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NAS Corpus Christi, Texas
NAAS Waldron Field
Ed smiles for photo taken at family's home in 1945. Three months after washout and discharge as an A-V(N) Naval Aviator and Ensign, he was drafted back by the Navy as an Apprentice Seaman. This was typical for all naval aviation cadets who didn't finish training, but Ed made it further than most washouts. He once quipped, "I wanted wings till I got them, then I didn't anymore." It didn't matter that he was drafted back. He was undoubtedly grateful having survived crashing his airplane. No shame in being relegated to the rank of Seaman.

From Ensign to Seaman

No longer a commissioned officer, Ed was initially relegated to the rank of Apprentice Seaman. This was the typical practice for naval cadets who "washed out" and did not complete all aviation training before combat assignment.

Ed Scharch reported Jul 26, 1945 to the U.S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois for boot camp and to undergo physical training for a second time.

Ironically, the surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close.

Two days later, Ed completed recruit training on Sep 04, 1945. He also received gas mask drill & chamber instruction, a course in fire fighting school, rifle range instruction and night lookout training. He was also qualified as a "third class" swimmer. He was advanced to S2c (Seaman 2nd Class) and granted 5 days recruit leave from Sep 04-09, 1945.  

Despite the war's end and re-enlistment of two more years, Ed remained in the service and spent the next seven months serving at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, where he was transferred to on Oct 02, 1945. Ed reported on Oct 08, 1945 to Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Waldron Field, Corpus Christi, TX, from USNTC Great Lakes, IL. NAAS Waldron Field was built as a satellite airfield in 1943 for nearby NAS Corpus Christi, and it is where he was stationed for a duration of 4 months and 20 days.

There are no military records mentioning the type of duty Ed performed at NAAS Waldron Field or NAS Corpus Christi, which was one of the Navy's other Intermediate flight training centers.

What were the duties of a NavCad Ensign washout-turned S2/c at naval aviation station after the war concluded?

Ed had a non-flying ground job at Waldron Field, and he probably performed a multitude of menial tasks in support of aviation training operations. He was probably assigned to a variety of duties where lower ranked Seaman were needed most.

After a few months Ed was transferred on Feb 28, 1946 to NAS Corpus Christi for "other duty." He reported on Mar 02, 1946 and was stationed there for 26 days. The military had already begun the great migration of discharging service personnel and returning them to civilian life and their families. Ed was sent there for that purpose and was offered an early discharge. The entry in his service record reads, "3-20-46  Has been interviewed and does not wish to reenlist in the U.S. Navy."

He was then transferred again on Mar 28, 1946 to the Naval Personnel Separation Center, USNPSC Great Lakes, IL, for discharge from the military. Two days later he reported to Great Lakes to begin long process of discharge from military. It took about two weeks to go through the pipeline back to civilian life.

The discharge process included some exit interview questions, including any preferences for type of job and training provided by the new G.I. Bill. The Notice of Separation From U.S. Naval Service form showed Ed's job preference as "Aeronautical Engineering, Middle West," with type of training as "College Training." WWII veterans became the first to be entitled to free college education along with other perks.

On April 13, 1946, having served a total of 3 years and 27 days, S2/c Edward L. Scharch was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve where he served for Uncle Sam during World War Two.

Edward shared one good yarn about the time he served as a Seaman at NAS Corpus Christi. Even though he was no longer an Ensign or navy pilot, Ed decided one early morning to take off in navy trainer on a mission for fellow ground crewman. He volunteered to go on a donut run with an airplane. Saying they had better donuts and one of Corpus Christi's other outlying airfields, Ed flew the Navy plane over to pick up a few dozen donuts at their mess hall. He safely returned from his mission with a booty of donuts for everyone!

NAS Corpus Christi, Texas

Naval air station patch 
NAS Corpus Christ, Texas. ca 1946-1947

Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, is a naval base located six miles southeast of the central business district of Corpus Christi, in Nueces County, Texas.

