Kingman Army Air Field Museum
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Army Air Field

The “Cactus” was the base newspaper. After KAAF was established, the Publications Department was formed to published training material for school and was given the assignment of publishing a base newspaper. The first issue of the “Cactus” was printed on 2 March 1943.

War was raging world wide.

The United States felt it was safe from fighting for couple of years. As the 1940’s started, U. S. military was starting a gradual build up of men and equipment. By the time the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army Air Corp had close to 150 airfields. By the peak of the war in late 1943, there were 345 main bases, 116 sub-bases and 322 auxiliary fields. Kingman Army Air Field was one of the main bases including Yucca Army Air Field as it’s sub base and had 5 auxiliary fields at Red Lake, Hackberry (Antares), Topock, Havasu (site 6), and Signal.

The Army Air Corps was looking for new airfields for training airmen in all aspects of aerial combat. Arizona was primed with low population and wide open spaces. Many locations were bought to established airfields for training. Training covered pilot to gunnery. Flexible Gunnery Training School at Kingman, Arizona was established in 1942. Since there were no buildings at the school, the first personnel worked out the Harvey House in downtown Kingman. Towards the end of year, school personnel start taking up residence at the 6th largest airfield in the Army Air Force system.

Kingman Army Air Field Landscape

'Bugs Bunny' became the base's official mascot, because of so many 'rabbits' in the area. Lieutenant William L. McCurdy got permission to use 'Bugs' from his producer Leon Schlesinger. 'Bugs' held the rank of technical sergeant. This happens by 14 January, 1943.

Flexible Gunnery Training School at Kingman open for the first classes in January 1943. The classes were small at first, 20 to 30 students. At the height of training, classes were pushing through 200 to 300 students every six weeks.

Gunnery Classroom

Flying Classroom Prep

The Army Air Force Flexible Gunnery School, Kingman, Az. was renamed Kingman Army Air Field on 7th of May, 1943. The school did not change from its primary mission, training gunners for the B-17. KAAF was a 100% B-17 training school. In January, 1944, KAAF added Four Engine Transition Group (Co-Pilot) program. The program used the TB-26 and lasted about 18 months. KAAF had trained two classes of WASP during the year of 1944. As the war ended, on 2nd of September, 1945, so did the KAAF mission. KAAF was order to close down. Kingman Army Air Field’s last day was 25th of February, 1946. On 26th of February was changed to Storage Depot 41.

The Kingman Graveyard

After the war in late 1945, preparations were being made to change KAAF assignment from Army Air Force Base to Storage Depot 41. On 1st of October, 1945, Western Flying Training Command turned over KAAF to Air Technical Service Command. KAAF would become an aircraft storage facility. The first aircraft to be received by KAAF happen on 10th of October, 1945. On 23rd of November, 1945, ATSC at San Bernardino AAF, CA. signs an agreement with Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The RFC assigned KAAF as Storage Depot 41. Julian Myers is the contractor and is in charge for RFC Sales and Storage Depot 41. By the first of May, 1946, Depot 41 had sold 1 BT-13 and 6 AT-6s by the War Asset Administration. On 9th of August, 1946, WAA awards Martin Wunderlich Company of Jefferson City, Mo. the bid of $2,780,000 to destroy 5540 aircraft being stored at KAAF. On 10th of July, 1947, Mohave County was granted access to KAAF, this is the first step in gaining control of the airfield. On 1st of July, 1948, WAA turns over KAAF to Mohave County’s control. By early December, WAA had ended their stay. They turned of 9 buildings to county. Julian Myers, who is in charge of Storage Depot 41 tells that they sold some 400 buildings, 5634 aircraft were processed and approximately $850,000 personnel properly disposed of. The Kingman Army Air Field Museum is working to preserve this history for every American to understand the mission of Kingman Army Air Field.

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