Kansas World War II army airfields

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kansas World War II army airfields
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg
Part of World War II
Kansas World War II army airfields is located in Kansas
Coffeyville AAF
Coffeyville AAF
Dodge City AAF
Dodge City AAF
Fairfax AAF
Fairfax AAF
Garden City AAF
Garden City AAF
Herington AAF
Herington AAF
Independence AAF
Independence AAF
Liberal AAF
Liberal AAF
Marshall AAF
Marshall AAF
Pratt AAF
Pratt AAF
Sherman AAF
Sherman AAF
Smoky Hill AAF
Smoky Hill AAF
Strother AAF
Strother AAF
Topeka AAF
Topeka AAF
Walker AAF
Walker AAF
Wichita AAF
Wichita AAF
Map Of Kansas World War II army airfields
Type Army airfields
Site information
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built 1940-1944
In use 1940-present

During World War II, Kansas was a major United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) training center for pilots and aircrews of USAAF fighters and bombers. Kansas was favored because it has excellent, year-round flying conditions. The sparsely populated land made ideal locations for gunnery, bombing, and training ranges.

The training that was given to the airmen stationed at these airfields gave them the skills and knowledge that enabled them to enter combat in all theaters of warfare, and enabled the Allies to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

The majority of these airfields were located in rural farmland, near small farming towns. The effect of stationing thousands of airmen brought the reality of war to rural and small town Kansas. In addition to providing training for servicemen, the air bases provided jobs for many civilians. Civilians were employed in maintenance, repair, and secretarial work.

Major airfields[edit]

USAAF Name
Current Name
Command Mission Location Coordinates Notes
Coffeyville Army Airfield
Coffeyville Municipal Airport
Army Air Forces Training Command
Third Air Force
Phase 2 Basic flying training
Reconnaissance Pilot Training
Coffeyville 37°05′39″N 095°34′19″W / 37.09417°N 95.57194°W / 37.09417; -95.57194 (Coffeyville AAF) Aircraft operated were Vultee BT-13A Valiants (42-44); F-5 Lightnings, F-10 Mitchells (44-45) Closed 1945. Now Coffeyville Municipal Airport (CFV)
Dodge City Army Airfield Army Air Forces Training Command Specialized 2-Engine flying training school (B-26 Marauders) Dodge City 37°47′53″N 100°07′00″W / 37.79806°N 100.11667°W / 37.79806; -100.11667 (Dodge City AAF) Originally trained Royal Air Force and Free French pilots in basic flight training. Became B-26 Marauder training base. In addition was a training facility for Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) Closed 1945. Now abandoned.
Fairfax Army Airfield
Fairfax Airport
Air Technical Service Command
Air Transport Command
B-25 Mitchell manufacturing Fairfax 39°08′53″N 094°35′58″W / 39.14806°N 94.59944°W / 39.14806; -94.59944 (Fairfax AAF) Manufactured 1/2 of all B-25's built during war (B-26D, B-26J). ATSC modification center; ATC ferrying base for new aircraft; transport hub on mid-America transport route. Aftr the war it became GM Buick assembly plant; manufactured F-84F Thunderstreaks during the 1950s. Airport closed on April 1, 1985.
Garden City Army Airfield
Garden City Regional Airport
Army Air Forces Training Command
Air Technical Service Command
Phase 2 Basic flying training
Aircraft storage depot.
Garden City 37°55′39″N 100°43′28″W / 37.92750°N 100.72444°W / 37.92750; -100.72444 (Garden City AAF) Aircraft operated were Vultee BT-13A Valiants. Also AT-17 (UC-78) advance training beginning in 1943. Closed 1944 and became aircraft storage depot until 1946. Now Garden City Regional Airport (GCK)
Great Bend Army Airfield
Great Bend Municipal Airport
Second Air Force B-29 Superfortress bomber training Great Bend 38°20′47″N 098°51′55″W / 38.34639°N 98.86528°W / 38.34639; -98.86528 (Great Bend AAF) One of three B-29 training bases in Kansas for the 58th Bombardment Wing, the first B-29 combat unit of World War II. Also used legacy B-17Fs for pilot training. Closed 1945. Now Great Bend Municipal Airport (GBD)
Herington Army Airfield
Herington Regional Airport
Second Air Force Unit staging base Herington 38°41′41″N 096°48′29″W / 38.69472°N 96.80806°W / 38.69472; -96.80806 (Herington AAF) Processed B-24 Liberator; later B-29 Superfortress aircrews prior to overseas deployment Closed October 1945. Now Herington Regional Airport (HRU)
Independence Army Airfield
Independence Municipal Airport (Kansas)
Army Air Forces Training Command
Air Technical Service Command
Phase 2 Basic flying training
Aircraft storage depot.
Independence 38°41′41″N 096°48′29″W / 38.69472°N 96.80806°W / 38.69472; -96.80806 (Herington AAF) Aircraft operated North American BT-14 Yale. Closed 1945 and became aircraft storage depot until 1947. Now Independence Municipal Airport (IDP)
Liberal Army Airfield
Liberal Mid-America Regional Airport
Second Air Force B-24 Liberator Basic Training School Liberal 37°02′39″N 100°57′36″W / 37.04417°N 100.96000°W / 37.04417; -100.96000 (Liberal AAF) Closed 1945. Now Liberal Mid-America Regional Airportt (LBL)
Marshall Army Airfield Third Air Force Used by Fort Riley for light observation aircraft Fort Riley 39°03′09″N 096°45′52″W / 39.05250°N 96.76444°W / 39.05250; -96.76444 (Marshall AAF) Later Marshall AFB under ConAC. Turned over to Army in 1950. Still active under United States Army jurisdiction (FRI)
Pratt Army Airfield
Pratt Regional Airport
Second Air Force B-29 Superfortress bomber training Pratt 37°42′18″N 098°45′15″W / 37.70500°N 98.75417°W / 37.70500; -98.75417 (Pratt AAF) One of three B-29 training bases in Kansas for the 58th Bombardment Wing, the first B-29 combat unit of World War II. Closed 1945. Now Pratt Industrial Airport (PTT)
Sherman Army Airfield Third Air Force Used by Fort Leavenworth for light observation aircraft Fort Leavenworth 39°22′06″N 096°54′53″W / 39.36833°N 96.91472°W / 39.36833; -96.91472 (Sherman AAF) Later Sherman AFB under ConAC. Turned over to Army in 1953. Still active under United States Army jurisdiction operated as joint military-civil use airport for light aircraft (FLV)
Smoky Hill Army Airfield
Schilling Air Force Base
Salina Municipal Airport
Second Air Force

