Florida World War II Army Airfields

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Florida World War II Army Airfields
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg
Part of World War II
TypeArmy Airfields
Site history
Built1940-1944
In use1940-present

During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) established numerous airfields in Florida for antisubmarine defense in the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and for training pilots and aircrews of USAAF fighters, attack planes, and light and medium bombers. After early 1944, heavy bomber crews also trained in the State. However two major operations in Florida were the School of Applied Tactics and the air Proving Grounds which tested and developed new capabilities.

Most of these airfields were under the command of Third Air Force, the AAF Antisubmarine Command (AAFAC), or the Army Air Forces Training Command (AAFTC), the latter being the predecessor of the current-day United States Air Force's Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The 26th Antisubmarine Wing was headquartered in Miami. It controlled about forty percent of the AAFAC squadrons.

However the other USAAF support commands, Air Technical Service Command (ATSC) and Air Transport Command (ATC) or Troop Carrier Command, also commanded a significant number of airfields in a support roles.

It is still possible to find remnants of these wartime airfields as most were converted into municipal airports, while others transitioned to the newly established United States Air Force in 1947.

Two remained as active USAF installations until 1960 and a third until 1962, at which time they, too, were converted into purely civilian airports, the latter as a commercial airport.

A fourth became a joint civil-military commercial airport hosting a Florida Air National Guard fighter-interceptor group until 1968 when the airport was permanently closed and replaced by a newly constructed international airport and concurrently constructed Air National Guard base also hosting the same Air National Guard fighter-interceptor group which today is a full fighter wing.

A fifth airfield remained as an active Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber, tanker and reconnaissance base with a tenant Aerospace Defense Command (ADC) air command and control squadron. The base later incorporating a commercial jetport and became a joint civil-military airport in 1962 until the closure of the USAF installation in 1975 and its conversion to a civilian commercial international airport in 1976.

A sixth airfield remained as an active Tactical Air Command (TAC), then Air Combat Command (ACC), fighter base until 1995, hosting an active ACC fighter wing, a collocated Air Force Reserve (AFRES) fighter wing, a collocated AFRES rescue squadron, and a TAC-gained Florida Air National Guard (FLANG) fighter alert detachment/operating location. Having been substantially damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, it was converted to air reserve base status as a fighter base for the extant Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) fighter wing and a fighter alert detachment site for the FLANG.

The remaining airfields that transitioned from USAAF to USAF continue to function as modern day active U.S. Air Force installations under the operational control of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Force Material Command (AFMC), Air Combat Command (ACC) and Air Mobility Command (AMC). In addition, a former World War II-era naval air station was transferred to USAF in the 1950s and remains under the control of the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) with a tenant ACC-gained AFRC rescue wing assigned as its sole military flying unit. An Air Education and Training Command (AETC) flying training group is also a tenant command on another active naval air station.

At the former USAAF and USAAF-cum-USAF airfields, hundreds of the temporary buildings that were used also survive today, with some still used for aeronautical activities and others being used for a variety of other purposes.

Major Airfields[edit]

Multiple Commands[edit]

I Bomber Command (1941)
Transferred to: Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command (1942-1943)
26th Antisubmarine Wing (Squadrons)
Transferred to: III Bomber Command
Became sub-base of: MacDill Field (1943)
Became sub-base of: Chatam Army Airfield, Georgia (1943-1944)
Transferred to: Air Service Command (1944-1945)
Later: Imeson Field Airport (1947-1968)
Concurrent Use: Roundel of the USAF.svg 125th Fighter-Interceptor Group, Florida Air National Guard, (1947-1968)
Now: Imeson Industrial Park (airfield closed; flight operations relocated to Jacksonville International Airport)

Third Air Force[edit]

AAF Training Command[edit]

Eastern Flying Training Command

Eastern Technical Training Command'

3501st Army Air Force Base Unit (Technical School, Radar)
Airfield became: Boca Raton Airport (IATA: BCT, ICAO: KBCT, FAA LID: BCT)
Station became: Florida Atlantic University

AAF Contract Flying Schools[edit]

Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics[edit]

Air Transport Command[edit]

Proving Ground Command[edit]