On this day in 1943, the first class of military aerial navigators arrived at San Marcos Army Air Field. Texas was at the forefront of aviation training during World War II, and some ten thousand navigators were eventually trained in the state. During the Korean War, SMAAF was the largest helicopter training base in the United States. In 1953 the installation was renamed Gary Air Force Base, in honor of 2d Lt. Arthur Edward Gary, the first San Marcos resident killed in World War II. The base was transferred to the army in 1956 and renamed Camp Gary. It was closed in 1963. The site is now used as the Gary Job Corps Center and San Marcos airport.
On this day in 1977, the legendary Texas Ranger M. T. (Lone Wolf) Gonzaullas died in Dallas at the age of eighty-five. Gonzaullas was born in 1891 to a Spanish father and Canadian mother. He was a major in the Mexican army by the age of twenty, then a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department for five years. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1920 and saw service from the Red River to the Rio Grande and from El Paso to the Sabine during the 1920s and 1930s. Along the Rio Grande, he later became known as El Lobo Solo. After Governor Miriam (Ma) Ferguson fired most of the rangers, including Gonzaullas, the day after she took office in 1933, the legislature created the Texas Department of Public Safety and made the rangers a division of that agency. Four rangers--the so-called "Big Four"--had an enormous impact on this change: Gonzaullas, Frank Hamer, Thomas R. Hickman, and Will Wright. Gonzaullas became the first American of Spanish descent to achieve the rank of captain in the force, and his experiences investigating a series of murders in Texarkana in 1946 became the basis for the motion picture The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977). He retired from the rangers in 1951 and went to Hollywood as a technical consultant for radio, television, and motion pictures.
On this day in 1913, Ignacio E. Lozano founded La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily newspaper published in San Antonio to address the needs of Mexicans residing temporarily in the United States who wished to follow events in Mexico, which was engulfed in the Mexican Revolution. As the voice of "el Mexico de Afuera" ("Mexico Abroad"), La Prensa linked that community of Mexicans on the outside with the homeland. It provided coverage of Mexican national political events an well as analysis and criticism; it announced activities of Mexican and Mexican-American organizations; and it always reflected admiration and even reverence for Mexico and its people. It sometimes defended Mexicans and Mexican Americans from abuse. Above all, La Prensa promoted and expressed patriotic fervor for the homeland.The paper was sold all over South Texas and in communities of Mexican emigrés elsewhere in the United States and Central and South America.The last issue of La Prensa, by now a bilingual tabloid, was published on January 31, 1963, just two weeks short of the paper's fiftieth anniversary.