Introduction

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Mechanics at the Bainbridge Army Airfield in Bainbridge, Georgia, 1944. Courtesy of the Southwest Georgia Regional Library via Digital Library of Georgia.

Georgia’s Army Airfields

In 1939, 300 million dollars (the equivalent of four billion dollars today) was spent by the federal government to expand the Air Corps and improve airport infrastructure. With the required training of as many as 4,500 pilots per year, new training bases were sought in the Southeast. Georgia became a desired location thanks to its flat terrain in the eastern part of the state, and its mild winters. Twenty-two installations were ultimately established in Georgia, mostly at municipal airports with existing runways.

Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins employed more than 23,000 people in the Air Technical Service Command who repaired Army aircraft and trained nearly 60,000 repair mechanics. Atlanta Army Airfield was the busiest controlled airport in the United States in 1943. More major Army airfields were located in Savannah, Statesboro, Thomasville, and Waycross, while contract flying schools were established in Albany, Augusta, Americus, and Douglas.

In Bainbridge, municipal leaders from the city of Bainbridge and Decatur County purchased 2,070 acres of land which they leased to the Army for one dollar a year. On March 16, 1942, the Army authorized 9.9 million dollars to construct a basic flight training base on the property.