Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dale Mabry Airfield Project Paper #13

Dale Mabry Airfield Dale Mabry was a World War I army pilot and a native to Tallahassee. Unfortunately, he died at the ripe age of thirty one and seven years later, in November 1929, the city of Tallahassee opened an air field called the Dale Mabry field, after him. He was apparently so well known for experimentation with balloons, although I could not figure out exactly what he did in his experiments. This field turned into Tallahassee’s first airport, and became an Army base for the officers and the enlisted men. 

Surprisingly, not only did American soldiers train here, but the Chinese and French cadets also travelled to the base to complete their training.There they all learned how to train, live, and socialize in the buildings and barracks that were located on the sight. Unfortunately though, over a dozen pilots died in accidents while learning how to fire at the targets that they set up for shooting. Commonly, they shot at a large wood “bull’s eye,” which could’ve been the cause for these casualties.

 The field had three runways; one runway ran northwest to southeast, the second runway ran from North to South, and the last runway was made with sand and sod that ran from the East to the West. The field was at the time considered self-sufficient because it contained all of these runways, barracks, officers’ quarters, a mess hall, a hospital, a church and even a bowling alley. 

The Mabry field was created right before World War II, and it proved to be a vital part in preparing for the war. Once World War II ended in 1945, the veterans returned to Tallahassee to get an education. This caused a record amount of enrollments into Florida State University. As a result of this, a proposal was made for the veterans to go to an alternative school. Ironically, it was the Florida State College for Women. Over five hundred veterans were asked to go to this alternative school, and agreed to this compromise on September 2nd, 1946. They stayed at what is now the West Campus of Florida State University.

 Not only male veterans, but also married couples and female FSCW students lived and socialized together in the converted barracks on the West Campus. Even today, some of the sections still left of the base’s asphalt runways can still be seen, along with several of the concrete tie-down pads that they often used to fly their planes from.

Work Cited “Dale Mabry" Wikipedia. Wikimedia. Foundation, 02 Nov. 2014. Web. 06 Mar.2014.