Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dale Mabry Airfield Project Paper #22 (Report*)

Life:A true native of Tallahassee, Florida. He was the son of Milton H. Mabry and Ella D.Bramlett. Dale fought for the United States Army during World War I as an aviator, a member of the Army Air Corps. While overseas was known to experiment with the use of balloons. Once the war was over he was then commanded to take his crew and return the Italian semi-rigid airship Roma back to the United States.

Airship:Designed by Celestino Usuelli. Airship was a project of the Stabilimento Construzioni Aeronautiche (Aircraft Construction Plant). Design of airship intended for transport across the Atlantic. At appointed time was the largest semi-rigid airship in the world. Engine capable of 400 hp, build from Ansaldos. Location of the engines mounted outside of the airship. At such an angel to insure slipstreams would not interfere with each other.

Aircraft Specifications:

Crash: Failure in box rudder system upon Army Airship. Crashed took place in Norfolk, Virginia on February 21, 1922. Roma burned five hours after the crash. The flight was intended for testing, only lasted 45 minutes. Fell 1,000 feet to the earth. Thirty-four crew members on board killed on impact. Right before the crash the crew desperately through sand bags from the ship, with the intent to slow down the decent of aircraft. On decent the aircraft hit 2,300- volt power line. Impact upon power line caused the 1.1-million-cubic-foot gas bag to catch fire. The only survivors were those that jumped 30 feet to the ground.Mabry’s body was found still inside holding the wheel of the ship.

Memorial: Dale Mabry Highway and Dale Mabry Elementary school, located in Tampa, Florida. Dale Mabry Field, located in Tallahassee, Florida.
Dale Mabry Field: Grand opening was November 1929. It was Tallahassee’s first municipal airport. January 24, 1941, Dale Mabry field became an Army base. This base housed both officer and enlisted men. These men trained, lived, and socialized in barracks and buildings located near the airfield. Originally 530 acres, later grew to 1,720 acres.During the course of World War II, many more soldiers traveled to this airfield to be trained. There were approximately 133 buildings, 1,300 officers, 3,000 enlisted men & women, and 800 civilian employees. At least 8,000 Chinese and French soldiers also travelled to Mabry Field for training. This Army base consisted of several runways, barracks, officers’ quarters, mess hall, hangers, a hospital, a church, and a bowling alley. The 79th Fighter Group was the first to train at Dale Mabry Field. The 58th Fighter Group arrived in March 1942. They were the first Operational Training Unit. Later that year the 99th Fighter Squadron received advanced training at Mabry Field. Also the 447th Signal Battalion Lineage activated 29 August of that year. The 476th Engineer Detachment Lineage was activated on 20 January 1944. In 1944 and 1945 served as a detention center for at most 150 German POWs. On the year of 1946 the Army based closed and was mainly used for civilian use only.

Report Author_____________________________