The official step leading to the construction of the Naval Air Station was initiated by the 75th Congress in 1938. A board found that a lack of training facilities capable of meeting an emergency demand for pilots constituted a grave situation. They recommended the establishment of a second air training station and that it be located on Corpus Christi Bay.

NAS Corpus Christi was commissioned by its first skipper, Captain Alva Berhard, on March 12, 1941. The first flight training started on May 5, 1941.

In 1941, 800 instructors provided training for more than 300 student pilots a month. The training rate nearly doubled after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By the end of World War II, more than 35,000 naval aviators had earned their wings there. Corpus Christi provided intermediate flight training in World War II, training naval pilots to fly SNJ, SNV, SNB, OS2U, PBY, and N3N type airplanes. Former President George H.W. Bush was the youngest pilot to receive his wings at NAS Corpus Christi in June 1943.

In 1944, Corpus Christi was the largest naval aviation training facility in the world. The facility covered 20,000 acres, and had 997 hangars, shops, barracks, warehouses and other buildings. The Corpus Christi training facility consisted of the main location and six naval auxiliary air stations (NAAS) including Rodd, Cabaniss, Cuddihy, Kingsville, Waldron, and Chase fields. Along with the six auxiliary stations, were 25 naval outlying landing fields (NOLF) dotting the countryside, These NOLFs were used by naval air cadets to practice their landings and takeoffs using Navy primary and intermediate training aircraft.  

NAS Corpus Christi also was home to the Blue Angels from 1951-1954. It also served as a Project Mercury Tracking station in the early 1960s.

Today, the training program is much longer, approximately 18 months, due to the increased complexity of today's aircraft. Currently, Training Air Wing FOUR produces approximately 600 newly qualified aviators each year.

Sectional Aeronautical Chart (Jan 1945), Corpus Christi, Texas

(Opens in separate tab)

MAP LEGEND - Naval auxiliary air stations (NAAS) are represented by yellow circles. Landing fields have "+" symbol and 5-digit number.

Ed was stationed at NAAS Waldron Field (orange highlight) from 8-Oct-1945 to 28-Feb-1946. This chart shows a major portion of NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.

U.S. Coast And Geodetic Survey, United States Federal Aviation Administration, and National Ocean Survey. Sectional aeronautical charts: United States.
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1927. Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/2009582532/.

NAAS Waldron Field (Corpus Christi, Texas)

Coordinates: 27.56 North / 97.34 West, (27.633638, -97.315392)

waldronOne of the largest naval air station projects of 1943 included expansion at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and two of its four existing auxiliary stations, and the establishment of two new auxiliary fields. One of the new auxiliary fields was NAAS Chase at Beeville, Texas, and the was Field 21305 (later named NAAS Waldron Field), located near the main station at Corpus Christi.

Waldron Field (21305), the smaller of the two new stations, was similar in size and function to the original three auxiliary fields adjacent to NAS Corpus Christi. Initial construction at Waldron consisted of quarters for 450 enlisted men and 260 cadets, and a hangar.

Naval Auxiliary Air Station Waldron Field was built in 1943 as part of the NAS Corpus Christi, Texas complex, and was one of six auxiliary air station satellites. Located 3.5 miles southwest of the main air station, Waldron provided training in torpedo bombers during WWII.

Waldron Field was named in honor of LCDR John Charles Waldron (August 24, 1900 – June 4, 1942), a United States Navy aviator who led a squadron of torpedo bombers in World War II. John Waldron and most of his squadron perished in the Battle of Midway.

A 1945 AAF Airfield Directory described Waldron Field as a 640 acre square-shaped field having four bituminous 5,000 foot long runways. The field was described as having two wooden hangars measuring 192 feet by 125 feet.

Waldron was listed as having a total of 4 outlying landing fields used for training aviation cadets.

21917 NOLF #12 (12 mi SW)   23425 NOLF #15 (20 mi SW)
23521 NOLF #13 (15 mi SW)   20410 NOLF #41 (5 mi SSW)
Sectional Charts, Maps, and Aerial Photos

The earliest depiction of NAAS Waldron Field was on the July 1943 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart.

