USN Pre-Flight School, Athens GA, 48th Battalion, ca 1943-1945


Battalion of Cadets that attended Pre-Flight School at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia ca 1943-1945. The Photograph identifies all cadets by first initial and last name. The Commanding Officers were LT J. Coval, Battalion Officer; CAPT C. E. Smith, Commanding Officer; and LCDR R. W. Burleigh, Executive Officer (XO).


Group Photo, US Navy Pre-Flight School, Athens, Geogia, 48th Battalion, ca 1943-1945.

Group Photo, US Navy Pre-Flight School, Athens, Geogia, 48th Battalion, ca 1943-1945. 154 Men and their photo were included plus the three commanding officers. GGA Image ID # 2134ec2e44. Click to View Larger Image.


Note: Our OCR program could not read the names listed. If you have time, please consider transcribing the list of names and submit to [email protected]. Thank you!


History of the Pre-Flight School at UGA


The U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School at the University of Georgia (UGA) played a significant role in training naval aviation cadets during World War II. The 48th Battalion and several other battalions contributed to this effort.

Here's a brief history covering the 48th Battalion:


Establishment of U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School at UGA:

In 1942, amidst the height of World War II, the United States Navy established pre-flight training schools across the country to train aviation cadets. The UGA campus was chosen as one of these training locations due to its facilities and strategic location.


Formation of the 48th Battalion

The 48th Battalion was one of the several battalions formed at the UGA Pre-Flight School. These battalions consisted of young men who were selected to undergo rigorous training to become naval aviators. We were unable to determine the exact date the 48th Battalion was formed, but narrowed it down to between 1943 to 1945.


Training Program

The training program at the UGA Pre-Flight School was comprehensive and intensive. Cadets underwent physical conditioning, academic instruction, and flight training to prepare them for the demands of naval aviation. The curriculum covered navigation, aerodynamics, meteorology, and aircraft mechanics.


Contribution to Naval Aviation

Graduates of the UGA Pre-Flight School, including those from the 48th Battalion, went on to serve in various capacities within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Many became pilots, navigators, flight instructors, and leaders within naval aviation units.


Impact on UGA

Establishing the Pre-Flight School significantly changed the UGA campus and surrounding community. The influx of naval personnel boosted the local economy and brought new perspectives to the university.



The UGA Pre-Flight School left a lasting legacy both locally and within the broader context of World War II history. Many cadets who trained at UGA significantly contributed to the war effort, and their bravery and sacrifice are remembered and honored.

The UGA Pre-Flight School, including the 48th Battalion, played a vital role in training naval aviation personnel during World War II, contributing to the overall success of the U.S. Navy's efforts in the conflict.


Read more about the School and the Pre-Flight Program at A Brief History of the US Navy Pre-Flight School at UGA.


Large Format Group Photo Contributed by JoAnn Hanson, 2024.


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