Texas World War II Army Airfields: Wikis

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Texas 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
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
Garrison Army Air Force Training Command
SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Col. David Petersen, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, is greeted by Lt. Col. Andrew Toth, 80th Operations Group deputy commander, and Lt. Col. Ternell Washington, 80th FTW, January 4. Colonel Petersen and Maj. Jeff Grayson, 97th Flying Training Squadron chief of training, traveled to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, to retrieve the first T-6A Texan II's in Sheppard’s inventory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Corbin)

In today's United States Air Force, many personnel have spent some of their military service being trained in Texas during World War II. Be it basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, technical training, officer training, or flight training at other facilities across the state. Texas is the home of the Air Education and Training Command located at Randolph Air Force Base, near San Antonio.

Contents

Overview

This tradition of training goes back to the very beginnings of the Air Force, with early fight training being held at various Army camps and airfields in Texas prior to World War I, and in the 1920s and 1930s.

From the poorly armed and understaffed United States Army Air Corps that existed at the time the first bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor, the United States produced, just a few years later, the greatest Air Force the world has ever seen. The effort to achieve this was unprecedented.

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

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.

To build the facilities needed to train personnel, a massive land acquisition program was carried out. This is a little one-sided. Will search for citations other than Wiki (but see already existing article on Goodfellow, q.v), but many cities offered land to the USG (e.g. San Angelo for what became Goodfellow AFB) to entice the military to build a base (and help economy) and no one was moved against his/her will. Within six months a small city replaced the farm or vacant land and training would start.

Typically the airfields were built from scratch on farm or vacant land and contained several hundred buildings of all descriptions. These training fields were small self contained towns that differed according to their use, but in many ways were the same. They varied in size from about 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) for a basic flight training base to more than 65,000 acres (260 km2) for a base used to teach gunnery. Thousands of men and women lived and worked on the bases either as trainers, trainees, support personnel, or family members.

The facilities vital to the training mission were constructed first and that part took about six months. Throughout the war, they were constantly improved to make living more comfortable and the training more efficient. Construction was of wood, tar paper, and non-masonry siding. The use of concrete and steel was limited because of the critical need elsewhere. Most buildings were hot and dusty in the summer and very cold in the winter.

Most fields had hangars, barracks, warehouses, hospitals, dental clinics, dining halls, and maintenance shops. There were libraries, social clubs for officers, and enlisted men, and stores to buy living necessities. Some training fields had swimming pools, all had sport fields.

It is still possible to find remnants of these wartime training fields. Many were converted into municipal airports, some are industrial parks, and others were retained as United States Air Force installations. Hundreds of the temporary buildings that were used survive today, and are being used for other purposes.

Texas, due to its warm climate and excellent year-round flying weather, had numerous training airfields constructed there. The following list is a compilation of the major and minor airfields that can be determined. Numerous auxiliary airfields were also built, mostly to handle the excess amount of air traffic at the major bases, but also so pilots could practice touch-and-go landings without disrupting the traffic pattern at the main bases. These auxiliary bases have not been included, mostly because they cannot be found or located and they have long since returned to agricultural use.

After the war, many of the airfields were returned to civil control. Others became United States Air Force bases. Some retained their training mission as part of Air Training Command; some became massive storage depots of reserve aircraft; others became front-line bases with Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command.

