Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Famoso Auxiliary Field
(Minter Auxiliary 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.
Additional History
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 1945.
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
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Updated 8 February 2016