A 1944 aerial view looking southeast at Waldron Field shows the airfield having four paved runways, large ramps, and two large hangars. It was still depicted as an active airfield on the 1949 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart and described as having a 5,000' hard-surface runway.

The 1951 USGS topo map depicted Waldron Field as having four paved runways, a control tower, and numerous buildings. Waldron was evidently closed at some point between 1951-64, as it was labeled "Aband airport" on the 1964 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart.

A 1967 aerial photo showed the southern hangar had been removed at some point between 1945-1967, along with most of the smaller buildings to the southeast. However, the field was brought back into limited use by the U.S. Navy between 1964-69 as an Outlying Field for NAS Corpus Christi, "OLF Waldron (Navy)," was once again depicted as an active airfield on the July 1969 Brownsville Sectional Chart.

Source: http://www.airfields-freeman.com/TX/Airfields_TX_CorpusW.htm#waldron

naas matches 1949 sec
NAAS Waldron Field
Elevated view looking SE in 1944
NAAS Waldron Field
Souvenir matches from 1940s
NAAS Waldron Field
Diagram from 1943 AAF Directory of Waldron
1943 sect 1949 sect 1951 topo
NAAS Waldron Field
Sectional Aeronautical Chart Jul-1943
NAAS Waldron Field
Sectional Aeronautical Chart 1949
NAAS Waldron Field
USGS Topographic Map 1951
56 aer wall bldgs 56 waldron 1961
NAAS Waldron Field
Aerial photo Dec-1956
NAAS Waldron Field
Buildings, hangars, and barracks, Dec-1956
NAAS Waldron Field
Aerial photo Dec-1961

The 1989 USGS topo map depicted Waldron Field as having 4 paved runways. The last hangar had been removed at some point between 1967-89. The 1995 USGS aerial photo showed that 2 of Waldron's runways were still maintained (with the primary runway being 5,000'), while 2 others had been abandoned but were still discernible. Both hangars were gone, the ramps being completely clear.

In 2001, USNR LtJg. R.E. Hight reported that Waldron was still used as a NOLF for NAS Corpus Christi. No squadrons were based there, but T-34 Turbo Mentors used the field to practice touch-and-go's.

1985 aer 89 topo wal 2017
NAAS Waldron Field
Aerial photo Dec-1985
NOLF 20410 (Field #41)
Topographical Map 1989
NAAS Waldron Field
Aerial photo Jan-2017

Naval Outlying Landing Fields (for NAAS Waldron Field)

What's a NOLF? 

A Navy Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) is a practice field for training aviation cadets. These are minimal facilities consisting of turf or paved landing pads and/or runways, and they have no based units or aircraft. They are located within isolated areas of naval air station complexes, where air traffic is lower and restricted by the military. The remote locations of the NOLF reduces the risks and distractions of other traffic at a naval air training station or other airport.

NOLF #41 (20410) and others
#12 (21917), #13 (23521), #15 (23425)
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NOLF #41 (20410) looking northwest, with three intermediate training planes on field. Dec-1942

NOLF #41 "20410", as depicted on the July 1943 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart. This field was one of a large number of satellite airfields built during WW2 to support Navy flight training in the Corpus Christi area. The date of construction is unknown. The earliest depiction of the field which has been located was on the July 1943 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart. Like many other WW2-era Corpus Christi area auxiliary airfields, NOLF 20410 consisted of a 1,200' diameter circular landing mat, from which extended a total of four 2,000' runways.

The field was apparently abandoned by the Navy at some point between 1943-49, as it was not depicted at all (even as an abandoned airfield) on the 1949 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart or the 1969 USGS topo map.

The outline of the circular mat & runways were still quite recognizable in the 1995 USGS photo. It is located in a very undeveloped area of the Texas coast, six miles south of Waldron NOLF.

