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World War I Air Service Recruiting Poster

This is a list of the airfields used by the Training Section, Air Service, United States Army during World War I.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The history of aviation training in the United States military began on 8 October 1909, when Wilbur Wright began instructing Lieutenants Frank P. Lahm and Frederic E. Humphreys on Signal Corps Airplane No. 1, which the Army had recently purchased from the Wright brothers. Each of the two men received a little over three hours training before soloing on 26 October 1909. Flying training in the Army remained on a small scale until the outbreak of World War I in April 1917.[1]

During World War I, approximately 23,000 volunteers entered flying cadet training. Eight private and state universities offered preflight (ground school) training. Primary and advanced training were more of a problem because, in April 1917 when the United States entered the war, the Army had fewer than 100 flying officers and only three flying fields-- Hazelhurst Field, Mineola, New York; Chandler Field, Essington, Pennsylvania; and Rockwell Field, San Diego, California. Chandler Field was closed in the summer of 1917 as inadequate, and its personnel and equipment transferred to the new Gerstner Field, Louisiana.[1]

Curtiss JN-4 Jennys training at Kelly Field 1918

Because it would take a long time to construct adequate training facilities in the United States, Canada provided flying bases at Deseronto and Camp Borden in the Toronto area during the summer of 1917 so that several hundred American cadets could begin primary flying training under the tutelage of the British Royal Flying Corps. The British also operated three flying schools in the United States, located at Camp Taliaferro, Fort Worth, Texas. By Christmas 15 US training bases were available, a number expanded to 27 in the United States and 16 in Europe by the end of the war. Here cadets underwent six to eight weeks of primary pilot training, including 40–50 hours in the air, usually in a Curtiss JN-4 or in a Standard J-1.[1]

Over 11,000 flying cadets received their wings and were commissioned before entering four weeks of advanced training either in the United States or Europe. Bombing instruction occurred primarily at Ellington Field and Taliaferro Field, Texas, among other locations, provided observation training, while pursuit (fighter) courses were restricted to a series of Air Instructional Centers (AIC)s in France because of a lack of necessary equipment in the United States. Brooks Field, Texas, contained the principal instructor's school.[1]

Because the United States was in World War I only for a year and a half and entered it so unprepared, only about 1,000 of the 11,000 aviators trained during the war were actually involved in operations against the enemy. Most of these operations consisted of artillery observation or air-to-air combat. Rapid demobilization followed the end of World War I, and many of these flying schools were closed and turned over to local authorities as airports, although some remained in service though the 1920s, World War II, and into the modern era.[1]

Airfields[edit | edit source]

By November 1918, the Air Service put 18 new airfields into service for advanced flying, experimental testing, and specialized training in bombing, observation and pursuit fighter training. In Canada, Camp Borden near Toronto was also used by the Air Service in conjunction with the Royal Flying Corps. All of these new airfields were named after Americans who lost their lives on aeronautical duty, some of which in the days when aviation was in its infantry. Three civilians who were pioneers in aeronautics were also honored.[2]

San Antonio, Texas
Named after Cadet Private Sidney Johnson Brooks, Jr [2]
29°20′30″N 98°26′6″W / 29.34167°N 98.435°W / 29.34167; -98.435 (Brooks Field)
Aviation Flight Instructor School.
Wichita Falls, Texas
Named after 1st Lieutenant Loren H. Call [2]
33°52′18″N 98°33′18″W / 33.87167°N 98.555°W / 33.87167; -98.555 (Call Field)
Pilot/Observation training
Closed, May 1919
Arcadia, Florida
Named after 1st Lieutenant Victor Carlstrom [2]
27°08′18″N 81°48′10″W / 27.13833°N 81.80278°W / 27.13833; -81.80278 (Carlstrom Field)
Gunnery/Pursuit training
San Antonio, Texas (Approximate)
Named after John Wise, Pioneer Balloonist [2]
29°25′26″N 98°29′37″W / 29.42389°N 98.49361°W / 29.42389; -98.49361 (Camp John Wise)
United States Army Balloon Corps, Balloon School
Essington, Pennsylvania
Named after 1st Lieutenant Rex Chandler [2]
39°51′38″N 75°18′00″W / 39.86056°N 75.3°W / 39.86056; -75.3 (Chandler Field)
Seaplane pilot training
Rantoul, Illinois
Named after Octave Chanute, Pioneer Aviation Engineer [2]
40°17′39″N 88°08′35″W / 40.29417°N 88.14306°W / 40.29417; -88.14306 (Chanute Field)
Primary pilot training
Miami, Florida
Named after Victor Chapman, First American aviator killed in World War I (1916)[2]
25°38′22″N 080°17′32″W / 25.63944°N 80.29222°W / 25.63944; -80.29222 (Chapman Field)
Arcadia, Florida
Named after Cadet Private Stephen H. Dorr [2]
27°12′26″N 81°40′12″W / 27.20722°N 81.67°W / 27.20722; -81.67 (Chanute Field)
Gunnery/Pursuit training
Lonoke, Arkansas
Named after Captain Melchior Eberts[2]
34°47′43″N 91°55′09″W / 34.79528°N 91.91917°W / 34.79528; -91.91917 (Eberts Field)
Primary pilot training
Closed, May 1919
Houston, Texas
Named after 2d Lieutenant E. L. Ellington[2]
29°36′26″N 95°09′50″W / 29.60722°N 95.16389°W / 29.60722; -95.16389 (Ellington Field)
Bombardment training
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Named after 2d Lieutenant Fredrick J. Gerstner[2]
30°07′07″N 93°04′48″W / 30.11861°N 93.08°W / 30.11861; -93.08 (Gerstner Field)
Bombardment training
Closed, May 1919
Omaha, Nebraska
41°18′24″N 95°57′25″W / 41.30667°N 95.95694°W / 41.30667; -95.95694 (Fort Omaha)
Aeronauts and Balloon Observers
Mineola, Long Island, New York
Named after 2d Lieutenant Leighton W. Hazelhurst[2]
40°44′32″N 73°35′56″W / 40.74222°N 73.59889°W / 40.74222; -73.59889 (Hazelhurst Field)
San Antonio, Texas
Named after 2d Lieutenant George E. M. Kelly[2]
29°22′34″N 98°34′53″W / 29.37611°N 98.58139°W / 29.37611; -98.58139 (Kelly Field)
Primary pilot training
Hampton, Virginia
Named after Samuel Langley, Pioneer Aviatorr [2]
37°04′59″N 76°21′33″W / 37.08306°N 76.35917°W / 37.08306; -76.35917 (Langley Field)
Aeronauts and Balloon Observers
Dallas, Texas
Named after 1st Lieutenant Moss Lee Love[2]
32°50′56″N 96°51′02″W / 32.84889°N 96.85056°W / 32.84889; -96.85056 (Love Field)
Primary pilot training
Closed, May 1919
Riverside, California
Named after 2d Lieutenant Peyton C. March, Jr.[2]
33°53′22″N 117°15′32″W / 33.88944°N 117.25889°W / 33.88944; -117.25889 (March Field)
Primary pilot training
Sacramento, California
Named after 2d Lieutenant Carl Spencer Mather[2]
38°33′30″N 121°18′00″W / 38.55833°N 121.3°W / 38.55833; -121.3 (Mather Field)
Primary pilot training

Dayton, Ohio
Named after Alexander McDowell McCook[2]
39°46′33″N 084°11′27″W / 39.77583°N 84.19083°W / 39.77583; -84.19083 (McCook Field)
Aviation engineering
Millington, Tennessee
Named after 1st Lieutenant Joseph D. Park[2]
35°21′15″N 89°52′07″W / 35.35417°N 89.86861°W / 35.35417; -89.86861 (Park Field)
Primary pilot training
West Point, Mississippi
Named after Captain Dewitt Payne[2]
33°39′56″N 88°37′57″W / 33.66556°N 88.6325°W / 33.66556; -88.6325 (Payne Field)
Primary pilot training
Closed, May 1919
Austin, Texas
Named after Cadet Eugene Penn[2]
30°13′36″N 97°45′36″W / 30.22667°N 97.76°W / 30.22667; -97.76 (Penn Field)
Primary pilot training (Never made operational)
Closed, May 1919
Fort Sill, Lawton Oklahoma
Named after 2d Lieutenant Henry B. Post[2]
34°38′55″N 98°23′58″W / 34.64861°N 98.39944°W / 34.64861; -98.39944 (Post Field)
Observation training
Aeronauts and Balloon Observers
Waco, Texas (Approximate Location)
Named after 2d Lieutenant Perry C. Rich[2]
31°32′45″N 97°11′16″W / 31.54583°N 97.18778°W / 31.54583; -97.18778 (Rich Field)
Primary pilot training
Closed, May 1919
San Diego, California
Named after 2d Lieutenant Lewis G. Rockwell[2]
32°41′52″N 117°12′47″W / 32.69778°N 117.21306°W / 32.69778; -117.21306 (Rockwell Field)
Gunnery/Pursuit training
Arcadia, California
Named after 2d Lieutenant Cleo J. Ross[2]
34°07′47″N 118°02′24″W / 34.12972°N 118.04°W / 34.12972; -118.04 (Ross Field)
Aeronauts and Balloon Observers
Bellevielle, Illinois
Named after Corporal Frank S. Scott, the first enlisted person to be killed in an aviation crash.[2]
38°32′26″N 89°51′11″W / 38.54056°N 89.85306°W / 38.54056; -89.85306 (Scott Field)
Primary pilot training
Mount Clemens, Michigan
Named after 1st Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge[2]
42°37′15″N 82°50′21″W / 42.62083°N 82.83917°W / 42.62083; -82.83917 (Selfridge Field)
Gunnery/Pursuit training
Americus, Georgia
Named after Major Henry Souther [2]
32°06′41″N 84°11′13″W / 32.11139°N 84.18694°W / 32.11139; -84.18694 (Souther Field)
Primary pilot training
Named after 1st Lieutenant Walter R. Taliaferro[2]
Hicks Field, Saginaw Texas (Field #1)
Named after Charles Hicks[2]
32°55′51″N 97°24′42″W / 32.93083°N 97.41167°W / 32.93083; -97.41167 (Hicks Field)
Barron Field, Everman, Texas (Field #2)
Named after Cadet R. J Barron[2]
32°37′32″N 97°18′17″W / 32.62556°N 97.30472°W / 32.62556; -97.30472 (Barron Field)
Carruthers Field (later Benbrook Field), Benbrook, Texas (Field #3)
Named after Cadet W. K. Carruthers[2]
32°40′41″N 97°27′36″W / 32.67806°N 97.46°W / 32.67806; -97.46 (Benbrook Field)
Operated by: Royal Flying Corps
Fort Worth, Texas
Primary pilot training
Closed, May 1919
Montgomery, Alabama
Named after Captain Ralph L. Taylor [2]
32°18′14″N 86°07′18″W / 32.30389°N 86.12167°W / 32.30389; -86.12167 (Taylor Field)
Primary pilot training
Riverside, Ohio
Named after Wilbur Wright, Aviation Pioneer [2]
39°46′45″N 84°06′16″W / 39.77917°N 84.10444°W / 39.77917; -84.10444 (Wright Field)

** Camp Taliaferro was a flight training center under the direction of the Air Service which had and administration center near what is now the Will Rodgers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Flying airfields consisted of Hicks Field near Saginaw Texas where US flight cadets and Canadian aerial gunnery students trained, Canadian and British cadets trained at Barron Field in Everman and at Carruthers Field in Benbrook. From 1917 to 1918 British Royal Flying Corps instructors trained 6000 flight cadets at the facilities making up Camp Taliafero.

See also[edit | edit source]

Air Instructional Centers, AEF, France

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 Aerical Ace Weekly, 3 June 1918, Twenty-Five of the Army's 29 Air Service Flying Fields named for men who lost lives on aeronautical duty.

External links[edit | edit source]

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