List of airfields of the Training Section of the United States Army Air Service

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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.


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]


Flying training fields[edit]

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]

** 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.

Secondary airfields[edit]

Support facilities[edit]

  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Middletown, Pennsylvania
The depot made overseas shipments and also supplied materiel to Bolling Field, Langley Field, and First Provisional Wing at Garden City.
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Americus, Georgia
Adjacent to Souther Field. Depot supplied materiel to aviation fields and in particular to Park Field, Taylor Field, Payne Field, Carlstrom Field, and Dorr Field.
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Little Rock, Arkansas
Its activity consisted in storing airplane parts and supplying materiel for Post Field, Call Field, Eberts Field, Love Field, Hicks Field, Barron Field, Rich Field, and Carruthers Field
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Wilbur Wright Field, Ohio
Supplied materiel to flying fields; in particular to Chanute Field, Scott Field, Selfridge Field, Wilbur Wright Field, and the Aviation Repair Depot at Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Houston, Texas
Its activity consisted in storing obsolete materiel and providing additional storage space for planes, spares, and engines in excess of the storage facilities at nearby Ellington Field.
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Kelly Field, Texas
The depot operated as an equipment station, supplying in particular, Kelly Field, Brooks Field, Ellington Field and Gerstner Field.
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Los Angeles, California
Supplied March Field, Mather Field, Rockwell Field, and Army Balloon School at Arcadia (Ross Field).
  • Aviation General Supply Depot, Sacramento, California
Used for storage of aviation supplies
  • Aviation Repair Depot, Montgomery, Alabama
Depot repaired wrecked planes and engines; also overhauled planes and engines that had flown the required number of hours.
  • Aviation Repair Depot, Indianapolis, Indiana
Depot repaired wrecked planes and engines and overhauling planes and engines when required
  • Aviation Repair Depot, Dallas, Texas
Activities consisted in repairing and overhauling airplanes and engines for Barron Field, Brooks Field, Call Field, Carruthers Field, Ellington Field, Gerstner Field, Kelly Field, Love Field, Post Field, Rich Field, and Hicks Field. Used Love Field for test flights of repaired machines.

See also[edit]

Air Instructional Centers, AEF, France


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai 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.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the First World War, Volume 3, Part 2, Center of Military History, United States Army, 1949 (1988 Reprint), Zone of the Interior, Territorial Departments, Tactical Divisions organized in 1918. Posts, Camps and Stations.

External links[edit]