Monday, January 16, 2017

Grand Opening of George Field Oct 16, 1942

Bridgeport Leader Thursday, October 15, 1942

Grand Opening George Field Friday, October 16, 1942

Six months after the first definite word of the establishment of an Army Air Force advanced flying school on the Allison Prairie lands in Lawrence County, official opening of the camp will be observed. The date set for the inspection by the public is Friday, October 16, 1942 from the hours of 2 to 6.

A simple ceremony has been planned to begin at 4 o’clock, Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce, Commanding General of the South East Army Air Forces Training Center, of Maxwell Field, Alabama will be the principal speaker of the ceremony.

Following is a tentative program:
2 o’clock:  Post open to the public. Inspection of grounds, planes and buildings.
4 o’clock:  dedicatory exercises.  Opening prayer. The National Anthem. Introduction of guests. Introduction of Col. Mundy. Words of Welcome by Col. Mundy. General Royce presented by Col. Mundy. General Royce’s address. Closing prayer. Aerial review.
5:30 o’clock: Retreat at Cadet Area.
6 o’clock: Clearing of post by civilians.

In another article the paper noted that Bridgeport Township High School would dismiss classes Friday at noon so that students and faculty could visit George Field at its public opening. Many Bridgeport stores would also cease their daily routine and visit the Lawrence County air school on October 16.

Next week the paper reported that thousands upon thousands of individuals ‘knocked- off- Friday afternoon from their tasks and journeyed  to George Field for the official dedication and tour. Many had received the coveted official invitations that granted them special concessions. Thousands of automobiles labored through the gates to the near 4000 acres of concrete, gravel and buildings. Dozens of planes were ready for inspection for those who stood in line waiting their turn.

Dust was not worrisome to the visitors. The streets were treated and easily traveled on foot or car inside the grounds. The Bridgeport Township High School Band under the direction of M T Johnson was on hand to offer many musical selections. The Vincennes and Lawrenceville High School Bands were also there and joined with the band of George Field  in following  one director to play the Star-Spangled Banner as 18 planes soared overhead in formation.