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NOLF #41 (20410)
Elevated view looking east, Dec-1942
NOLF #41 (20410)
Sectional Aeronautical Chart 1943
NOLF #41 (20410)
Planes on field (North at 2:00), 10-Jan-1945
1951 topo 41 1956 41 2017
NOLF #41 (20410)
1951 Topographical Map
NOLF #41 (20410)
Aerial of field, 3-Mar-1956 (North is at 12:00)
NOLF #41 (20410)
Aerial of field, Aug-2017
12 2017 13 sect 13 1945
NOLF #12 (21917)
Former airfield and overgrowth, Aug-2017.
NOLF #13 (23521)
Sectional Aeronautical Chart 1943
NOLF #13 (23521)
Elevated photo 9-Jan-1945
13 1995 13 2017 15 2017
NOLF #13 (23521)
Aerial photo Jan-1995
NOLF #13 (23521)
Aerial Jan-2017 with star pattern slightly seen
NOLF #15 (23425)
Aerial photo Jan-2017


Corpus Christ's other Naval Auxiliary Air Stations

Cabaniss, Chase, Cuddihy, Kingsville, and Rodd
While stationed at NAAS Waldron Field, Dad said he took off in a trainer (without checking out), to get "better" donuts from another auxiliary station nearby. He did not mention the neighboring NAAS where he made pickup on his ultimate donut run. That said, below are the other five auxiliary air stations at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.
NAAS Cabaniss Field
27.7, -97.44 (Southwest of Corpus Christi)
Entrance sign to NAAS Cabaniss Field ca. 1949
1941 aer
A 1941 elevated view looking NE at Cabaniss Field while it was still under construction.
A 1943 elevated view looking east at Cabaniss Field (National Archives photo)

Cabaniss Field was built in 1941 as one of 3 satellite airfields for the nearby Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, which conducted primary & advanced flight training for American cadets & those of several foreign countries.

The earliest depiction which has been found of Cabaniss Field was a 1941 aerial view looking northeast, showing the field while it was still under construction. Four runways had been graded & partially paved, and 2 hangars were under construction.

The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Cabaniss Field as a 1,003 acre irregularly-shaped field having 4 asphalt 5,000' runways. The field was described as having 3 steel 100' x 28' hangars.

Cabaniss was listed as having a total of 10 Naval Outlying Landing Fields.

25117 NOLF #2A (8.2 SW)   26117 NOLF #21 (6.7 mi WSW)
25519 NOLF #2B (10 mi SW)   26122 NOLF #22 (11 mi WSW)
24823 NOLF #2C (14 mi SW)   24720 NOLF #23 (11 mi SW)
25824 NOLF #2D (14 mi WSW)   25326 NOLF #24 (16 mi WSW)
25413 NOLF #20 (4.7 mi SSW)   25930 NOLF #26 (20 mi WSW)

The 1951 USGS topo map depicted Cabaniss Field as having 4 paved runways, 3 hangars, a control tower, and numerous buildings. All of the airfield's buildings remained standing in 1958.

Cabaniss was evidently closed by the Navy at some point between 1960-64, as the 1964 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart described the field as "permanently closed". At some point after 1964, Cabaniss was reopened as a satellite airfield for Navy use.

“Cabaniss Field”, as depicted on the 1975 USGS topo map. A large number of the buildings to the northeast of the airfield had been removed at some point between 1951-75.

As of 2003, a total of 4 runways still remained at Cabaniss. Runways 13/31 & 17/35 were still operational (both 5,000'), and Runway 13/31 was lighted. Cabaniss had an active tower, and it was used primary for multi-engine day & night touch & go's.

aaf 51 topo 56
1945 AAF Airfield Directory USGS topographic map 1951 Aerial photograph Dec-1956
75 topo 95 2003
USGS topographic map 1975 Aerial photo of Cabaniss Field Jan-1995 Elevated view looking north 2003
05 17-1 07 hang 2
Looking south at 2 remaining hangars c. 2005 Interior of abandoned Cabaniss hangar 2007 Interior of abandoned Cabaniss hangar 2007
17-1 17-2 2017
Southeastern hangar view SE Apr 14, 2017 Northeastern hangar view west Apr 4, 2017 Aerial image Aug-2017
NAAS Chase Field, Beeville, Texas
28.37, -97.66 (North of Corpus Christi, TX)
Main gate into NAAS Chase Field, ca 1943
Administration building NAAS Chase, ca 1943
Swimming pool at NAAS Chase Field, ca 1944

Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Chase Field is a former naval air station located in Beeville, Texas. It was named for Lieutenant Commander Nathan Brown Chase, Naval Aviator #37, who died in 1925 while developing carrier landing techniques for the U.S. Navy.

Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Chase Field was formally commissioned in a ceremony on June 1, 1943, before many of its buildings were ready for occupancy. The first completed buildings at Chase Field included quarters for 600 cadets and 1,650 enlisted men, and a landplane hangar. Shortly afterward, construction crews finished the administration building and other features to support a self-sustaining station. NAAS Chase Field was the last and largest of auxiliary air stations built to serve NAS Corpus Christi.

A 1945 AAF Airfield Directory described Chase Field as a 1,064 acre irregularly-shaped property having 3 asphalt runways, the longest being the 4,558' north/south strip. The field was said to have a single 91' x 20' wooden hangar, to be owned by the City of Beeville, and operated by the Navy.

Originally under construction as Beeville Municipal Airport, it was leased in 1943 by the U.S. Navy to satisfy the increasing demand for trained pilots necessitated by World War II. Not initially intended to be a permanent base, it closed in July 1946.

In August 1952, it was then purchased by the Navy to again relieve congestion at NAS Corpus Christi in preparation for the Korean War. Jet training began there in 1954. It operated as NAAS Chase Field until 1968, when it was redesignated as a full Naval Air Station (NAS) to meet the demand for pilot training during the Vietnam War.

Seven buildings of the station are individually listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: NAS Chase Field-Building 1001, Field-Building 1009, Field-Building 1015, Field-Building 1040, Field-Building 1042, Field-Quarters R, and Field-Quarters S.

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Aerial view of NAAS Chase Field in 1944 Sectional Chart 1945 - Chase Field, Beeville, TX USGS topographic map NAAS Chase Field 1954
NAAS Cuddihy Field
27.72, -97.51 (South of Corpus Christi)
Sectional Chart Feb-1943 NAAS Cuddihy Field
Elevated view of NAAS Cuddihy Field 1944
NE view of hangars at Cuddihy Field, ca 1943
17 hang
NE view of hangars removed, ca 2017

This airfield was used during WW2 as one of 3 satellite fields for Corpus Christi NAS, which conducted primary & advanced flight training for American cadets & those of several foreign countries. The date of construction of Cuddihy Field has not been determined. It was not yet depicted on the June 1941 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart. The earliest depiction which has been located of Cuddihy Field was a 1941 aerial view looking northeast. It depicted Cuddihy as having 4 asphalt runways, a large paved ramp area on the north side with 3 large hangars, and a housing area with buildings north of the hangars.

The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Cuddihy Field which has been located was on the February 1943 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart.

The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory described Cuddihy Field as an 803 acre irregularly-shaped field having 4 asphalt 5,000' runways. The field was described as having 3 steel 96' x 28' hangars.

NAAS Cuddihy Field was listed as having a total of 7 outlying fields.

27221 NOLF #30 (6 mi W)   26426 NOLF #34 (12 mi WSW)
28523 NOLF #31 (7.9 mi NW)   28131 NOLF #35 (16 mi WNW)
27325 NOLF #32 (10 mi W)   26832 NOLF #36 (17 mi W)
28327 NOLF #33 (11 mi WNW)    

Cuddihy was closed at an unknown date after WW2. It was used for a few months in 1947 as the temporary campus of the Arts & Technological College (later to become Texas A & M University at Corpus Christi). In 1947, the city of Corpus Christi assumed operation of Cuddihy Field, and it began to be used as a civil airport. Most private aircraft were moved from Corpus Christi's Cliff Maus Airport to Cuddihy Field in 1947. The 1949 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) described Cuddihy Field as having a 5,000' hard-surface runway & a control tower.

The 1954 USGS topo map depicted Cuddihy Field as having 4 paved runways, 3 hangars, and a large number of buildings.

A March 4, 1956 aerial view depicted at least 4 aircraft on the ramp at Cuddihy Field. The runways appeared to be painted with markings subdividing them into aircraft carrier practice outlines.

