Lt. Eugene Beebe signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register probably on Wednesday, February 10, 1932 (one of his fellow pilots noted the arrival date). He arrived in a Douglas O-38-B, 31-420. From the Register entries, it appears that he arrived as a flight of three other Douglas O-38-Bs from Riverside, CA, March Field. They were eastbound to El Paso, TX. Perhaps this was a ferry flight of three new airplanes from the Douglas factory in Burbank, CA.
Below, an image of Beebe during WWII, probably ca. 1943.
Eugene H. Beebe (R), With Claire Chennault, ca. 1943
The image is from the National Archives and the caption reads: "Col. Eugene H. Beebe of 521 N. Moore Street, Moscow, Idaho, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross from Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault. China."
The NASM file for Beebe is slim and includes nothing regarding his early military career that might suggest why he was in Tucson. One article from the New York Times (day not identified) from 1943 cites his service with the 14th Air Force in China during WWII ("U.S. Fliers in China Acquire a Punch"). He was commander of the organization at the time it moved into China on February 15th, and the article cites the results of the first raids by its B-24s to Haiphong, Hainan Island and Canton to bomb Japanese installations there. He was quoted after the missions as, "sticking some thorns in the backs of the Japs".
The only remaining Douglas O-38 is an "F" model at the USAF Museum. A history and color photograph of it are at the link.
UPLOADED: 02/04/09 REVISED: