Gunter Auxillary Airfield #5
A 1918 aerial view looking northwest along the amazing number of hangars (16 of them) at Taylor Field
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|Type||Pilot training airfield|
Air Service, United States Army|
United States Army Air Forces
Training Section, Air Service (World War I)|
Army Air Force Training Command (World War I)
World War I
World War II
Taylor Field is a closed military airfield located 11 miles east-southeast of Montgomery, Alabama. It was one of thirty-two Air Service training camps established after the United States entry into World War I in April 1917.
History[edit | edit source]
The base was named Taylor Field, being named after Captain Ralph L. Taylor, of Stamford, Connecticut, who was commissioned a Captain in the Nebraska National Guard Air Service on 3 May 1917, and ordered to active duty at Mineola Field, New York, on 23 May 1917. Captain Taylor was an aviation instructor at Mineola field, and was killed in an accident on 2 August 1917.
World War I[edit | edit source]
The property leased by the War Department consisted of 800 acres of land for which the government paid $4,000 a year as rent, with an option of purchase for $32,000. The land was leased 16 November 1917. It was the first military flying facility in Alabama. It was named for Captain Ralph L. Taylor, who was killed in an airplane crash at Mineola Field, New York in August 1917. Four service squadrons 128, 129, 131 and 193 arrived at the Field by April 16, 1918. In addition there was the usual complement of quartermaster and sanitary and medical detachments.
The Air Service used Taylor Field as a primary flight school. It had sixteen hangars, repair shops, warehouses, barracks, a hospital and nearly 200 Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" and De Havilland DH-4 "Gypsy Month" trainers. Active flying began 2 May 1918. Major E. M. Hoffman, Signal Corps was the first officer in charge of the Flying Field. He was succeeded by 2nd Lt. Charles N. Monteith, July 9, 1918, he in turn on October 2, 1918, was succeeded by 2nd Lt. Kenneth G. Fraser. The Field graduated 139 cadets. The total number of flying time 20,619 hours, and 27 minutes.
The flying school trained One Hundred and thirty-nine pilots in eight-week courses. Some deployed and fought in combat on the Western Front in France during World War I. The airfield closed in April 1919. It was reopened as Gunter Auxiliary Airfield #5 during World War II and was used as an auxiliary landing field for the flight school at Gunter Army Airfield. After the war, it was closed in July 1946.
After World War II, the airfield was sold off to private owners and the remaining structures were dismantled. Other than a cleared area, all the former hangars and structures of the military airfield have been torn down. The site of Taylor Field is located south of the intersection of Ray Thornington Road & Foxchase Drive. There is an Alabama historical marker located on the south side of Ray Thornington Road next to a dirt road heading to the south. The dirt road may have been an entrance road to the former airfield.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- William R. Evinger: Directory of Military Bases in the U.S., Oryx Press, Phoenix, Ariz., 1991, p. 147.
- Location of U.S. Aviation Fields, The New York Times, 21 July 1918
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