Cuddihy had become a private airfield by 1963, as that is how it was listed in the 1963 TX Airport Directory. It depicted Cuddihy as having 2 of the 4 original runways still maintained. The operators were listed as Coastal States Aviation Inc. & Coastal States Aircraft Corp. The last photo which has been located showing aircraft at Cuddihy Field was a 1968 aerial view, which showed 5 light single-engine aircraft parked near the southwestern hangar, and all 4 runways remained intact, although deteriorated.

Below is a circa 2006 aerial view looking south at the northern-most of Cuddihy's three hangars, with majority of roof collapsed. As of 2008, Cuddihy Field Airport was still listed as an active private airfield, with a single 5,000 asphalt Runway 13/31.

History courtesy of website: Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields

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Diagram from 1945 AAF Airfield Directory 1954 USGS topographic map of Cuddihy Field Aerial photo of Cuddihy from Dec-1956
63 06 hang 2017
A private airfield in 1963 Texas Airport Directory  Looking south at Cuddihy's north hangar c 2006 Aerial image of Cuddihy from Aug-2017
NAAS Kingsville Field (North & South) 
27.48, -97.83 (Southwest of NAS Corpus Christi) 
Postcard of NAAS Kingsville administration building
Cadets in classroom at NAAS Kingsville ca. 1944
NAAS Kingsville, TX (South Field) in 1944
Cadets marching at NAAS Kingsville in 1945
Entrance gate to NAAS Kingsville in 1960

The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, prompted the Navy to purchase a 3000 acre tract of farmland for a new auxiliary air station, located some 3 miles east of Kingsville in Kleberg County, Texas.

On July 4, 1942, Naval Air Auxiliary Station (NAAS) Kingsville Field was commissioned, and CDR D. S. McMahon assumed command. It was one of seven auxiliary air stations for Naval Air Technical Training Command (NATTC) headquartered at NAS Corpus Christi.

NAAS Kingsville Field had a total of 7 naval outlying landing fields (NOLFs), some of which were shared with other auxiliary stations within NAS Corpus Christi.

23416 NOLF #11   24024 NOLF #25   20115 NOLF #42 
23521 NOLF #13    20410 NOLF #41   22441 NOLF #55
26117 NOLF #21        

A combination of two airfields with barracks and other station activities in a central location were built, thus saving on construction time. Many of the structures were designed as temporary buildings with no plans to operate the air facility once the war was over.

Over the next three years, NAAS Kingsville Field played an important role in training Navy and Marine Corps aviators and aerial gunners for the fleet during World War II. Pilots received training in carrier dive bombing tactics, anti-submarine warfare, and cockpit gunnery and artillery at both North and South Fields.

In 1968, the airfield was redesignated as Naval Air Station Kingsville, and has hosted flight training operations throughout its existence.

Kingsville Field 1940's Timeline during WWII
Jul 23, 1942   Recruit training added to command mission due to overcrowding at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, Ill.
Nov 1, 1942   First gunnery department crew reports aboard.
Nov 4, 1942   LCDR Troy Thweatt assumes command of NAAS Kingsville Field.
Dec 7, 1942   Enlisted aviation personnel become the first aerial-free gunners to enroll in classes at NAAS Kingsville. The two-week course included primary instruction in trap and skeet shooting, and machine gun stripping, firing, and sighting. A similar school was created for aviation cadets.
Jan 15, 1943   Seaman Guard organized to take care of all security guard duties on station.
Apr 1, 1943   The Bureau of Naval Personnel decides to move the Free Gunnery Training Unit from Corpus Christi to Kingsville.
Jun 30, 1943   Training Squadron 14C begins operations.
    Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox visits the air field.
Jul 7, 1943   President F.D. Roosevelt and Mexican President Manuel Ávila Camacho visit Kingsville Field.
Jan 5, 1944   Station Chapel is named in honor of NAAS Kingsville’s first command chaplain, LT J. William McFall, who served on board from Dec. 28, 1942 to May 17, 1943. He was killed in action on Dec. 12, 1943, while serving in the Pacific.
Feb 16, 1944   CDR H. C. Doan assumes acting command of the air field from LCDR Troy Thweatt.
Jun 4, 1944   CDR H. V. Morrison assumes command of the air field from CDR H. C. Doan.
Sep 15, 1946   Navy places NAAS Kingsville Field in caretaker status. Land is leased to the city of Kingsville and Texas A & I College.