Major Airfields

Army Air Forces Training Command

Western Technical Training Center
Was: Amarillo Air Force Base (1947–1969)
Now: Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (IATA: AMAICAO: KAMA)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Big Spring Air Force Base (1947–1952)
Was: Webb Air Force Base (1952–1977)
Now: Big Spring Mc Mahon-Wrinkle Airport (ICAO: KBGPFAA LID: BGP)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Jones Field Airport (IATA: F00)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Part of Texas A&M University
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Childress Municipal Airport (IATA: CDSICAO: KCDS)
Contractor Flying School
Now: Corsicana Municipal Airport (IATA: CFDICAO: KCFD)
Now: Cuero Municipal Airport (IATA: T71)
Contractor Flying School
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Ellington Air Force Base (1947–1959)
The facility was used by the USAF Reserve and Texas Air National Guard units
and was known as Ellington AFB until 1984
Now: Ellington Field (IATA: EFDICAO: KEFDFAA LID: EFD)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Fort Worth Air Force Base (1947)
Was: Griffis Air Force Base (1948)
Was: Carswell Air Force Base (1948–1993)
Now: Usaf roundel.png Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth (1993–Present)
Central Flying Training Command (1943–1946)
Was: Foster Air Force Base (1953–1969)
Now: Victoria Regional Airport (IATA: VCTICAO: KVCTFAA LID: VCT)
Aloe AAF, Victoria
Sub-base of Foster AAF]]
Airfield Closed
Matagorda Island Bombing Range
Sub-base of Foster AAF
Was: Matagorda Island Air Force Base (1949–1975)
Now: Closed
Contractor Flying School
Now: Garner Field Airport (IATA: UVAICAO: KUVA)
Contractor Flying School
Now: Fort Stockton-Pecos County Airport (IATA: FSTICAO: KFST)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Usaf roundel.png Goodfellow Air Force Base (1947–Present)
Eastern Flying Training Command
Was: Harlingen Air Force Base (1947–1963)
Now: Valley International Airport (IATA: HRLICAO: KHRL)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Hondo Air Force Base (1951–1958)
Now: Hondo Municipal Airport (IATA: HDOICAO: KHDO)
Contractor Flying School
Now: Flying G Airport (Private) (IATA: 28SX)
Contractor Flying School
Now Lamesa Municipal Airport (IATA: 2F5) (Closed)
Eastern Flying Training Command (1942–1946)
Was: Laredo Air Force Base (1952–1973)
Now: Laredo International Airport (IATA: LRDICAO: KLRD)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Usaf roundel.png Laughlin Air Force Base (1947–Present)
Joint USAAF/US Navy Contractor Flying School
Now: Kerrville Municipal Airport (IATA: ERVICAO: KERV)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Lubbock Air Force Base (1947–1949)
Was: Reese Air Force Base (1949–1997)
Now: Reese Airpark (IATA: 8XS8)
Abernathy Field, Abernathy
Auxiliary of Lubbock AAF
Glider Training School
Now Abernathy Municipal Airport (IATA: F83)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Closed and abandoned
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Midland International Airport (IATA: MAFICAO: KMAF)
Contract Flying School
Was: Wolters Air Force Base (1947–1956)
Now: Mineral Wells Airport (IATA: MWLICAO: KMWL)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Moore Air Force Base (1951–1962)
Now: Moore Field Airport (IATA: 7TE7)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Closed
Western Flying Training Command
Now: Pecos Municipal Airport (IATA: PEQICAO: KPEQ)
Contractor Flying School
Now: Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (IATA: TYRICAO: KTYR)

