Ito Project Background
When Alejandro Pagliere was a young man of 24, learning to fly
in the United States Army Air Corps, he wrote daily letters to his
parents back home. It was an anxious time for the country. The war
was on and the US was trying to keep up with the ever increasing
demand for pilots and aircraft. It was an exciting time for Alejandro.
He was 24 and was living his dream. He had always wanted to learn
to fly. He would fly all his life. This was his chance.
The interesting thing is that he was
not a US citizen ... yet. The US was spending great
effort and resources training foreign flyers. Most
were British, many were Chinese and Dutch. And, in
line with the so-called Goodwill Act of June 24,
1938 (Act Number 710, followed up by Executive Order
7964 on August 29, 1938), a few were from South America.
Alejandro was one of about 24 Argentines who was accepted
into the program, having been given a stipend to come
to the US to learn to fly.
Alejandro Nicolás Pagliere, or "Ito" as
family and friends called him, died in 1984. A
few years later, his wife Malena, and daughter
Mariana, found a box in the family home on Long
Island containing the letters he had written to
his parents back home ... in Buenos Aires. Also
in the box were negatives of photographs he took
during this first trip to the US, his eventual
home, and a diary of sorts, where he would sometimes
write the things he didn't dare tell his parents.
Malena read the letters into a tape recorder. Mariana
transcribed the letters. Miguel, the oldest son, being
a photographer, printed the photos. Alan, the youngest
son, is in the process of translating the letters into
English. These parts make up this web site, this project
with two aims: to tell the story of how Alejandro, Alex,
Ito, Papi (as we, his children always called him) came
to be a pilot and a US citizen; and, at the same time,
to try to learn the full story of America's effort to
train South American flyers.