From: Naval Air Station Kingsville History. Retrieved May 31, 2018, from

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1943 Chart of Kingsville's North & South fields 1954 USGS topographic map of South Field North & South Fields of NAAS Kingsville in 1960
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Aerial photo of North & South Fields Jan-1996  T-45C Goshawk navy trainer in pre-WWII colors flies over NAS Kingsville Oct-2010 Aerial photo of North & South Fields Aug-2017
NAAS Rodd Field
27.65, -97.38 (Southeast of Cabaniss)
NAAS Rodd Field aerial view 19-Aug-1941
Aerial view of hangars looking north in 1942
ramp 3
Stearman trainers on ramp and circle mat beyond
ramp 2
A very busy primary flight training field in 1942
Hangars and ramp looking southeast 1942
A 1944 view of Rodd Field looking northeast
02 h
A 2002 image of Rodd Field's last hangar
05 hang
A 2005 aerial view of hangar before its removal

The federal government acquired 861 acres on this site in 1940, and activated Rodd Field in 1941. Rodd Field was used for Naval Cadet flight training, and as an auxiliary landing field for the nearby Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

The earliest depiction of Rodd Field was a 8/19/1941 aerial view. The photo shows Rodd Field during its primary training days in original airfield configuration, with two large circular asphalt landing mats, and a ramp with two hangars on the east side. The photo shows several dozen Navy trainers on the ramp, and a stream of several heading out onto the landing mat. There were no runways at first, only the two landing mats. The airfield would later expand to include four paved runways, taxiways, ramp area, three hangars, and a street grid with a total of 75 buildings on site.

NAAS Rodd Field was listed as having a total of 9 naval outlying landing fields.

24311 NOLF #1A (3.1 mi SW)   23416 NOLF #11 (7.6 mi SW)
22514 NOLF #1B (6.5 mi WSW)   22521 NOLF #14 (14 mi SW)
21811 NOLF #1C (5 mi S)   24025 NOLF #25 (17 mi WSW)
22215 NOLF #1D (8.5 mi SSW)   03022 NOLF (4.5 mi N of Rockport, TX)
22912 NOLF #10 (5 mi SSW)    

A 1951 USGS topographic map indicates Rodd Field as having 4 paved runways, 3 hangars, a control tower, and numerous buildings. A 1/22/69 article from The Beehive (courtesy of Ford Lauer) said that 2 hangars were relocated from Rodd Field to Chase Field in 1954.

Rodd Field appeared to have been closed by the time of a 3/4/56 aerial view, as no aircraft were visible on the field, and 2 of the 3 hangars had been removed. The runways remained intact, consisting of 4 paved runways along with 2 giant circular landing pads.

The precise date of closure of Rodd Field has not been determined, but the property was declared excess in 1958. The General Services Administration sold portions of the Rodd Field property to several private parties in 1960. The March 1960 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart depicted Rodd as “Abandoned Airfield”.

A 1961 aerial view showed no significant change in the Rodd Field remains. GSA transferred 136 acres of the northern portion of the base to NASA in 1964, which established the Texas Manned Space Flight Network Tracking Station at the site. The Texas MSFN Tracking Station opened in 1967, and was operated by the Bendix Field Engineering Corporation. The station's administrative offices were located in the last former Navy hangar, referred to as the main operations building. In addition to the administration offices, the hangar housed telemetry systems, command system, computers, and other communications equipment. Located about one mile south of the hangar was the VHF Acquisition Aid equipment. The Unified S-Band system & power generating equipment were located a half mile north of the hangar. During the Apollo Program, this Texas station acted as a remote station, remoting telemetry data, tracking information, and voice communications to MCCH in Houston. The station also acted as an uplink facility between the lunar vehicles & the MCCH Control Center. By the time of the July 1969 Brownsville Sectional Chart, the airfield at Rodd was no longer depicted at all.