Army Air Forces Training Command

Central Flying Training Command (1942–1945)
Was: Perrin Air Force Base (1952–1971)
Now: North Texas Regional Airport (IATA: GYIICAO: KGYI)
Gainesville AAF, Gainesville
Sub-base of Perrin AAF
Now: Gainesville Municipal Airport (IATA: GLEICAO: KGLE)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: Usaf roundel.png Randolph Air Force Base (1947–Present)
Brooks AAF, San Antonio
Sub-base of Randolph AAF
Was: Brooks Air Force Base (1947–2002)
Now: Usaf roundel.png Brooks City-Base (2002–Present)
Alamo Field AAF, San Antonio
Auxiliary of Randolph AAF
Now: San Antonio International Airport (IATA: SATICAO: KSAT)
Central Flying Training Command
Now: San Angelo Regional Airport (IATA: SJTICAO: KSJT)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: San Marcos Air Force Base (1947–1955)
Was: Gary Air Force Base (1955–1956)
Was: Camp Gary (United States Army) (1956–1963)
Now: San Marcos Municipal Airport (IATA: HYIICAO: KHYI)
Kileen AAF, Fort Hood
Auxiliary of San Marcos AAF
Was: Camp Hood Air Force Base (1947–1949)
Now: Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport (IATA: HLRICAO: KHLR)
Western Flying Training Command
Now: Usaf roundel.png Sheppard Air Force Base (1947–Present)
Contractor Flying School
Now: Terrell Municipal Airport (IATA: TRLICAO: KTRL)
Central Flying Training Command
Was: Waco Air Force Base (1947–1951)
Was: Connally Air Force Base (1951–1965)
Now: TSTC Waco Airport (IATA: CNWICAO: KCNW)
Blackland AAF, Waco
Sub-base of Waco AAF
Now: Waco Regional Airport (IATA: ACTICAO: KACTFAA LID: ACT)
Temple AAF, Temple
Auxiliary of Waco AAF
Now: Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport (IATA: TPLICAO: KTPL)
  • Wink AF Aux Field, Wink
Western Flight Training Center
Auxiliary of Hobbs AAF, New Mexico
Now: Winkler County Airport (IATA: INKICAO: KINK)

Fourth Air Force

  • Abilene AAF, Abilene (1942–1947)
Was: Abilene Air Force Base (1953–1955)
Now: Usaf roundel.png Dyess Air Force Base (1953–Present)
Avenger AAF, Sweetwater
Sub-base of Abilene AAF
Now: Avenger Field Airport (IATA: SWWICAO: KSWW)
Was: Biggs Air Force Base (1947–1966)
Now: United States Department of the Army Seal.svg Biggs Army Airfield (1973–Present)
Now: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport (IATA: BROICAO: KBROFAA LID: BRO)
Now: Dalhart Municipal Airport (IATA: DHTICAO: KDHTFAA LID: DHT)
Now: Scholes International Airport at Galveston (IATA: GLSICAO: KGLS)
Now: Majors Airport (IATA: GVTICAO: KGVT)
Was: Pyote Air Force Base (1947–1954)
Now: Closed and abandoned
Auxiliary of Muskogee AAF, Oklahoma
Now: Brownwood Regional Airport (IATA: BWDICAO: KBWD)

Troop Carrier Command

  • Del Valle/Bergstrom AAF, Austin
Was: Bergstrom Air Force Base (1947–1993)
Was: Bergstrom Air Reserve Station (1993–1996)
Now: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (IATA: AUSICAO: KAUSFAA LID: AUS)
Part of Fort Sam Houston
Used for Troop Transport
Now: Closed, part of built-up area of San Antonio

Air Technical Service Command

Now: Cox Field Airport (IATA: PRXICAO: KPX)
Maverick County Memorial International Airport (IATA: 5T9)
Joint use with United States Navy
Was: Naval Air Station Dallas
Now: Closed
Was: Kelly Air Force Base (1947–2001)
Now: Usaf roundel.png Kelly Field Annex (2001–Present)
(Controlled by Lackland AFB)
San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, San Antonio
Auxiliary to Kelly Field AAF (1946–1947)
Now: Usaf roundel.png Lackland Air Force Base (1947–Present)
Now: Palacios Municipal Airport (IATA: PSXICAO: KPSX)
Now: Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (IATA: LBBICAO: KLBB)
Now: Stinson Municipal Airport (IATA: SSFICAO: KSSF)
Now: Culberson County Airport (IATA: VHNICAO: KVHN)

Air Transport Command

Joint Use USAAF/Civil Airport
Now: El Paso International Airport (IATA: ELPICAO: KELPFAA LID: ELP)
Joint Use USAAF/Civil Airport
Now: Dallas Love Field Airport (IATA: DALICAO: KDALFAA LID: DAL)

See also

References

  • Freeman, Paul (2008) Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Texas
  • 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. Publisher: Pictorial Histories Pub, ISBN 1575100517
  • Military Airfields in World War II - Texas

External links

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