Brandon Fletcher's time at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in the fall will be a little easier thanks to those who studied in Miami before him.
Fletcher, a Miami High School graduating senior, received a $1,000 cash award through a scholarship sponsored by former cadets of the British Flying Training School.
Colin Marshall, originally of Essex, England, and one of the British pilot trainees, made the presentation at the high school's awards assembly.
"I live in California now and felt it was easier for me to get here (to Miami) than the cadets left in England," Marshall said. "There's not many of us cadets left now and those who are left are over 80. The average age is 84."
The BFTS Scholarship Award was established to commemorate the airmen of the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Corps who went through their pilot's training at No. 3 British Flying Training School in Miami during World War II as well as the instructional and support staff.
Members of the association have marked their time in Miami and their appreciation of the friendship and hospitality of its citizens, by founding the memorial award, which is to be made to a selected student for outstanding academic achievement.
Fletcher also had to write an essay about the importance of the British flyers.
This fund is invested in U.S. Government bonds and provides a $1,000 cash award annually to a selected student graduating from Miami High School and attending Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.
It is intended to be used for the purchase of textbooks and other academic expenses relevant to the winning student's education.
The first award was made in the academic year 1995-96 which marked the 50th anniversary of the ending of World War II and the closure of No. 3 BFTS.
Marshall said that returning to Miami makes him feel like he was 18 again, when he first came to Miami.
“Being a cadet was a rite of passage,” Marshall said. “It was the time between childhood and adulthood. You saw it in all of them.
“I never thought I'd live beyond 30, so I tried to live life to the fullest.”
Unlike some of the other cadets, Marshall was not disappointed when he arrived in Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma was a good place for a flyers training school,” Marshall said. “There was a lot of unoccupied air space.”
The first British flyers were not allowed to wear their uniforms because the United States was not entered into the war.
“The first cadets wore gray suits,” Marshall said. “It was only after Pearl Harbor that we wore our uniforms.
“Then our uniforms were dark brown because we perspired so heavily. Boy, it got hot here.”
According to Marshall, the cadets were not only adopted by Miami residents, but also by those in Joplin, Mo., and Tulsa.