The NASA facility was closed by 1974, at which point their property was transferred back to GSA. The 1975 USGS topo map no longer depicted any runways on the property (just one remaining hangar), and labeled the property as “NASA tracking facility”. Tom Harper recalled, “I was assigned to the Corpus Christi Army Depot from 1975-78 and we were using the hangar on Rodd Field to store helicopter components awaiting repair & return to service. The hangar was in bad condition at the time. The NASA building was still there & should been saved as part of our space program history.”

The July 1979 Brownsville Sectional Chart no longer depicted Rodd Field, not even as an abandoned airfield. A 1979 aerial view showed most of Rodd's runway pavement had been removed, but the outlines of the runways were still plainly recognizable.

The Rodd Field property was conveyed in 1980 to the City of Corpus Christi, which built Bill Witt Park. The park still exists today on that part of the property. The 1984 USGS topo map labeled the property as “Radio facility”. A 1985 aerial view showed the outlines of the runways were still plainly familiar. The City of Corpus Christi acquired 175 acres along the southern periphery of the airfield 1987-1988, which became Oso Creek Park. A 1990 aerial view showed a housing development had been built over the northwest portion of the old runways.

A visit to the site in 2001 by Jeffery Sternberg provided an update of the status of Rodd Field. Most of the ramp area also still existed, as well as one of the three hangars (then in an advanced state of deterioration). The street grid and several small concrete buildings still existed. Most of the runways had been removed, with the exception of an 800 foot segment of the east/west runway (visible as a white line in the 1995 USGS aerial photo, north of the baseball diamonds), which was currently used as a parking lot for the recreational field. The control tower still existed, just south of the remaining runway segment.

A 2005 aerial photo shows the sole remaining hangar at Rodd. An aerial photo from 2006 showed the deteriorated hangar remained standing. Finally, a 2008 aerial view showed that Rodd's last hangar had been removed.

A 2017 Google satellite view shows Rodd Field's western half mostly overtaken by single-family housing. However, the auxiliary air station's old street grid and a few buildings are still noticeably visible, along with some of its original paved ramps on the eastern half of the site.

Rodd Field was once a very active naval auxiliary air station built just before the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. It, and many other WWII training airfields, represents how much of what the country was then capable of achieving in such little time.

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Diagram from 1945 AAF Airfield Directory 1951 USGS topographic map of NAAS Rodd Field Aerial photo of Rodd Field from Dec-1956
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Aerial photo of Rodd Field from Dec-1961 Aerial photo of Rodd Field from Dec-2002 Aerial photo of Rodd Field from Aug-2017

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (G.I. Bill)

Also known as the G.I. Bill, the law provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). It was designed by the American Legion, who helped push it through Congress by mobilizing its chapters (along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars); the goal was to provide immediate rewards for practically all World War II veterans.

Benefits included dedicated payments of tuition and living expenses to attend high school, college or vocational/technical school, low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It was available to all veterans who had been on active duty during the war years for at least 90 days and had not been dishonorably discharged—exposure to combat was not required. The recipients did not pay any income tax on the GI benefits, since they were not considered earned income.

By 1956, roughly 7.8 million veterans had used the G.I. Bill education benefits, some 2.2 million to attend colleges or universities and an additional 5.6 million for some kind of training program.

General Note
Majority of information is courtesy of historical aviation website Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields  (Please consider donating to ALKA)
Freeman, P. (2018, May 25). Texas: Western Corpus Christi area. Retrieved May 25, 2018, from http://www.airfields-freeman.com/
Moore, Myers, Goebel, and Nicklaus (March 30, 1994). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Properties Documentation: Historic and Architectural Resources of Naval Air Station Chase Field, Beeville Vicinity, Bee County, Texas". Retrieved June 1, 2018.
Naval Air Station Kingsville History. Retrieved May 31, 2018, from http://www.cnic.navy.mil