Selman Field Navigator Memorial
During World War II, the Army Air Corps, later known as the Army Air Forces, operated a navigation training school in Monroe at Selman Field.
The name of the field was taken from that of the airport on whose site it was built. The name honors the memory of Lieutenant Augustus James Selman, a United States Navy aviator, born in Monroe, who died in the line of duty at Norfolk, Virginia, on November 28, 1921.
On June 15, 1942, Selman Field was activated and Colonel Norris B. Harbold, a pioneer in the navigation training program, was named commanding officer. Within three months, the field was a full-fledged military establishment consisting of the Pre-Flight School (Bombardier-Navigator) and the Advanced Navigation School. Selman Field continued to grow in size and stature and became, the nation's largest navigation training school during World War II.
The curriculum consisted teaching selected young men how to "Get `em There and Get 'em Back." The cadet had to know all aspects of navigation in order to determine where he was, where he wanted to go, and when he would get there. The science of navigation offered four methods of accomplishing
"Zero Zero" was the navigator's ultimate objective. It means navigating through hundreds of thousands of miles of space, cloud rack, wind, and weather and hitting a dime-sized objective "on the nose" at the precise second you said you would hit it on the nose. One inch off i's not Zero Zero. It means right on the button, right on time — perfection.
The end of the war brought a decrease in the need for navigators. Selman graduated its last class October 6, 1945. The field was closed in February, 1946. It reopened as a satellite field
Selman Field met the challenge and provided 15,349 navigators during a critical period in our nation's history. Selman navigation personnel served America well with patriotism, courage, skill, and sacrifice. To those who paid the ultimate price with their lives, we owe a debt that we will never forget nor ever be able to repay.
I used a lot of celestial and learned to love it. Now, at night I sit on my porch and watch the stars and planets on their westward coursers, different, familiar stars through the year. I reflect on the fact that no one will ever again use these bodies to find his position. No one will ever experience the satisfaction of three LOPs, adjusted for time, intersecting at a point; or the frustration of flying low over southeastern U.S. from Selman using single-shot observations and plotting a triangle the size of the state of Georgia! We who used the stars are, indeed, fortunate. We are the last celestial navigators.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Military • War, World II.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5400 Operations Road, Monroe LA 71212, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Selman Field (a few steps from this marker); Claire Lee Chennault (approx. 0.6 miles away); OH-6 Cayuse Helicopter (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Monroe Monarchs (approx. 2.4 miles away); St. Matthew Catholic Church (approx. 4.2 miles away); Operation Iraqi Freedom Memorial (approx. 4.3 miles away); Fort Miro (approx. 4.3 miles away); Prairie des Canots Seat of Justice (approx. 4.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Monroe.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 24, 2019, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 24, 2019.