California World War II Army Airfields: Wikis

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California World War II Army Airfields

Us army air corps shield.svg

Part of World War II
Type Army Airfields
Built 1940-1944
In use 1940-Present

During World War II, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) established numerous airfields in California for training pilots and aircrews of USAAF fighters and bombers.

Contents

Overview

Most of these airfields were under the command of Fourth Air Force or the Army Air Forces Training Command (AAFTC) (A predecessor of the current-day United States Air Force Air Education and Training Command). However the other USAAF support commands (Air Technical Service Command (ATSC); Air Transport Command (ATC) or Troop Carrier Command) commanded a significant number of airfields in a support roles. A significant number of them had operational squadrons which were used for air defense of the Pacific coastline and anti-submarine patrols, and one was even handed over to Civil Air Patrol pilots for their use.

In addition to the major fields, dozens of minor auxiliary fields and airstrips were built, generally to provide more room for basic flight training, but also to support other operations. A few of these were designed to be used as "fallback fields," from which defensive operations would be launched in case of invasion by the Japanese.

Most Army airfields were built with three runways, in a triangle, with parking ramp areas adjacent to one runway. This triangular configuration allowed rapid construction, without regard to the direction of the prevailing winds. Navy fields were generally built with two runways in a cross, with a third runway intersecting the other two at an angle.

There were, of course, other designs used, including single-runway fields. Most noteworthy were "landing mats," large concrete squares, hexagons and circles, which allowed takeoffs and landings in any direction.

Following the war, many bases and auxiliary fields were given to local governments—or returned to service—as municipal airports. Often, budget constraints caused the new owners to close or even remove the "extra" runways, retaining only those which faced into the prevailing winds. In at least one case (Orland), large portions of a landing mat were removed, leaving a conventional runway and ramp.

Several fields were retained as United States Air Force installations and were front-line bases during the Cold War or used for experimental aviation, the most notable of these being Edwards Air Force Base.

A few were sold or given back to private owners, generally to be returned to agricultural use, while a handful have become private airports. A number of fields were simply abandoned, due to their remote locations, and the remains of these can still be found, especially in the Mojave Desert.

It is still possible to find remnants of these wartime airfields. Many were converted into municipal airports, some were returned to agriculture and several were retained as United States Air Force installations and were front-line bases during the Cold War. Hundreds of the temporary buildings that were used survive today, and are being used for other purposes.

Gallery

California World War II Army Airfields Photo Gallery

Major Airfields

Air Technical Service Command

  • Bishop AAF, 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Bishop.
Now: Eastern Sierra Regional Airport
(IATA: BIHICAO: KBIHFAA LID: BIH)
  • Concord AAF, 1-mile (1.6 km) north of Concord.
Now: Buchanan Field Airport (IATA: CCRICAO: KCCR)
  • Delano AAF, 1-mile (1.6 km) south of Delano.
Now: Delano Municipal Airport (ICAO: KDLOFAA LID: DLO)
63d Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Agricultural Use
Now: Bob Hope Airport (IATA: BURICAO: KBUR)
Now: Los Angeles International Airport
(IATA: LAXICAO: KLAX)
  • Marysville AAF, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Marysville.
Now: Yuba County Airport (IATA: MYVICAO: KMYV)
  • McClellan Field, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Sacramento
4895th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: McClellan Air Force Base (1947-2001)
Now: McClellan Airfield
(IATA: MCCICAO: KMCCFAA LID: MCC)
  • Muroc Flight Test Base/AAF, 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Mojave
Also used by Fourth Air Force
323d Army Air Force Base Unit (AAF)
477th Army Air Force Base Unit (FTB)
Now: Usaf roundel.png Edwards Air Force Base
Blythe AAF, 7 miles west of Blythe
Sub-field of Muroc AAF
358th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Blythe Airport (IATA: BLHICAO: KBLH)
Palmdale AAF, Palmdale
Sub-field of Muroc AAF
Now: Palmdale Regional Airport/USAF Plant 42
(IATA: PMDICAO: KPMD)
507th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Metropolitan Oakland International Airport
(IATA: OAKICAO: KOAK)
  • Redding AAF, 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of Redding
Now: Redding Municipal Airport
(IATA: RDDICAO: KRDDFAA LID: RDD)
499th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: Norton Air Force Base (1947-1994)
Now: San Bernardino International Airport
(IATA: SBDICAO: KSBDFAA LID: SBD)
Desert Center AAF, 1 mile northeast of Desert Center
Sub-base of San Bernardino AAF
VI Air Support Command (AGF)
475th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Desert Center Airport (IATA: L64)
Rice AAF, Rice
Sub-base of San Bernardino AAF
VI Air Support Command (AGF)
475th Army Air Force Base Unit
San Diego MAP, San Diego
Sub-base of San Bernardino AAF
Now: San Diego International Airport
(IATA: SANICAO: KSAN)
Now: Santa Monica Municipal Airport
(IATA: SMOICAO: KSMO)

