Cargo is parachuted out of a plane, down to a field. Students in the Photography section study optics in the classroom. They develop film in the film lab (25:01). Aerial photographers take photographs from a plane. Another man uses the photos to put a map together. Aircraft Armorers load ordinance onto a plane (26:06). Men pack belts of ammunition. An instructor shows a 37mm cannon to his students. Men calibrate a machine gun to fire through a propeller in a test lab (27:23). Students use practice bombs to learn how they release from racks, then they load bombs onto a B-25. A bomber squadron flies through the air. The film concludes with General Henry H. Arnold addressing the camera (29:15), talking about the reputation and importance of the graduates from the Technical Training Command.
Training Command was the initial organization to which new recruits were assigned upon entry into the Army Air Forces during World War II. Its mission was the training of new personnel and the preparation of them for assignment to one of the numbered air forces for military service. It focused on pilot and aircrew training, technical training, basic training of enlisted personnel and Officer Candidate School. During World War II, the training of its officers and enlisted men was one of the chief functions of the United States Army Air Forces, consuming a great deal of money, people, equipment, and time.