The Beginning - World War II - This page tells the story of the beginning of Turner Field - and starts World War II history in Albany, Georgia. For more detailed information on stories mentioned here, please refer to British, French, Schilling, Dr. Lamb, and the U.S. Training sections.
THE BUILDING OF TURNER FIELD - A GIFT FROM ALBANY, GA TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
(Adapted from an article in The Albany Herald, Sunday, April 26, 1992 and written by Janet Bean, then curator of Thronateeska Heritage Foundation of Albany, Georgia Our thanks to The Albany Herald.)
In the summer of 1940, Major Peacock of the United States Army Air Corps approached the Albany Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of locating a new Army Air Corps training facility in Albany. Albany's terrain, sparseness of population and weather made it ideal for the training of pilots. The Chamber investigated several sites, looking for proximity to rivers, railroads and utilities.
(Adapted in part from the 31st Wing Air Force Year Book - Turner Air Base, Albany, GA 1957 and in part from The Albany Herald, April 26, 1992).
Air Corps Advanced Flying School
Turner Air Force Base was originally known as the Air Corps Advanced Flying School (Twin Engine), Albany, Georgia. Opened in June of 1941, the first class graduated in October. But on 21 July 1941, the name changed and the installation was officially designated as Turner Field in honor of 2nd Lt. Sullivan Preston Turner, a native of Georgia who was killed in an airplane accident at Langley Field, Virginia on 23 May 1 940. (In January 1948, this designation was changed to Turner Air Force Base)
Construction of the base, under the supervision of Army Engineers on land leased to the U.S. Government by the city of Albany, was begun on 25 March 1941. Within the next six weeks, the first contingent of military personnel was sent from Maxwell Field to assist in the work. By mid-May, the work was well underway and the installation was activated. Lt. Col. (later Colonel) John B. Patrick was in charge of the advanced Flying School and had arrived to assume command of the base. By way of furthering preparation for the functioning of the field, a part of the Southeast Training Center, the 8th Air Base Squadron, the 94th, 95th and 96th School Squadrons, and various supporting units took station at the base between June and October.
The Article Title Says it Best:
Who knew in 1940, at the beginning of World War II when the small Philip Morris advertising man dressed in his uniform and trademark cap roamed the downtown streets of Albany shouting "CALL FOR PHILIP MOR-RIIS" how much of an influence this company would have on Albany, Georgia and Turner Field. (Phillip Morris was Miller Brewing Company's parent company until 2001.)