Air Transport Command

  • Fairfield-Suisun AAF, 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Fairfield.
Now: Usaf roundel.png Travis Air Force Base
(IATA: SUUICAO: KSUUFAA LID: SUU)
  • Hammer AAF, 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of Fresno
Joint Use with United States Navy (NATS)
50th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Fresno Yosemite International Airport
(IATA: FATICAO: KFAT)
Hayward AAF, 2 miles west of Hayward
Sub-base of Hammer AAF
Now: Hayward Executive Airport(IATA: HWDICAO: KHWD)
Bakersfield-Kern County MAP, Bakersfield
Sub-base of Hammer AAF
Now: Bakersfield Municipal Airport (IATA: L45)
Visalia AAF, Visalia
Sub-base of Hammer AAF
Now: Visalia Municipal Airport (IATA: VISICAO: KVIS)
  • Long Beach AAF, 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Long Beach
6th Ferrying Group
348th Army Air Force Base unit
Now: Long Beach Airport
(IATA: LGBICAO: KLGBFAA LID: LGB)
Lomita Landing Strip, Lomita
Sub Base of Long Beach AAF
21st Ferrying Group
459th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Palm Springs International Airport
(IATA: PSPICAO: KPSPFAA LID: PSP)
  • Salinas AAB, 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Salinas.
Joint with Fort Ord
301st Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Salinas Municipal Airport
(IATA: SNSICAO: KSNSFAA LID: SNS)
Now: San Francisco International Airport
(IATA: SFOICAO: KSFO)
  • Stockton Field, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Stockton
60th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Stockton Metropolitan Airport
(IATA: SCKICAO: KSCKFAA LID: SCK)

Fourth Air Force

  • Chico AAF, 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Chico
10th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Chico Municipal Airport
(IATA: CICICAO: KCICFAA LID: CIC)
Sacramento MAP, Sacramento
Sub-base of Chico AAF
Now: Sacramento Executive Airport
(IATA: SACICAO: KSAC)
Now: Barstow-Daggett Airport (IATA: DAGICAO: KDAG)
  • Hamilton Field AAF, 7 miles (11 km) north of San Rafael
46th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: Hamilton Air Force Base (1947-1974)
Now: Part of the Hamilton Wetland Restoration Project
88th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: non-flying agricultural use.
Porterville AAF, Porterville
Sub-base of Lemore AAF
Now: Porterville Municipal Airport (IATA: PTVICAO: KPTV)
  • March Field, 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Riverside
31st Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: March Air Force Base (1947-1993)
Now: Usaf roundel.png March Air Reserve Base
Shavers Summitt AAF, Indio
Sub-base of March Field
  • Merced AAF, 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of Merced
HQ Continental Air Forces
90th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: Castle Air Force Base (1947-1995)
Now: Castle Airport (IATA: MERICAO: KMERFAA LID: MER)
  • Ontario AAF, 1-mile (1.6 km) east of Ontario
311th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: LA/Ontario International Airport
(IATA: ONTICAO: KONTFAA LID: ONT)
  • Oroville AAF, 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Oroville.
Now: Oroville Municipal Airport (IATA: OVEICAO: KOVE)
483d Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Santa Maria Public Airport (IATA: SMXICAO: KSMX)
Estrella AAF, 9 miles northwest of Paso Robles
Sub-base of Santa Maria AAF
Now: Paso Robles Municipal Airport
(IATA: PRBICAO: KPRBFAA LID: PRB)
  • Santa Rosa AAF, 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Santa Rosa
493d Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport
(IATA: STSICAO: KSTSFAA LID: STS)
505th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNYICAO: KVNY)
Grand Central Air Terminal, Los Angeles
Sub-base of Van Nuys MAP
506th Army Air Force Base Unit
Closed, 1959. Now: Grand Central Industrial Center
Oxnard Landing Strip, Oxnard
Sub-base of Van Nuys MAP
Now: Oxnard Airport (IATA: OXRICAO: KSOXR)

