The Ito Project History

Alejandro Nicolás Pagliere was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 2, 1918, into a relatively well-off family (Perón's fascism and the never-ending economic malaise of Argentina would take care of the family's money). His father, Alejandro Sebastián Pagliere, was a civil engineer, who had worked on many interesting international projects as well as constructing many buildings in Buenos Aires (his name can still be seen on several buildings). He had even built the house they all lived in on José Luis Cantilo in the Devoto neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

In his late teens, Ito (from "Alejandrito") got it into his head that he wanted to fly. His parents would have none of it. In his early twenties, in 1941, without his parents knowledge, he heard about an exam being given that would help select a group of Argentinians to go to the US, to learn to fly. They would have the trip and training all taken care of by the Army Air Corps (as what would become the Air Force was then called). He took the test and waited to hear the results. One evening, he sat down and had dinner in the enormous dining room at Devoto. He chatted with his parents. When the dinner plate was taken away, there revealed lay that day's newspaper clipping, complete with article and photo of a line of examenees. Clearly visible at the very first desk was Ito. He had been caught.

On January 6, 1942, a month after the Pearl Harbor attack, and despite his parents' reservations about their son going off to a country which had just entered a war, he boarded a boat that traveled up the coast of the Americas. He arrived at Kelly Field, Texas, one of several South American cadets. He spent the next few weeks and months at Garner, Kelly and Randolph fields in Texas, was graduated September 6, 1942 (Class 42-H), then went off to become a flight instructor at Thunderbird Field, near Phoenix, Arizona.

Read the history of one man's life-changing adventure through the letters he wrote back home to his parents, the diary he kept, and the photos he took, as he learned to fly, watched comrades go down, traveled and learned about the US, the country that, as his life and world events changed, was to be his home.