Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dale Mabry Airfield Project Paper #11

There are so many things that I actually learned by doing research on the Dale Mabry field topic. I'll eventually cover all the pretty cool facts that I discovered. You can't really research a field that was named after someone without kinda getting more in depth about the person it was named after, so here goes. Dale Mabry is the son of former Supreme Court Justice, Milton H. Mabry and his wife Ella Dale Bennett. Dale Mabry was a native of Tallahassee, but my research kind of got weird because I could not find any details about Dale Mabry's childhood or anything pertaining to his life before he went on to become an airship pilot.

According to many different articles Dale and his flying crew were doing two things. They were either testing out the airship called Roma or they were returning the airship back to the United States.Both can possibly be true. I'll explain later. No matter which scenario it was , both ended tragically. On February 21, 1922, while flying the Roma in Norfolk, Virginia, Captain Mabry and others in his flying crew crashed in the airship and died. According to many sources the initial test flight was a success , which was why I said earlier that they might really have been returning the Roma , because it was when they were returning to the base was when the accident took place. When Dale circled back to the base, the nose cone on the airship crumpled, which caused it to go down. Mabry's body was found badly burned. Even through all that when they discovered his body , his hands were still holding on to the control wheel.

The city of Tallahassee, Florida commemorated him and named their first municipal airport after him, Dale Mabry Field. This brings me to even more cool things that I came across. In 1940, the U.S Senator and Florida's Governor at the time, influenced the army to make Dale Mabry Field a United States Army Air Force training facility. By October of the same year , the government set a 90-day completion deadline and believe it or not, the airfield was completed in no time. Over 8000 pilots from different places around the world, like Europe and China, trained right here in Tallahassee. Sadly, over a dozen have lost their lives in accidents as well.

In 1946, the Dale Mabry Field was closed. Over the next few years, by 1961 it was replaced by Tallahassee Regional Airport! 

I could have ended the research right there but guess what? In 1966, Tallahassee Community College was founded, who cares right? You should! Why? Guess where TCC was built? Right where Dale Mabry Field was. This part was probably the most interesting thing that I found out. I actually go to school on the same land where pilots were trained for World War II , which was one of the biggest wars that the United States took part in!!!