Army Air Forces Training Command

Western Flying Training Command
Now: Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport
(IATA: HHRICAO: KHHR)
  • Mather Field, 10 miles (16 km) east of Sacramento
Western Flying Training Command
67th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: Mather Air Force Base (1947-1993)
Now: Sacramento Mather Airport
(IATA: MHRICAO: KMHRFAA LID: MHR)
  • Minter Field AAF, 14 miles (23 km) northwest of Bakersfield
Western Flying Training Command
64th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Shafter-Minter Field Airport
(IATA: MITICAO: KMIT)
  • Santa Ana/Orange County AAF, 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Santa Ana
414th Army Air Force Base Unit
Western Flying Training Command
Now: John Wayne Airport
(IATA: SNAICAO: KSNAFAA LID: SNA)
  • Thermal AAF, 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Thermal
Joint Use with United States Navy
VI Air Support Command (AGF)
475th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport
(IATA: TRMICAO: KTRM)
  • Victorville AAF, 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of Victorville
Western Flying Training Command
87th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: George Air Force Base (1947-1992)
Now: Southern California Logistics Airport
(IATA: VCVICAO: KVCV)

Known Secondary Facilities

  • Allen AF (25 mi (40 km) southeast of Taft)
  • Bakersfield MAP (4 mi (6.4 km) northwest of Bakersfield)
  • Banning Strip (1 mi (1.6 km) southeast of Banning)
  • Bidwell Field (2 mi (3.2 km) southwest of Red Bluff)
  • Camp Kearney NAAS (9 mi (14 km) northwest of San Diego)
  • Clover Field (3 miles (4.8 km) east of Santa Monica)
  • Concord AAF (1 mi (1.6 km) northwest of Concord)
  • Daggett MAP (6 mi (9.7 km) east of Daggett)
  • Eagle Field (6 mi (9.7 km) west of Dos Palos)
  • Eureka Navy APT (14 mi (23 km) north of Eureka)
  • Grand Central Air Terminal (6 mi (9.7 km) northwest of Glendale)
  • Half Moon Bay Flt Strip (5 mi (8.0 km) northwest of Half Moon Bay)
  • Hawthorne Fld (1 mi (1.6 km) east of Hawthorne)
  • Hemet-Ryan Fld (2 mi (3.2 km) southwest of Hemet)
  • Kern AF (21 mi (34 km) southeast of Taft)
  • Kern County Field (1 mi (1.6 km) west-northwest of Inyokern)
  • Kern County Field (5 mi (8.0 km) west-northwest of Bakersfield)
  • Kearney-Mesa Airport (8 mi (13 km) northeast of San Diego)
  • Lindbergh (2 mi (3.2 km) west of San Diego)
  • Lomita Flt Strip (1 mi (1.6 km) west of Lomita)
  • Los Angeles Fld (11 mi (18 km) southwest of Los Angeles)
  • Lost Hills-Kern County (1 mi (1.6 km) northeast of Lost Hills)
  • M C Flight Test Base (20 mi (32 km) southeast of Mojve)
  • Metropolitan Airport (2 mi (3.2 km) northwest of Van Nuys)
  • Mills Field (10 mi (16 km) southwest of San Francisco)
  • Mines Field (10 mi (16 km) southwest of Los Angeles)
  • Modesto Field (2 mi (3.2 km) east-northeast of Modesto)
  • Montauge Afld (3 mi (4.8 km) northeast of Montauge)
  • Napa Afld (5 mi (8.0 km) south of Napa)
  • Oakland MAP (5 mi (8.0 km) south of Oakland)
  • Orland (square mat, aux field, 20 mi (32 km) west of Chico AAF)
  • Ortay-Mesa NAAS (14 mi (23 km) east of San Diego)
  • Oxnard Flt. Strip 6 mi (9.7 km) east of Oxnard)
  • Parker Aux (15 mi (24 km) south of Taft)
  • Ream Field (12 mi (19 km) south of San Diego)
  • Sacramento MAP (5 mi (8.0 km) south of Sacramento)
  • San Diego MAP (1 mi (1.6 km) west of San Diego)
  • San Diego NAS (North Island)
  • Shaver's Summit Fld (30 mi (48 km) east-northeast of Indio)
  • Siskiyou Country Fld (5 mi (8.0 km) northeast of Montague)
  • Willows Afld (1 mi (1.6 km) west of Willows)
  • Winters Flt Strip (7 mi (11 km) northeast of Winters)
  • Van Nuys Metro Apt (17 miles (27 km) northwest of Los Angeles)
  • Vina (square mat, aux field, 20 mi (32 km) north of Chico AAF)

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Thole, Lou (1999), Forgotten Fields of America : World War II Bases and Training, Then and Now - Vol. 2. Pictorial Histories Pub . ISBN 1575100517
  • Military Airfields in World War II - California

Notes


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