Bryan Air Force Base
|Bryan Air Force Base
Bryan Army Airfield
Riverside Campus, Texas A&M University
|Part of Air Training Command (ATC)|
|Brazos County, near Bryan, Texas|
2006 USGS Airphoto
|Type||Air Force Base|
|In use||1942-1947; 1951-1958; 1960-1961|
World War II
Bryan AFB was established in 1942 as part of the expansion of the flying training program by Army Air Forces Training command. It was activated on 1 March under the Central Flying Training Command (CFTC) 77th Flying Training Wing (Advanced, Single Engine), Foster Army Airfield, Texas.
Bryan Army Airfield was constructed with three concrete runways, one main 5500x300(N/S), and two secondary 5000x300(NE/SW) 5000x300(NW/SE). A large parking apron was built with additional taxiways, landing aids and several hangars. Buildings were ultimately utilitarian and quickly assembled. Most base buildings, not meant for long-term use, were constructed of temporary or semi-permanent materials. Although some hangars had steel frames and the occasional brick or tile brick building could be seen, most support buildings sat on concrete foundations but were of frame construction clad in little more than plywood and tarpaper. The base had its own hospital, 40-acre sewage plant, 9 administration buildings, 4 mess halls, supply rooms, officers' quarters, a guardhouse, a chapel, and 37 barracks.
In addition to the main base and airfield, at least four auxiliary fields were also constructed in the area:
- Somerville Field (AAF Aux #1)
- Hearne Field (AAF Aux #2), now Hearne Municipal Airport
- Easterwood Field (AAF #4)
Records for Auxiliary field #3 have not been located.
Bryan AAF became the home of the Army Air Forces Instructors School (Instrument Pilot). The school was established as a means of strengthening the AAF instrument program. A substantial improvement in the instrument proficiency of basic graduates was achieved; this resulted from standardized employment of the more efficient system, proper training of instructors, procurement of adequate equipment, and allocation of more flying hours to instrument work
In 1943, Bryan Field was the starting point of the first intentional meteorological flight into a hurricane. It was assigned to the AAFTC Central Flying Training Command as an AAF Pilot School (Advanced, Twin-Engine).
Instructor training continued until the base was inactivated in February 1947.
Following World War II, enrollment at nearby Texas A&M University soared. Housing was in short supply, so between September 1946 and May 1950 an estimated 5,500 men were housed and attended classes at an annex on the former Bryan Army Airfield.
The Air Force retained a recapture right, which it exercised at Bryan to accommodate the Korean War training surge. In the spring of 1951 the government purchased 1,376 acres (5.57 km2) at the site, and Bryan Field was reactivated as Bryan Air Force Base under Air Training Command (ATC).
Much construction was necessary to bring the World War II training base up to postwar Air Force standards. In 1951 additional land surrounding the base was appropriated for military facilities and extended runways. A jet runway (00/18) was laid down along with accompanying taxiways, concrete block buildings and other support facilities to replace the temporary wooden World War II structures that were viewed as substandard for a permanent Air Force base.
The 3530th Pilot Training Wing (Advanced Single-Engine) was activated by ATC on 14 October 1951. The primary mission of Bryan AFB was to provide advanced single engine pilot training for student officers and aviation cadets of the USAF and foreign nationals. The 3530th PTW qualified aviation cadets as officers in the USAF. The school used T-28 Trojan single-engine trainers and jet training used F-80 and T-33 Shooting Star aircraft. The 3531st Pilot Training Squadron flew T-28s; the 3530th PTS flew T-33s.
Gus Grissom, later one of the first astronauts, was a jet instructor at Bryan AFB in the 1950s. In 1954 the 3530th PTW began transitioning to all-jet basic training using the T-33/F-80s and retired the propeller-driven T-28s. The last T-28 was sent to storage in early 1956.
In 1956 ATC transferred tanker and bomber training to Strategic Air Command and fighter training to Tactical Air Command. Thus, ATC found itself with a much smaller advanced flying training program. Jet qualification training had been taught at Craig AFB, Alabama, but by moving it to Randolph AFB, ATC was able to free Craig for basic pilot training and closed Bryan AFB. Basic single-engine training ended at Bryan on 12 June 1958. The command discontinued Bryan's 3530th Pilot Training Wing on 25 October and placed the base on inactive status until it transferred to Air Materiel Command on 1 April 1960 for subsequent disposition.
The base was turned over to Texas A&M in May 1961. The land and buildings were deeded to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University) in 1962.
In 2005 the Texas Engineering Extension Service converted a World War II-era hangar at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus into a training facility for electric power and telecommunications workers. The hangar was gutted and modernized, with the installation of smart boards, audio-visual aids, and heating and air conditioning.
In 2006, the Texas A&M College of Architecture completed an 8,000-square-foot (700 m2) Built Environment Teaching and Research Facility also known as Architecture Ranch. The building contains a woodshop, a metal shop, and two digital fabrication machines: a CNC Mill and a CNC Plasma Cutter. Architecture Ranch is located on 12 acres (4.9 ha) of the Texas A&M Riverside Campus.
A joint Texas A&M System- University of Texas system low-circulation library will begin construction in June 2012. The facility is designed to hold one million books and eliminate redundancy in the collections of the two university systems.
- 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
- NOAA History
- Kristy, Gillentine (2007-03-11). "Aggies recall days at Annex". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Rod Fisher, S/Sgt USAF based at Bryan AFG for four years
- Astronaut Scholarship Foundation: Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom
- "World War II hangar transformed into state-of-the-art training facility". Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. October 17, 2005. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- North American Motorsports
- College of Architecture Newsletter Fall 2006
- College of Architecture
- Stephenson, Lane (4 May 2012). "Construction of Joint Texas A&M-UT System Library Facility To Begin In June". TAMU Times. Retrieved 13 May 2012.