Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dale Mabry Airfield Project Paper #24

Dale Mabry airfield was needed during World War II to train pilots and this once before swampland became the head courters for training. Dale Mabry airfield was 3.4 miles west of Tallahassee and later on turned into Tallahassee Regional Airport. The landing is today Tallahassee Community College’s main campus. Dale Mabry was named after a famous World War I pilot who was a native of Tallahassee; once the city of Tallahassee bought this land they named it after him to honor his hard work and dedication to the Army. This was Tallahassee’s first airport, once before U.s Army Corps and then later on serving as a U.S Army flight training facility. 

This airfield became an extremely important factor in the history of World War II. There were two paved runways and one grass runway, there were airlines using this airfield but like others was closed for training and general aviation purposes during World War II. The need for a place to train incited the federal government to begin construction and five years later was deactivated. An interesting fact about this training camp was that not only did American soldiers train here but trainees were also sent here to complete training from different countries. 

When the War eventually ended civilians of Florida expected the veterans to return and want to be placed in higher education systems. There were too many veterans to distribute them all into schools therefore they compromised to attend Florida States School for woman. The result of all the veterans coming home and looking to gain more education the post war made the once before all women’s school into a coeducational institution. Dale Mabry field became inactive, so they began to sell parts of the field to institutions and other facilities that were in need of space.

The earliest portrayal using an aerial view was Dal Mabry having two unpaved runways, a single engine aircraft next to the field, and small hangers. However some history tells us that the army constructed three concrete runways to serve their needs. There are stories of people now who cannot believe there were actual landings on that little runway even back then some anticipated many deaths however they landed safely and the runways were not paved until the 70’s. The once used landing strip during World War II was revamped and is what people drive on everyday; the airport was what is now Appleyard and Pensacola St.