Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Delano Army Air Field
(Delano-Kern Auxiliary Field)

Delano Airport opened in April 1940. It was built by the Federal Government with monies appropriated by Congress for Development of Landing Areas for National Defense (DLAND) after World War II broke out. It was built by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

In late 1943 the United States Army Air Forces acquired usage rights to the airport. It was placed under the jurisdiction of the IV Fighter Command. The 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group (NFOTG) used the facility, named Delano Army Airfield as part of the Army Air Forces Night Fighter School which had transferred from Florida to Hammer Field, California. Delano was used as an auxiliary training airfield and the school operated a combination of modified Douglas A-20 Havocs for night fighter operations, designated P-70, and new prototype YP-61 Black Widow purpose-built night fighters

Between 31 March and 15 June 1944 the 426th Night Fighter Squadron trained at Delano; the 548th Night Fighter Squadron between June and September 1944. In addition, flights of P-61s from the 427th, 547th, 549th and 550th Night Fighter Squadrons moved in and out of Delano AAF during 1944 as part of their training prior to being deployed to combat units, primarily in the Pacific and CBI theaters.

The base complement was assigned to the 4194th Army Air Force Base Unit (Air Base).

In December 1944 the 481st NFOTG was inactivated as part of an AAF reorganization. Delano AAF was transferred over to the jurisdiction of Air Technical Service Command on 10 December 1944. It was placed on standby status and the airport was only used for emergency, being under the control of Hammer Field as Delano-Kern Auxiliary Field No. 8. It also served as an Auxiliary field for Minter Field.

With the end of the war, the base was declared excess to requirements and returned to civil control.


Extract of January 1945 Airfield Directory

Extract, War Department Inventory of Owned, Sponsored and Leased Facilities, December 1945


Theater of Operations: 400
Total: 400
Officers: 65
Station Hospital: 10
Owned: 379
Leases: 177
Total: 556
Covered: 1,800 sq ft
Open: 125,664 sq ft
Cost to Government Since 1 July 1940:
Land: $28,588.00
Construction: $847,731.00
Total: $876,289.00
Remarks: Data from 30 September 1945 report.


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Updated 8 March 2016