Scott and Lambert Air Bases
Scott Air Force Base, Illinois (Nr St Louis Missouri) 1943
Scott Air Force Base is strategically located in the center of the nation. The base is 25 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, near Belleville, Illinois.
Scott Field was transformed into a lighter-than-air (LTA) station (Airships) in 1921. Lighter-than-air ships were used at Scott Field to research the capabilities of aerial photography, meteorology and conduct altitude experiments. In the late 1920s, emphasis shifted from airships to balloons. In 1929, the 12th Airship Company was deactivated and replaced the next day by the 1st Balloon Company. Airplanes began to dominate activities at Scott Field, and in 1937, the lighter-than-air activities officially came to an end. Scott Field’s central location was advantageous when it was considered for the relocation site of the General Headquarters Air Force, which managed the combat arm of the U.S. Army. Scott Field grew from 628 acres in 1938 to 1,882 acres in 1939. Most of the frame World War I and lighter-than-air Hanger constructions were torn down–only a few, such as the 9th Airstrip Squadron headquarters/barracks building, a brick theater and 9 sets of brick noncommissioned officers’ quarters at the south end of the field were saved.
New housing, industrial and administrative buildings were completed by May 1939. The expansion program continued into 1940 with the construction of 21 more buildings, including a 200-man barracks, a 300,000-gallon elevated water tank, a 43-bed hospital, Hangar No. 1 and a General Headquarters Air Force office. During World War II Scott Field’s main mission was to train radio operator-mechanics. By June 1945, Scott Field had trained 77,370 technicians who went on to be responsible for vital command and control communication throughout the Air Force. In January 1948, Scott Field was redesignated Scott Air Force Base. Scott AFB continued as a major training base for the Air Force until 1957. The 1405th Air Base Wing maintained the base properties and served as the base’s home unit, which as of 1990 housed the 375th Military Airlift Wing.
Lambert Field, Berkley, Missouri
Whilst there Craig made a visit as passenger in a C47 Dakota piloted by a Capt Jones on Tuesday 23rd July to Lambert Field, Nr St Louis where McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company were producing the Phantom jet fighter and Curtis Wright produced P40’s. McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was awarded the contract to design and produce the Phantom, the Navy’s first jet fighter, which in 1946 became the first American jet to operate from an aircraft carrier. When Curtiss-Wright ended aircraft production after WWII, McDonnell Aircraft took over its former plant at Lambert. It is named for Albert Bond Lambert (1875 –1946). He learned to fly with the Wright Brothers, received his pilot’s license in 1911, and served in the U.S. Army in World War I, reaching the rank of Major. Throughout his life he worked tirelessly to make St. Louis a leader in aviation. Major Lambert was responsible for bringing the 1923 International Air Races to St. Louis, and the airfield was christened “Lambert St. Louis Flying Field” in recognition of his achievements. 21 yr old pilot Charles Lindbergh flew to St. Louis to attend the Air Races, and decided to remain at Lambert as an instructor.
Other airplane builders also went into business: Donald Douglas, William Boeing, and Alan Loughead, who pronounced his name “Lockheed,” and took to spelling his company’s name that way. All 3 found good prospects. Donald Douglas got started by working with a wealthy enthusiast who wanted a airplane that could cross the country nonstop. By building it, Douglas gained experience that allowed him to develop a long-range Army plane, the World Cruiser. Two World Cruisers flew around the world in 1924 in a succession of short hops.