Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Field No. 3)
The only photo which has
been located showing Famoso Field in operational was a 1944 aerial
view (Paul Freeman), showing 4 single-engine aircraft operating
along a strip which had been marked along the center of the landing
mat. (Paul Freeman)
LOCATION: Approximately 24 miles north-northwest
of Bakersfield, 2 miles north of Famoso; east of Highway 99 and
south of Whistler Road, Kern County, California.
SITE HISTORY: Approximately 500 acres were acquired by the War
Department from Kern County Land Company via lease W1105-ENG-3215
dated 1 July 1941 and recorded 19 May 1943 in Book 1137, Page
176, Kern County records. That lease was renewed 1 July 1942
and 1 July 1943. No information concerning lease cancellation
or termination could be found.
The Army Air Corps (used the site as an auxiliary air field for
the basic flying school at Minter Field, approximately 9 miles
to the south.
Improvements included a paved 3,000 foot x 3,000 foot landing
area, 3 wooden buildings (Stage House, 324 square-feet; Crash
Truck Shelter, 1,024 square-feet and Latrine, 36 square-feet)
and fencing around the site.
The site is now divided into two parcels by the Kern-Friant Canal,
part of the state water distribution system. The property southeast
of the canal is owned by Colly Houchin Trading Co. and Volkart
Houchin, Inc. The Calico Warehouse and Compress Company, a cotton
processing facility, occupies this parcel. The property north
and west of the canal is owned by Bisceglia Brothers Wine Company.
This parcel contains the California Fruit Products Company winery,
and spreading grounds for winery waste. Remnants of the paved
landing area, on the western side of the Bisceglia property,
are the only evidence of former military use. The only residence
nearby is north of Whistler road, approximately 100 yards from
the northern boundary of the site.
by Paul Freeman
Minter Auxiliary Army Airfield A-3 / Famoso
Field was one of 8 satellite airfields which supported WW2 military
flight training at Lerdo Field / Minter AAF, which was located
a mere 3 NM to the south. The date of construction of Famoso
Field has not been determined, but its parent Lerdo Field was
opened in June 1941.
Throughout World War II, the primary aircraft
flown at Minter Field was the Vultee BT-13 Valiant, which was
used for basic flight training. Other training aircraft included
the Cessna UC-78 Bobcat, as well as the AT-6 Texan advanced trainer,
North American B-25 Mitchell twin-engine medium bomber, and Lockheed
P-38 Lightning fighter.
A BT-13 trainer had an accident at Famoso
Field on 4/22/42, serial # 41-10699, piloted by Leroy McDonald.
The earliest depiction which has been
located of Famoso Field was a 22 July 1943 aerial view looking
north from the 1945 Army Air Forces Airfield Directory (see below).
It depicted Minter Field Auxiliary #3 (Famoso Field)
as having a square paved landing mat.
The 1945 Airfield Directory described
Minter Field Auxiliary #3 (Famoso Field) as having
a 3,000' square road-mix landing mat with a 1,570' extension
on the southeast end. It was described as being owned by private
interests but operated by the Army Air Forces, but to be inactive.
An AT-6C trainer (serial # 42-44187, piloted
by Vincent Cunniff) had an accident at Famoso Field on 16 July
The date of closure of Famoso Field has
not been determined, but operations at its parent field (Minter
AAF) ceased with the end of World War II in 1945.
Famoso Field was no longer depicted at
all on the 1953 US Geoglogical Survey (USGS) topographic map.
The site of Famoso Field is located southeast
of the intersection of Route 99 & Whisler Road.
Extract, US Army Air Forces
Airfield Directory, January 1945
Questions and comments concerning
this site should be directed to the Webmaster