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Participants Sought for Squadron One Flight to Halls Air Show

 

Members of Warbirds of America Squadron One are planning to support the Veterans Museum of Halls, Tennessee, in its fall air show. Halls was the site of World War II’s Dyersburg Army Air Base. Advanced B-17 training was provided here to aircrews prior to deployment overseas. If you would like to participate in either static display, or if you’re formation qualified, contact Harold Cannon, squadron commanding officer, via e-mail at l39driver@gmail.com. The following info about the base’s history is credited to Wikipedia.

History of the Dyersburg Army Air Base
Construction Begins 1942

Memphis Belle
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, serial 41-24485, the Memphis Belle

The Dyersburg Army Air Base (DAAB), promoted by Congressman Jere Cooper and solicited by local officials of Dyersburg in 1941, was actually located near the edge of Halls, Tennessee, since an Army study indicated that the Lauderdale County site was better suited for the base. Construction began in March 1942 on “what was to become one of the largest combat crew training schools built during the early war years,” according to The Aviation History of Tennessee by Jim Fulbright.

The base was the largest combat crew training school built during the early war years. It was the only inland B-17 training base east of the Mississippi River. The base was located on 2,541 acres (10.28 square kilometers), not including the practice range. Approximately 7,700 crewmen received their last phase training at DAAB. One hundred and fourteen crewmen lost their lives.

Crew of the Memphis Belle
Crew of the Memphis Belle

Life on the Base
Three concrete runways, a hospital, libraries, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a 600-seat movie theatre were hurriedly built on the former crop fields. Although barracks were moved from other sites and many built for the soldiers, very little housing was available for families. Citizens in Brownsville, Ripley, Halls, and Dyersburg made room for the influx of wives, mothers, and children who wanted to spend a short time with their soldiers before they went to combat. Attics, garages, and closets were transformed into sleeping areas. President Harry Truman visited the base during the war as did country musicianRoy Acuff and Governor Jim McCord.

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