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California World War II Army Airfields

Us army air corps shield.svg

Part of World War II
California World War II Army Airfields is located in California
Map Of Major CaliforniaWorld War II Army Airfields

Red pog.svg   Fourth Air Force   Green pog.svg   AAF Training Command  Blue pog.svg   AAF Contract Flying Schools
Disc Plain magenta.svg   Air Transport Command  Disc Plain black.svg   Technical Service Command
Type Army Airfields
Coordinates Latitude:
Built 1940-1944
In use 1940-present

During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) established numerous airfields in California for training pilots and aircrews of USAAF fighters and bombers.


Most of these airfields were under the command of Fourth Air Force or the Army Air Forces Training Command (AAFTC) (A predecessor of the current-day United States Air Force Air Education and Training Command).However the other USAAF support commands (Air Technical Service Command (ATSC); Air Transport Command (ATC) or Troop Carrier Command) commanded a significant number of airfields in a support roles. A significant number of them had operational squadrons for air defense of the Pacific coastline and anti-submarine patrols, and one was even handed over to Civil Air Patrol pilots for their use.

In addition to the major fields, dozens of minor auxiliary fields and airstrips were built, generally to provide more room for basic flight training, but also to support other operations. A few of these were designed as "fallback fields" for launching defensive operations in case of a Japanese invasion.

Most Army airfields were built with three runways in a triangle, with parking ramp areas adjacent to one runway.This triangular configuration allowed rapid construction, without regard to the direction of the prevailing winds. Navy fields were generally built with two runways in a cross, with a third runway intersecting the other two at an angle.

There were, of course, other designs, including single-runway fields.Most noteworthy were "landing mats," large concrete squares, hexagons and circles, which allowed takeoffs and landings in any direction.

Following the war, many bases and auxiliary fields were given to local governments—or returned to service—as municipal airports. Often, budget constraints caused the new owners to close or even remove the "extra" runways, retaining only those that faced into the prevailing winds. In at least one case (Orland), large portions of a landing mat were removed, leaving a conventional runway and ramp.

Several fields were retained as United States Air Force installations and were front-line bases during the Cold War or used for experimental aviation, the most notable of these being Edwards Air Force Base.

A few were sold or given back to private owners, generally to be returned to agricultural use, while a handful have become private airports. A number of fields were simply abandoned, due to their remote locations, and the remains of these can still be found, especially in the Mojave Desert.

It is still possible to find remnants of these wartime airfields. Many were converted into municipal airports, some were returned to agriculture and several were retained as United States Air Force installations and were front-line bases during the Cold War. Hundreds of the temporary buildings that were used survive today, and are being used for other purposes.

Major Airfields

Fourth Air Force

The mission of Fourth Air Force was the air defense of the West Coast, operating two air defense wings in California (Los Angeles and San Francisco).It also provided operational training of newly formed groups and squadrons in combat aircraft prior to their deployment to overseas combat theaters.After April 1944, operational training was changed to replacement training of newly commissioned pilots in combat fighters from the AAF Training Command advanced flying schools.

  • Chandler Municipal Airport, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Fresno
Briefly used in 1941 While Hammer Army Airfield under construction
Now: Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (IATA: FCH, ICAO: KFCH, FAA Location identifier: FCH)
10th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Chico Municipal Airport
(IATA: CIC, ICAO: KCIC, FAA Location identifier: CIC)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Orland Auxiliary Field
Kirkwood Auxiliary Field
Vina Auxiliary Field
Campbell Auxiliary Field
Oroville Auxiliary Field
Sacramento Municipal Airport
Oroville Army Airfield
Siskiyou County Army Airfield
Redding Army Airfield
  • Daggett Municipal Airport, Daggett
Now: Barstow-Daggett Airport (IATA: DAG, ICAO: KDAG)
46th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: Hamilton Air Force Base (1947-1976)
Now: Part of the Hamilton Wetland Restoration Project
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Montague Air Force Auxiliary Field
Napa Army Airfield
Willows Municipal Airport
Redding Army Airfield
Siskiyou County Army Airfield
Joint Use with United States Navy (NATS)
50th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Roundel of the USAF.svg Fresno Air National Guard Base (IATA: FAT, ICAO: KFAT)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Salinas Army Air Base
Delano Army Airfield
Meadows Field
Visalia Army Airfield
Hayward Army Airfield
88th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: non-flying agricultural use.
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Boston Field
Huron Field
Indian Field
Murray Field
West Field
Summit Lake Field (Now NAS Lemoore)
Helm Field
Corcoran Municipal Airport
Porterville Army Airfield
Coalinga Municipal Airport (Old)