15th Air Force SAC 3/21/1946
Strategic Air Command

B-29 Superfortress bomber training
SAC B-47/ICBM Base
Salina 38°47′40″N 097°38′45″W / 38.79444°N 97.64583°W / 38.79444; -97.64583 (Schilling AFB) One of three B-29 training bases in Kansas for the 58th Bombardment Wing, the first B-29 combat unit of World War II.
Major Strategic Air Command base during the early Cold War Era (1951-1965) Now Salina Municipal Airport (SLN)
Strother Army Air Field
Strother Field
Army Air Forces Training Command
II Fighter Command
Phase 2 Basic flying training
Advanced Fighter Training
Winfield 37°10′07″N 097°02′15″W / 37.16861°N 97.03750°W / 37.16861; -97.03750 (Strother AAF) Aircraft operated were Vultee BT-13A Valiants. Later P-47D Thunderbolts Closed 1945. Now Strother Field (WLD)
Topeka Army Airfield
Forbes Air Force Base
Forbes Field Air National Guard Base
Second Air Force
Strategic Air Command
Tactical Air Command
B-29 Superfortress bomber training
SAC Bomber/ICBM Base/TAC Airlift base
Kansas Air National Guard
Topeka 38°57′04″N 095°39′57″W / 38.95111°N 95.66583°W / 38.95111; -95.66583 (Forbes ANGB) In continuous military use since 1941. Initially B-29 replacement aircrew training base. Later in use by SAC and TAC during Cold War. Now Kansas Air National Guard joint civil-military airport with KC-135
Walker Army Airfield Second Air Force B-29 Superfortress bomber training Walker 38°53′40″N 099°06′05″W / 38.89444°N 99.10139°W / 38.89444; -99.10139 (Walker AAF) B-29 replacement aircrew training base. Closed 1945. Now abandoned
Wichita Army Airfield
McConnell Air Force Base
Air Technical Service Command
Air Transport Command
Strategic Air Command
Air Mobility Command
B-29 Superfortress manufacturing
SAC Bomber/ICBM Base
Refueling tanker base
Wichita 37°37′23″N 097°16′02″W / 37.62306°N 97.26722°W / 37.62306; -97.26722 (Wichita AAF) Boeing B-29 Superfortress manufacturing during World War II; ATSC modification center; ATC ferrying base for new aircraft; transport hub on mid-America transport route. Later B-47 manufacturing facility during the 1950s. Major SAC base with B-52/KC-135 and Titan II followed by B-1B until 1992; now AMC KC-135 tanker base.

Postwar use[edit]

After the war ended, the vast majority of these airfields were declared surplus by the USAAF and were either sold to the public or turned over to the local community. Most of them today are small, rural general aviation airports. Many World-War II era reminders remain with abandoned runways and streets, with some wartime-era buildings still in use.

Marshall AAF is located at Fort Riley. It is still in use by the United States Army as a military airfield and is not open to the public.

Sherman AAF is located at Fort Leavenworth. Although the airfield is within the confines of a United States Army post and is still used by the military, it has agreement with the city of Leavenworth to permit civilian use at all hours.

Smoky Hill AAF and Topeka AAF became major United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases (Shilling AFB, Forbes AFB). In the 1960s and early 1970s they were taken off active duty and were turned over to the local communities for redevelopment. Both are still in use by the Air National Guard.

Wichita Army Airfield (Now: McConnell Air Force Base) Is located at the site of Wichita's original municipal airport, which shared a runway with the Boeing Aircraft Wichita facility. Boeing produced B-29 Superfortresses at Wichita, and the USAAF Air Materiel Command took over control of the airport in 1942 to accept, service and coordinate the transfer of newly produced aircraft to other installations. It was returned to civilian jurisdiction in 1946. Wichita Municipal Airport was acquired by the United States Air Force in 1951, and it became McConnell AFB.

References[edit]

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.

External links[edit]