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Dunnellon Army Air Field

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Dunnellon Army Air Field

Dunnellon Army Airfield
 
Part of Army Air Forces Training Command
Third Air Force
Located near: Dunnellon, Florida


Dunnellon Army Airfield - 1949

Dunnellon Army Airfield is located in Florida
Dunnellon Army Airfield
Dunnellon Army Airfield
Coordinates
Site history
In use 1940-1945

Dunnellon Army Airfield, was a World War II United States Army Air Forces airfield, located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) east of Dunnellon, Florida.

History

Originally set on 500 acres (2 km²) that was purchased in 1942 by Marion County. It was opened in August 1942 as Dunnellon Army Airfield. The new base was designated as a sub-base to the Orlando Army Airbase, and assigned to the Air University Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT) tactical combat simulation school in Central and Northern Florida.

AAFSAT used the base as its Air Support School. Once sufficient construction was completed, the I Troop Carrier Command 10th Troop Carrier Group was moved from Pope Field, North Carolina, as a combat cargo training unit. Pilots and aircrew received training in advanced combat simulation based on what could be expected in the overseas combat theaters in short field landings, cargo drops and other tactics. In addition, personnel received training in towing British-designed Horsa glider and gilder pilots received training in advanced combat flying. Graduates saw duty in North Africa, Europe, and the China-Burma-India Theater in this capacity. As part of the training, Canal Air Force Auxiliary Field, () was used for rough short field dirt landings and takeoffs.

By the end of 1943, the Troop Carrier training was ended and the 10th TCG moved to Fort Benning.

In mid-1943, AAFSAT reassigned the 420th Night Fighter Squadron, a night fighter Operational Training Unit (OTU) to Dunnellon due to overcrowding at Kissimmee Army Airfield. Its mission to train pilots with night fighting skills for defensive missions against enemy night intruder aircraft. The squadron was equipped with modified Douglas A-20 Havocs for night fighter operations, designated P-70s.

Night fighter training was undertaken until January 1944, when the USAAF program was reassigned to IV Fighter Command, and the school was moved to Hammer Field, California.

Third Air Force

The Air University training mission ended in mid-1944, when Dunnellon was officially reassigned to III Fighter Command. Under Third Air Force, Dunnellon was assigned to the Commando Squadron Training School. Initially, the Liaison Squadrons of the 2d Air Commando Group were formed at the base in mid June. However, it was decided to consolidate the Liaison training at Cross City Army Airfield, where they were moved after being organized and equipped.

Instead, Dunnellon was returned to the Troop Carrier mission by forming and training Commando Troop Carrier squadrons. Two C-47 Skytrain squadrons, earmarked for Burma were trained in combat flying and techniques during the summer of 1944.

Closure

The Commando training was the last large-scale use of Dunnellon AAF. The 342d Airborne Squadron was assigned as a caretaker unit in September 1944 and the flying mission wound down. The number of personnel were reduced, being reassigned to other bases.

In January 1945, Third Air Force sent down orders to close the facility, and it was placed on inactive status on 1 February 1945. Jurisdiction of the airfield was transferred to Air Technical Service Command (ATSC), whose mission was the transfer of any useful military equipment to other bases around the country. Under ATSC, buildings and equipment were sold and any useful military equipment was transferred to other bases around the country. The base was declared as surplus in 1946 and was turned over to the War Assets Administration (WAA) for disposal and return to civil use.

Subsequently, the airfield was returned to civil control and the Dunnellon/Marion County Airport was re-established.

Major units assigned

Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics

Attached from I Troop Carrier Command
27th Troop Carrier Squadron, 14 February-13 December 1943

AAF Interceptor Command School

Third Air Force

  • 127th Liaison Squadron (Commando), 10–21 June 1944
  • 155th Liaison Squadron (Commando), 12–21 June 1944
  • 156th Liaison Squadron (Commando), 12–21 June 1944

Other units stationed at Dunnellon during the war included the 894th Airborne Engineers, 805th Medical Air Evacuation Unit, and the 898th Guard Squadron.[1][2][3][4][5]

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ USAFHRA Document 00073753
  2. ^ USAFHRA Document 00092233
  3. ^ USAFHRA Document 00077691
  4. ^ USAFHRA Document 00075841
  5. ^ USAFHRA Document 00075819

External links

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