  • March Army Airfield, 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Riverside
31st Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: March Air Force Base (1947-1993)
Now: Roundel of the USAF.svg March Air Reserve Base
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Buffalo Springs Airport
Needles Army Airfield
Shavers Summit Army Airfield
Now: Yuba County Airport (IATA: MYV, ICAO: KMYV)
323d Army Air Force Base Unit (AAF)
477th Army Air Force Base Unit (FTB)
Now:Roundel of the USAF.svg Edwards Air Force Base
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Bishop Army Airfield
Blythe Army Airfield
Palmdale Army Airfield
Desert Center Army Airfield
Gary Army Airfield
Rice Army Airfield
Muroc Flight Test Base
311th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: LA/Ontario International Airport
(IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT, FAA Location identifier: ONT)
301st Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron
Also used by Air Transport Command
Now: Salinas Municipal Airport (IATA: SNS, ICAO: KSNS, FAA Location identifier: SNS)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Half Moon Bay Flight Strip
483d Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Santa Maria Public Airport (IATA: SMX, ICAO: KSMX)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Estrella Army Airfield
493d Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport
(IATA: STS, ICAO: KSTS, FAA Location identifier: STS)
Joint Use with United States Navy
VI Air Support Command (AGF)
475th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport
  • Van Nuys Army Airfield, Van Nuys
505th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was:Van Nuys Air National Guard Base (1946-1990)
Now: Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Grand Central Air Terminal
Oxnard Flight Strip
Was: Oxnard Air Force Base (1951-1970)
Now: Camarillo Airport

AAF Training Command

Training Command airfields in California provided Primary, Basic and Advanced (both single and multi-engine) pilot training under the Army Air Force Flying Training Command. Mather AAF provided Navigator Training. Training Command also provided technical aircraft support training to both enlisted and officer personnel at aircraft delivery fields, operated by manufacturers such as North American, Douglas, Northrup, Lockheed and Consolidated Aircraft.Santa Ana AAB provided basic indoctrination training to new enlisted personnel and also pilot qualification screening for prospective air cadets.

63d Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Agricultural Use
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Parker Auxiliary Airfield
Conners Auxiliary Airfield
Allen Auxiliary Airfield
Maricopa Auxiliary Airfield
Taft Auxiliary Airfield
Cuyama Auxiliary Airfield
67th Army Air Force Base Unit
Also used by: Air Transport Command
Was: Mather Air Force Base (1947-1993)
Now: Sacramento Mather Airport
(IATA: MHR, ICAO: KMHR, FAA Location identifier: MHR)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Concord Army Airfield
Franklin Auxiliary Airfield
Lincoln Auxiliary Airfield
Winter-Davis Flight Strip
Elk Grove Auxiliary Airfield
87th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: George Air Force Base (1947-1992)
Now: Southern California Logistics Airport
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Hawes Auxiliary Airfield
Helendale Auxiliary Airfield
Mirage Auxiliary Airfield
Grey Butte Auxiliary Airfield
414th Army Air Force Base Unit
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Orange County Army Airfield
Now: John Wayne Airport
(IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA, FAA Location identifier: SNA)

  • Minter Field Army Airfield, 14 miles (23 km) northwest of Bakersfield
64th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Shafter-Minter Field Airport
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Wasco Auxiliary Airfield
Bakersfield Auxiliary Airfield
Famoso Bakersfield Auxiliary Airfield
Dunlap Auxiliary Airfield
Semi-tropic Auxiliary Airfield
Poso Auxiliary Airfield
Lost Hills Auxiliary Airfield
Coalinga Municipal Airport (Old)
60th Army Air Force Base Unit
Also used by: Air Transport Command
Now: Stockton Metropolitan Airport
(IATA: SCK, ICAO: KSCK, FAA Location identifier: SCK)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Kingsbury Auxiliary Airfield
New Jerusalem Auxiliary Airfield
Modesto Auxiliary Airfield
Tracy Auxiliary Airfield
Franklin Auxiliary Airfield
HQ Continental Air Forces
90th Army Air Force Base Unit
Was: Castle Air Force Base (1947-1995)
Now: Castle Airport (IATA: MER, ICAO: KMER, FAA Location identifier: MER)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Merced Municipal Airport Auxilary Field
Ballico Auxiliary Field
Howard Auxiliary Field
Athlone Auxiliary Field
Potter Auxiliary Field
Merced New Municipal Airport Auxiliary Field
Mariposa Auxiliary Field

