"When they were ready to start their training for the day, they checked in here. They were given an instructor assignment. They got their papers, their orders. They got an aircraft number assigned to them. And in the case of primary trainers, they actually handed them a crank for the engine."
Striegler spent a considerable amount of time here during the early 1940s. Flight instructors were civilians, and some local residents allowed instructors to live with them.
"So a gentleman named Ed Walters from Littlefield moved in with us, and he was like a brother to me during the war. He took me everywhere, in and out of this building."
The old Curtis Field control tower building, constructed in 1940 or 1941 -- was targeted for demolition December 1st. Striegler convinced the owner of the property to donate it instead, to the Heart of Texas Historical Museum.
"We desperately wanted to save it, because it's the last standing wooden World War II building anywhere near original condition in the whole county. And Curtis Field was a huge operation. 10,000 pilots went through there during the way."
It was moved to downtown Brady, and now stands next to the museum. Although the building survived, the original control tower was destroyed years ago. Old photographs served as the basis for the construction of a replica. Next to the control tower is the Curtis Field guard shack which also came close to demolition.
"But the building was in surprisingly good shape. It was usable. That's all the original siding. It's the original doors."
And nearby, yet another piece of Brady's World War II history.The guard shack from a prisoner of war camp near Brady where captured Nazis were detained during the war. It had been heavily damaged when a truck ran over it. Stone-masons rebuilt it based on old photographs, using many of the original stones. Although the old control tower building is in itself a museum piece, it won't simply stand as an empty shell.
From uniforms to old newspapers and photographs, to other artifacts, thousands of items related to the military history of Brady are stored, or more accurately, squeezed, into this one room in the Heart of Texas Museum. The newly restored control tower building will offer a more spacious location to display these carefully preserved items.
But for Bert Striegler, this is about more than just preserving relics from the past.
"We've already had an 80-member class of high school kids down here. Not a one of them was aware that Curtis Field was a training field during World War II. Not a one of them knew what a Nazi was. Not a one of them knew the P.O.W. camp was a prisoner of war camp." And so he's hoping this can help keep alive an important part of Brady's history. Joel Fox, KLST news."
The restored air control tower building will be open to the public during and after the Brady Independence Day parade next saturday, July seventh. An official grand opening is set for Veterans Day in November.