Pendleton Army Airfield
Pendleton Army Airfield (1941-1945) - A World War II U.S. Army Airfield established in 1941 near Pendleton, Umatilla County, Oregon. First named Pendleton Army Airfield in July 1941 after Ohio Senator George Hunt Pendleton of Ohio. Closed after the end of WWII in 1945.
The War Department announced that Pendleton, Oregon, had been selected for an Army Air Corps Airfield for training combat crews on 29 Nov 1940. W.C. Smith & Company of Duluth, Minnesota, was awarded the contract for the construction of 122 structures, and E.C. Gerber of Oregon City contracted to expand and build the runways. Construction began soon after the groundbreaking ceremony on 16 Feb 1941. The new base commander, Colonel Frank Wright arrived in early March and in July 1941 the base reached its authorized strength of 303 officers and 2,218 enlisted men.
Most of the buildings on the base were finished by August 1941. The Pendleton community raised $100,000 to build a hundred houses for officers, and the federal government provided $400,000 to build eighty-five housing units for noncommissioned officers and civilian employees.
In November 1941, fourteen North American B-25 bombers arrived at Pendleton Field. In January 1942, Pendleton Field was assigned the task of providing heavy bombardment unit training because it had runways long enough to fulfill the training requirements. In February 1942, the B-25-equipped 17th Bombardment Group at Pendleton Field was reassigned to Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina, where Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle formed volunteer crews to train for the Doolittle Raid against Japan on April 18. Of the eighty Raiders, all but Doolittle had trained at Pendleton Field. Over a hundred planes that flew from Pendleton Field crashed during the war.
In January 1944, military airbases transition from training to maintenance operations with dramatic cutbacks and Pendleton Field was placed on standby status. In March 1944, Pendleton Field was reactivated as a sub-base of Walla Walla Field and provided final training for P-38 and Night Fighter Squadrons and B-24 heavy bomber units. By December 1944, the airfield was designated inactive and in November 1945 it was declared surplus. The base was transferred to the City of Pendleton on 13 Jul 1948, along with the buildings, hangars and runways.
Now part of Eastern Oregon Regional Airport.