The Southern Aviation School in Camden, founded in November 1940 by Frank W. Hulse and Ike F. Jones of Augusta, Georgia, trained military pilots between March 1941 and August 1944. In 1940 Hulse and Jones obtained contracts to provide flight training in Greenville and Anderson for students at Clemson and Furman. The program’s success led Hulse to seek authorization to provide primary training for U.S. Army Air Corps student pilots. Assisted by S.C. aviation commissioner Dexter C. Martin and the Camden and Kershaw County Airport Commission, Hulse leased Woodward Airport in Camden and obtained an army contract.
In ninety days the company built classrooms, barracks, and additional hangars, and employed civilian pilots and ground-school instructors. Training of army fliers began on March 22, 1941. Among the two American cadet classes of 1941 was Robert K. Morgan, who later flew the famed B-17 bomber Memphis Belle. Between June 7, 1941, and February 16, 1942, the school trained 297 Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots, including the late John P. Moss, who became air vice marshal, second in command of the Rhodesian Air Force. After the RAF program ended, American cadets resumed training in Camden.
Paved runways, additional buildings, and new auxiliary fields were developed during the war years, and more than six thousand pilots were graduated. Shortly after the school closed in August 1944, its flying field was covered with surplus U.S. Navy warplanes, and German prisoners of war occupied its barracks. Later the school’s war-time facilities were sold, and the Camden Military Academy came into existence.
Wiener, Willard. Two Hundred Thousand Flyers. Washington, D.C.: Infantry Journal, 1945.
Scanned copy of a 1943 promotional booklet for the Southern Aviation School, provided by Bill Fauth of Mexico Beach, Florida.