General George S. Patton AirBase
Here is some history about the base..
Also known as Blythe Army Air Base, this field was located 7 miles west of the town of Blythe on what is now Interstate Highway 10. The field was built for the I Troop Carrier Command but was given up by that command, without ever occupying it, to the 4th Air Force as a California-Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA) training field. The 46th Bomb Group and later the 34th Bomb Group occupied the field during the CAMA days and flew a variety of planes including B-17s, B-24s, A-31s and A-36s. Blythe Army Air Field later became a sub-base of Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base) and after the war it became Blythe's local airport.
There was another airfield in Blythe, Gary Field, near the present-day golf course, which had a private pilot training school known as the Morton Air Academy. The school was contracted by the Army Air Corps early in the war to give primary training to Air Corps cadets. Gary Field had a total of three auxiliary airfields during World War II:
A-1 Ripley #1 (10 miles south)
A-2 Ripley #2 (8 miles south)
A-4 (which was located a mere half mile to the west).
The Primary Flying School at Gary used the Stearman PT-17. The contract flying schools were mostly staffed by civilian instructors. The Commanding Officer was an Army Air Forces officer, and usually there were Army Air Forces check pilots who made sure the students were qualified. The Commander at Gary was Major Frank Fuller of the Fuller Paint Company fame. The civilian head was Roger Pryor, who was a musical director for one of the Hollywood film studios
Source: World War II Sites in the United States: A Tour Guide and Directory by Richard E. Osbourne
US Army Corps of Engineers History (24 May 1989)
Located in Riverside County, California. This site is approximately 6 miles due west of the City of Blythe on West Hobson Way, adjacent to Interstate Highway 10.
The Army established Blythe Army Airfield (BAAF) which was a second Army Air Forces heavy bombardment crew training base during World War II. The 85th Bombardment Group and the 390th Bombardment Group were active at BAAFin 1942 and 1943. Up to 75 B-17 bombers were flown and maintained at this site. During this period the military constructed over 650 buildings and other types of improvements including hangars, office buildings, barracks, warehouses, runways and taxiways, water and sewer systems, hospital, fuel and ordnance storage.
Historical records and drawings indicate that bombs and explosive materials, and possibly incendiary and pyrotechnic materials, were stored on-site in up to five magazines or bunkers. A poorman gunnery range, skeet range, and jeep type target range, all with ammunition storage, were constructed and used by Army personnel.
This site is currently owned by Riverside County and leased to the City of Blythe. The main runways and a few remaining buildings constructed by the Army are beneficially used by the city as an airport. All other improvements constructed by the Army have been demolished.
US Army Corps of Engineers History (30 September 1999)
Between 1942 and 1944, the Army acquired 4,248.12 acres in fee from various private parties, 6.54 acres of public domain land via transfer, a 282.61 acre leasehold from the County of
Riverside, a 1.98 acre easement and 0.63 acre permit. Additionally, the Army encroached on another 20.18 acres for which a real estate agreement was never signed. Total acquisition, including the encroachment, was 4,560.06 acres.
The Army Air Forces established the Blythe Army Air Field which was used for heavy bomber pilot and crew training during 1943 and 1944. Numerous military improvements were constructed at
this airfield including hangars, office buildings, barracks, warehouses, runways and taxiways, water and sewer systems, hospital, and fuel and ordnance storage. A poorman gunnery range, skeet range, and jeep type target range, all with ammunition storage, were constructed and used by Army personnel. Bombs, pyrotechnics and incendiary devices may have also been stored in magazines at the airfield.
During World War II the airfield was known as Blythe Army Air Field and was used by the United States Army Air Forces. The use of the site began on May 14, 1942. Blythe AAB was built for the I Troop Carrier Command but was given up by that command, without ever occupying it, to the Fourth Air Force as part of the United States Army Desert Training Center (DTC) was established by General George S. Patton shortly after the outbreak of the war, Blythe was the only airfield with construction already under way. For six months, the air field served as the sole air support base for the Army maneuvers under way at the DTC.
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