The pilot flight training was in four phases or stages.
Lasting 4 to 6 weeks, this phase consisted of explaining to the new young British cadets necessary knowledge for survival in this strange foreign country. Acclimatization included training in local customs (including the explanation of racial segregation which was the norm at that time), local foods, proper behavior for off post time, coping techniques for the summer heat, etc. As one of the acclimatization centers was at Turner Field, it was the first base to which many British cadets were assigned upon arrival in the United States. United States cadets received Pre Flight training at this stage in other locations as it was assumed they did not need acclimatization.
During the World War II era, Turner Field Air Base was a branch prisoner of war camp housing about 500 German POWs who worked on the field, in agriculture and in other non-war related business.
According to Lamar Clifton (see Sponsors page), one of the Committee Members of Albany area businessmen putting together the information for this Web Site, an occasional truck load of five or six of these prisoners came into Albany where they were assigned jobs in lumber yards, on the farm, or cleaning the community. At other jobs, at Turner Field and other places, they were probably fed the noon time meal via sack lunch. But some of those sent to work in town had their lunch time meal at the boarding house run by Lamar’s mother, Sallie Hopkins Clifton.
(Some excerpts from The Albany Herald, Sunday May 3, 1992, an article written by Janet Bean, then curator of Thronateeska Heritage Foundation.)
In 1940, following the fall of France, the U.K. found itself alone in the battle against the Axis powers. After the RAF victory in the Battle of Britain, there was a desperate shortage of pilots. Some U.S. government officials realized that America would likely face Hitler's hordes alone and woefully unprepared unless some way could be found to skirt this country's peacetime neutrality laws by furnishing the Allied cause with substantial help.
After finishing their basic training at Shaw Field in Sumter, South Carolina, the free French pilots of Class 44-J (9th Detachment) moved on to Turner-Field, Albany, Georgia for their advanced training before receiving their wings. They left Sumter on the 9th of September 1944 to travel through Savannah and Brunswick en route to Albany.
On June 26, 1952 the 31st Fighter Escort Wing stationed at Turner Air Force Base in Albany, Georgia was given orders to initiate Operation Fox Peter One. This operation called for the squadron to make a mass air relocation to Japan. With only eight days to prepare for the mission, Turner Air Force Base, under the leadership of Col. David C. Schilling, launched Operation Fox Peter One on July 4, 1952, which included movement of fifty-seven F-84G Thunderjets and four transport planes of key administrative and maintenance personnel.
Naval Air Station:
Turner Field Air Force Base 1958-1966
Most recently, Turner Field has been known in Albany, Georgia as the Naval Air Station. Until July 1, 1967, the base was first an Army Air Corps base and then an Air Force base. This period encompasses both World War II and the Korean War era. In addition, it covers the peace years until Vietnam. The base changed hands in the middle of the Vietnam War Era. For this reason, this section covers this time segment and does so under the name most recently and best known by the young people of Albany.