Mineral Wells Airport
|Mineral Wells Airport
(former Wolters Air Force Base)
(former Wolters Army Airfield)
|Owner||City of Mineral Wells|
|Serves||Mineral Wells, Texas|
|Elevation AMSL||974 ft / 297 m|
Mineral Wells Airport (IATA: MWL, ICAO: KMWL, FAA LID: MWL) is a public airport three miles southeast of Mineral Wells, Texas. It is in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which called it a general aviation facility. It is owned and operated by the city of Mineral Wells. The airport, as does the city, lies in Palo Pinto County and Parker County. Its terminal is in Parker County.
Originally established as Camp Wolters in 1925, it was named for Brig. Gen. Jacob F. Wolters, commander of the Fifty-sixth Brigade of the National Guard, and designated a summer training site for his units.
Mineral Wells donated 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land, leased 2,300 acres (9.3 km2), and in World War II provided land to increase the camp's area to 7,500 acres (30 km2). The airfield opened in May 1943 and was used by the United States Army Air Forces as a training base. The army camp became an important infantry-replacement training center with a troop capacity that reached a peak of 24,973.
In December 1945 the entire facility was deactivated.
Local businessmen purchased the land and facilities and converted them to private use. The tensions of the cold war, however, resulted in the reopening of the camp in early 1951, under the authority of the United States Air Force. At the installation, then named Wolters Air Force Base, was housed the newly formed Aviation Engineer Force. Special-category army and air force personnel were trained there.
In September 1956 the base became the Primary Helicopter Center directed by the United States Army. In June 1963 it was renamed Fort Wolters. At the time all army rotary-wing aviators received basic and primary flight training there.
The Vietnam War increased the need for pilots, and the base became the home for training not just army personnel, but also helicopter pilots for the Marine Corps in 1968 and for the Air Force in 1970. By 1970 Fort Wolters covered 8,500 acres (34 km2) and leased an additional 1,700 to help handle the 1,200 helicopters used at the camp. By January 1, 1973, 40,000 students had completed the twenty-week training program. The base was also the home of the Beach Army Hospital, the Eighty-fourth Military Police Detachment, the 328th United States Army Band, and United States Army Reserve Detachment 20, Sixteenth Weather Squadron.
In 1975 orders deactivating the base were issued. Part of the land and facilities became the property of the city and private businessmen; 90 acres (360,000 m2) and thirteen buildings became the Education Center of Weatherford College.
A portion of the land was transferred by the United States government to the state of Texas for development as part of Lake Mineral Wells State Park.
Facilities and aircraft
Mineral Wells Airport covers 505 acres (204 ha) at an elevation of 974 feet (297 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 13/31 is 5,996 by 100 feet (1,828 x 30 m) and 17/35 is 4,188 by 100 feet (1,277 x 30 m).
In the year ending August 11, 2008 the airport had 22,750 aircraft operations, average 62 per day: 99% general aviation and 1% military. 78 aircraft were then based at this airport: 83% single-engine, 13% multi-engine, 3% helicopter, and 1% ultralight.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
- 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.
- 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
- Thole, Lou (1999), Forgotten Fields of America : World War II Bases and Training, Then and Now - Vol. 2. Publisher: Pictorial Histories Pub, ISBN 1-57510-051-7
- Mineral Wells Airport
- Aerial image as of January 1995 from USGS The National Map
- FAA Terminal Procedures for MWL, effective May 25, 2017
- Resources for this airport: