Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
(Visalia-Dinuba School of Aeronautics
Contract Flying School, Camp Sequoia)
Activated 4 October 1941. Original airfield
had 2,300' turf runway.
Visalia-Dinuba School of Aeronautics conducted
basic flying training for the United States Army Air Forces West
Coast Training Center (later Western Flying Training Command)
under contract until inactivated in October 1944.
Sequoia field had possibly had up to six
axillary airfields in local area. The only one located is Three
Rivers Auxiliary Field 36°27?30?N 118°54?00?W, which
was an all-way open field and no remains of it exist.
Primary use was basic flying training
of flight cadets. Fairchild PT-19s were the primary trainer used.
Also had several PT-17 Stearmans and a few P-40 Warhawks assigned.
Sequoia Field was transferred to Army
Corps of Engineers 5 May 1945 and placed on an inactive status.
On 23 July 1945, the post, now known as Camp Sequoia, was taken
over by the Western Signal Aviation Training Center at Camp Pinedale
as a sub-post. It was a replacement for nearby Camp Visalia.
The garrison, which moved from Camp Visalia, consisted of Squadron
F, 462nd Army Air Forces Base Unit (AAFBU) commanded by Maj.
Hugh J. Roberts.
The physical facilities of' Camp Sequoia included administrative
buildings and quarters for officers and enlisted men, encircling
a central location. A consolidated mess hall, which accommodated
1,000 enlisted men and a limited number of' officers, was located
nearby. Adjacent to the mess hall was a Post Exchange, a Service
Club and a dance floor. The former hangers were used to house
the supply section of Squadron F, the equipment of tactical units
assigned and the Information Center.
at Camp Sequoia
Recreational facilities at Camp Sequoia centered on the base
swimming pool. Nearby were tennis and handball courts, and a
softball diamond. Regular dances were conducted at the base Service
Club and in Visalia.
Tactical unit training at Camp Sequoia was designed to provide
a sufficient flow of individual replacements, cadres, and teams
as required by Camp Pinedale and higher headquarters. Much of
the equipment used by these groups was transferred from Camp
Visalia to Camp Sequoia. This did not include the SCR-615-B nor
the SCR-215, which were dismantled and shipped to Air Corps Supply
at Camp Pinedale. The operation required the expenditure of 1150
man-hours of labor.
In addition to its function of containing base administrative
personnel, Squadron F was charged with the responsibility of
cadre training for the AN/TPS-10, SCR-615-B, and SP-1-M radar
Squadron D, 462nd AAFBU, was transferred from Camp Pinedale to
Camp Sequoia on 29 July 1945, for the purpose of providing on-the-job
training for fighter control squadron personnel in the use of
the AN/CPS-1. The unit also provided training on the AN/CPS-1
for maintenance and operating crews, assigned to the controllers
at Hammer Field.
The Electronics School, situated at Camp
Wawona until 14 July 1945, was assigned to Camp Sequoia on that
date to provide a fundamental theoretical background for radar
erations. Personnel assigned to the school
designed and constructed laboratory equipment and prepared lesson
Camp Sequoia does not appear in any Station
Lists or Airfield Directories after 1 December 1945. Nor does
it appear in the 31 December 1945 War Department Inventory
of Owned, Sponsored or Leased Facilities. The airfield was
turned over to civil control in February 1947 through the War
Assets Administration (WAA). Several wartime buildings still
remain in use.
Training on the AN/CPS-5
Sequoia Field by Justin Ruhge
Sequoia Field was one of 9 of the private
contract fields in California used for primary pilot training
during World War II. It was located nine miles north of Visalia.
Its founders, Lloyd and Gladys O'Donnell, were one of the most
famous aviation couples of the 1920s and 1930s.
In mid-1941 the county of Tulare purchased
a 640-acre section of land for the cadet flight school. Sequoia
Field is located in the southwest corner of this section. Immediately
after this acquisition, 176 acres were leased to the Visalia-Dinuba
School of Aeronautics. The school had received a War Department
contract to train Army pilots in June 1941. Tulare County and
the cities of Visalia and Dinuba provided construction start-up
funding for Sequoia Field. On the Field's original 176-acre site,
two runways and an apron for parking 125 training aircraft were
built for flight training operations. The buildings constructed
on the airfield itself included two hangars, a control tower
and a flight line administration building. Grounds and buildings
for the school of aviation were constructed in the southwest
corner of the site. In these, aviation cadets were housed and
provided with military and physical training and courses in aviation.
Five auxiliary fields within a 15-mile radius supported the training
at Sequoia. The primary aircraft was the Ryan PT-22. Primary
training began October 4, 1941.
Sequoia Field was a temporary home to
125 civilian training instructors and provided the primary training
for over 8,000 cadets in less than four years.
The Army returned the field to the Tulare
County in 1949. From then on the facilities at the Field have
been used by the County for many of its social programs. In 2000
the National Park Services entered the Sequoia Field/Visalia-Dinuba
School of Aeronautics into the National Register of Historic
Places. The historic district encompasses 78 of the original
176 acres. Most of the original 20 buildings are still in use.
In September 2001, the 60th anniversary of the opening of Sequoia
Field was held at the field.
Both Rankin Field at Tulare and Sequoia
Field at Visalia produced Congressional Medal of Honor recipients,
a host of aces, pilots who fought in three wars, and many high-ranking
graduates, including one who reached four-star rank and headed
the Air Force Logistics Command.
References: Tulare County's
Civilian Flying Schools Trained World War II Army Pilots by Bruce
Baird, Los Tulare, Quarterly Bulletin of the Tulare County Historical
Society, Number 213, September 2001; The Wings of War, by Tiffany
A. Breen, Valley Voice, Volume XXI, No. 20, August 15, 2001 Section
Army Units Assigned to Sequoia
Field / Camp Sequoia
Corps Training Detachment
of the United States Station List
8th Army Air Forces Flying Detachment
Air Depot Detachment (Contract
Flying Activities, Primary)
Air Service Command Station
1 Dec 43
Air Depot Detachment (Contract
Flying Activities, Primary)
of Camp Pinedale
F, 462nd Army Air Forces Base Unit (Western Signal Aviation Unit
AAF = Army Air Forces
| AGF = Army Ground Forces | ASF = Army Service Forces Units
| WDC = Western Defense Command