The Brady Standard
29 August 1975
W. J. (Bill) White, McCulloch County rancher, Thursday quietly observed
his 80th birthday.
With interest growing for the Bicentennial and Centennial observances in McCulloch County, The Standard not only would congratulate Mr. White on this occasion, but to reprint from an old issue of this newspaper, a couple of stories that were carried in the spring of 1918 when Mr. White flew the first airplane into Brady.
Receiving his wings on December 24, 1917 at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Mr. White made his trip here in a "Flying Jenny." He and the 12 other young men were the first to be taught flying at Kelly, with all of the group except one, Sid Brooks, completing the training and earning their commission as Second Lieutenants in the United States Air Force. Young Brooks was killed in an accident there and Brooks field in San Antonio later was named in his honor.
Mr. White in 1918 was sent to France, and to further his training went through seven other additional fields, using French planes, and last was taught gunnery. He never saw active combat duty, however, as the war ended and Armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918.
Now read the stories as written 57 years ago about the landing of the first airplane in Brady:
Lt. W. J. White, known better here by the name of "Billy", accompanied by Lieut. Chandler, both of the aerial service of Kelly Field No. 2, San Antonio, paid Brady a visit Sunday morning by the airplane route.
News of the coming of two airplanes was circulated Saturday morning and an immense crowd of people in autos and other vehicles gathered near the stock yards between 12:00 and 1:00 o'clock Saturday to watch the arrival of the planes. Both planes started from San Antonio Saturday morning about 10 o'clock, and stopped at Mason for dinner, and intended to come on to Brady shortly after noon, but an accident to one of the machines caused the flight to be postponed, and a wrecker out of San Antonio was phoned for. The other plane with both aviators, arrived in Brady Sunday morning at about 9:00 o'clock, and after circling over the city for several minutes at a height of about 4000 feet, landed near the stock yards, south of the city.
The honking of horns and yells of applause greeted the aviators as they made their descent, and a rush was made to the plane where both young men were received with many handshakes and complimentary remarks. A special guard was put in charge of the plane and many visitors went to the scene of the landing to get a glimpse of this magnificent type of flying machine.
The young men were escorted to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. J.H. White, father and mother of Lieut. White, where they ate breakfast and stayed until their start about two o'clock Sunday evening.
The fire whistle was sounded about 40 minutes before their return was to commence, and a still larger crowd was present to bid them goodbye and good luck.
The start to Kelly Field was made about 1:00 o'clock, and after rising from the ground the aviators circled over the crowd twice and waved their goodbyes to relatives and friends and the plane then flew high in the air and headed southeast toward Fredericksburg where a short stop was made.
The event was quite a treat to Brady citizens and was even more so by the fact that Lieut. White was a Brady boy, who entered the aerial service about one year ago. Lieut. Chandler, his companion, is also an expert flyer, and he was made to feel like he was among home folks and friends.
A message was received by J.H. White, father of Lieut. White, Monday morning announcing their safe arrival at their aerdome at San Antonio, Sunday night.