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Levi Ray Haire
Army Air Corps
3704th Army Air Force Base Unit
Profile by Adiba Rehman
Levi ‘Ray’ Haire was born in Chandler on June 10, 1926. His parents, Y.L. and Nancy Haire, had come four years earlier to farm in Chandler. Ray lived on various farms in and around Chandler, and received most of his early education at Chandler Grammar School. In 1937 he attended Goodyear School, where all eight grades were housed in a one-room building, and one teacher taught all subjects, except music. He graduated from Chandler High School in 1944 as Class Salutatorian.
On January 28, 1944, at the age of 17, Ray enlisted in the Army Air Corps. In October 1944, he started active duty. He was placed in the 3704th Army Air Force Base Unit. He trained at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi from December 1944 to March 1945 as Aviation Cadet, Private First Class. During the next few months he was an on the line trainee at Douglas Air Field in Douglas, Arizona. The Army sent him back to Keesler in the late summer of 1945, and he recalled marching training there as a “miserable experience.” He described how his fatigues were always wet, due to the climate, which was “very wet, hot and muggy.” The Army honorably discharged Ray from military service on November 1, 1945. He held the rank of Aviation Cadet, Corporal. “I enlisted for training as a pilot, but since the war was winding down, the need for additional pilots decreased, and finally I was discharged,” Ray writes. While pursuing pilot training, Ray served as a clerk typist and became expert at handling the Carbine rifle.
His oldest brother, Willie Leon Haire, served for several years as a radio specialist in the Army in Italy. Ray knows little about his time in the service, although Willie did continue his work in communications as a civilian in California. Besides Willie, Ray had two more brothers and seven sisters. In 1946, Ray married Eleanor Guptill in Chandler. He proudly mentioned that she was the valedictorian of her graduating class. Together they had three children: Janet, born in 1947, Steven, in 1950 and Mary, in 1951.
While his family was growing, Ray took advantage of the G.I Bill to complete his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University in 1949. He then began his career as a teacher in Superior, Arizona. He received his Doctorate in Jurisprudence (Law) from University of Arizona in 1957. He graduated first in his class in Law School. He practiced law in Phoenix from 1957 to 1969. He served as a Judge at the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1 from 1969 to 1989. He is now retired and lives in east Mesa.
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