AAF Contract Flying Schools

Private flying schools operated under contract by Flying Training Command, providing primary pilot training to new air cadets.Although training was provided by civilian contractors and instruction was provided by civilian instructors, the schools were commanded by military personnel and were operated as a military base.These schools operated from early 1942 until being phased out in mid-1944.Graduates then advanced to regular Training Command flight schools for Basic and Advanced training.

(FAA Location identifier: CL01)
Operated by: Coast Aviation Corporation
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Hammond Auxiliary Field
Vail Auxiliary Field
Dos Palos Emergency Field
Canal Field Auxiliary Field
Mason Auxiliary Field
  • Gary Field, 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of Blythe
Operated by: Morton Air Academy
Now: W R Byron Airport (Private) (FAA Location identifier: 44CA)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Ripley Auxiliary Field#1
Ripley Auxiliary Field#2
  • Hancock Field, 1 mile (1.6 km) east-southeast of Santa Maria
Operated by: Allen Hancock College of Aeronautics
Now: Closed about 1959, now Allan Hancock College
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Santa Maria Auxiliary Field
La Brea Auxiliary Field
Mckinnon Auxiliary Field
Souza Auxiliary Field
Waller-Franklin Auxiliary Field
  • Lone Pine Airport, 1 mile (1.6 km) southeast of Lone Pine
(FAA Location identifier: 026)
Operated by: Undetermined
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Adamson Landing Field
Independence Auxiliary Field
Inyo County Auxiliary Field
  • King City Airport, 1 mile (1.6 km) southeast of King City
Operated by: Undetermined
Now: Mesa Del Rey Airport (IATA: KIC, ICAO: KKIC, FAA Location identifier: KIC)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Benard Auxiliary Field
Hanson Auxiliary Field
Sorenson Auxiliary Field
Trescony Auxiliary Field

  • McChesney Field, 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of San Luis Obispo
Operated by: Undetermined
Now: San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (IATA: SBP, ICAO: KSBP, FAA Location identifier: SBP)
Operated by: Rankin Aeronauticial Academy, Inc.
Now: Agricultural use
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Hunter Auxiliary Field
Tipton Auxiliary Field
Strathmore Auxiliary Field
Tulare Airport
Trauger Auxiliary Field
  • Ryan Field,3 miles (4.8 km) southest of Hemet
Operated by: Ryan School of Aeronautics
Now: Hemet-Ryan Airport (FAA Location identifier: HMT)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Banning Auxiliary Field
Highland Auxiliary Field
Ryan Auxiliary Field#1
Ryan Auxiliary Field#2
Ryan Auxiliary Field#3
Valle Vista Auxiliary Field
Gibbs Auxiliary Field
  • Sequoia Field, 8 miles (13 km) north of Visalia
(FAA Location identifier: D86)
Operated by: Visalia-Dinuba School of Aeronautics
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Three Rivers Auxiliary Field
  • Ventura County Army Airfield, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Oxnard
Operated by: Mira Loma Flight Academy
Also used by United States Navy as a NAAS to NAS San Diego
Now: Oxnard Airport,(IATA: OXR, ICAO: KOXR, FAA Location identifier: OXR)
Operated by: Polaris Flight Academy
Now: Detention Facility
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Liberty Auxiliary Field
Victory Field Auxiliary Field

Air Transport Command

Airfields were used for transport of personnel, supplies and equipment.Also for ferrying replacement aircraft to overseas units (Primarily Pacific Theater and Alaska).

Station #10, Air Transport Command, Pacific Wing
1504th Army Air Forces Base Unit
Now:Roundel of the USAF.svg Travis Air Force Base (IATA: SUU, ICAO: KSUU, FAA Location identifier: SUU)
  • Oakland Municipal Airport, 6 miles (9.7 km) northeast of Oakland
20th Ferrying Group
507th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK, ICAO: KOAK)
  • Reno Army Air Base Auxiliary Flight Strip, 64 miles (103 km) north of Truckee.
Emergency landing field for Reno Army Air Base, Nevada (ATC)
Later: Amedee Army Airfield (IATA: AHC, ICAO: KAHC, FAA Location identifier: AHC)

  • Palm Springs Army Airfield, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Palm Springs.
21st Ferrying Group
459th Army Air Force Base Unit
Also used by the United States Navy (Ferrying Service)
Now: Palm Springs International Airport (IATA: PSP, ICAO: KPSP, FAA Location identifier: PSP)
  • San Francisco Municipal Airport, 11 miles (18 km) southeast of San Francisco
Port of Embarkation
San Francisco Fighter Wing (4th Air Force)
Now:San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO, ICAO: KSFO)
Also: Roundel of the USAF.svg Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco

Technical Service Command

Provided aircraft modification prior to overseas deployment and also depot-level repair and maintenance services.Technical Service Command also operated acceptance centers for newly manufactured aircraft in Southern California, then ATC Ferrying Command transferred the new aircraft to various airfields or modification centers prior to deployment to operational units.

  • McClellan Army Airfield, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Sacramento
4895th Army Air Force Base Unit
Sacramento Air Depot
Was: McClellan Air Force Base (1947-2001)
Now: McClellan Airfield (IATA: MCC, ICAO: KMCC, FAA Location identifier: MCC)
Also: Roundel of the USAF.svg Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento
Winter-Davis Flight Strip
Redding Army Airfield
  • San Bernardino Army Airfield, 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of San Bernardino
499th Army Air Force Base Unit
San Bernardino Air Depot
Was: Norton Air Force Base (1947-1994)
Now: San Bernardino International Airport (IATA: SBD, ICAO: KSBD, FAA Location identifier: SBD)
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Desert Center Army Airfield
Rice Army Airfield
Gibbs Auxiliary Field
Peik Auxiliary Field
  • Clover Field (Santa Monica Municipal Airport), 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Santa Monica
Delivery airport for Douglas Aircraft (A-20, B-18, C-47)
Delivery airport for Vultee Aircraft (BT-13)
Now: Santa Monica Airport (IATA: SMO, ICAO: KSMO, FAA Location identifier: SMO)
  • Hawthorne Municipal Airport, 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Hawthorne
Joint Use: United States Navy
Delivery airport for Northrup Aircraft (P-61)
Also used by Technical Training Command
Now: Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (IATA: HHR, ICAO: KHHR)

  • Lindbergh Field (San Diego Municipal Airport), 3 miles (4.8 km) northof San Diego.
Delivery airport for Consolidated Aircraft (PBY, B-24)
Now: San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN, ICAO: KSAN, FAA Location identifier: SAN)
Also: Roundel of the USAF.svg Coast Guard Air Station San Diego
Known sub-bases and auxiliaries
Gibbs Auxiliary Field
Peik Auxiliary Field
  • Lockheed Air Terminal, 3 miles (4.8 km) west-northwest of Burbank.
Delivery airport for Lockheed Aircraft (P-38, B-17, PV-2, C-69)
Also used by Technical Training Command
Now: Bob Hope Airport (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR)
  • Long Beach Army Airfield, 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Long Beach
6th Ferrying Group (Air Transport Command)
Delivery airport for Douglas Aircraft(B-17, A-26, C-47)
348th Army Air Force Base Unit
Now: Long Beach Airport (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB, FAA Location identifier: LGB)
Lomita Landing Strip
  • Mines Field (Los Angeles Municipal Airport), 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Los Angeles.
Delivery airport for North American Aviation(AT-6, P-51, B-25)
Delivery airport for Douglas Aircraft (SBD Dauntless)
Aerial Port of Embarkation (Air Transport Command)
Los Angeles Fighter Wing (4th Air Force)
Also used by Technical Training Command
Now: Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX)
Also: Roundel of the USAF.svg Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles
  • Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, 2 miles (3.2 km) eastof Santa Monica.
Delivery airfield for Douglas Aircraft (C-54)
Now: Santa Monica Municipal Airport (IATA: SMO, ICAO: KSMO)

Known Secondary Facilities

  • Furnace Creek Emergency Landing Field, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Furnace Creek (Army and Navy use)
  • San Jose Municipal Airport, 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of San Jose (Civil Air Patrol)


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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