Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Lemoore Army Air Field
(Lemoore Gap Filler Annex)
Lemoore AAF circa 1943
Lemoore Army Air Field, located nine miles southwest of town, was a dirt air field usable only in dry weather. It nevertheless was used by the 4th Air Force as a processing and training field. Lemoore had a sub-base, Porterville Army Air Field near Porterville, California.
This base was built during World War 2 as an Army Air Forces training field. According to a World War II-era diagram, the field consisted of a roughly triangular shaped landing mat, which measured 3,470' along its longest side. A 3,700' long north/south apron sat to the southwest of the landing mat, and west of the apron was the building area.
Lemoore AAF was described by the 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields as having a 6,500' hard-surface runway, although the remarks included, "Entire field available only when dry."
Lemoore AAF had a total of seven satellite airfields for the use of its cadets:
The satellite fields each consisted of a 3,000' square landing mat, with either a "road mix" or oiled surface. Additionally, the "Coalinga Emergency Landing Field" (22 miles west-southwest) was also designated for use by Lemoore AAF.
The airfield was apparently reused for some unknown time period as a civil airfield, as that is how it was depicted on the 1953 San Diego - San Francisco Flight Chart. Apparently the airfield had also been significant expanded at some time after World War II as the 1953 chart depicted the field as having a 6,100' runway.
According to the 1 February 1957 issue of the Fresno Bee, the 1,460 acre site of the former Army Airfield was sold by the City of Lemoore in 1957 to the Navy, to be used as part of the site for the new Lemoore Naval Air Station. The present-day Lemoore Naval Air Station is just a few miles to the north of the former Lemoore AAF. Ironically, the northern end of the runways of the huge Lemoore NAS sit on the same ground previously occupied by Lemoore AAF's satellite field A-6 Summit Lake.
In the 1950's the Air Force considered placing an unmanned radar gap filler annex on the site of Lemoore AAF. Although planned to operate under the Air Defense Command. this site, known a P-74A, was never built. The proposed installation to be known as Lemoore Gap Filler Annex would have been a subinstallation of Madera Air Force Station.
The site of Lemoore AAF is located south of the intersection of Route 198 & 27th Avenue, two miles west of the main gate of Lemoore NAS.
Lemoore AAF
by Justin Ruhge
In December 1940 the Army Selected 960 acres of farm land near Lemoore on which to build the Lemoore Army Air Field. On the first day of October 1941, Project Officer, Colonel Arthur J. Lehman and thirteen enlisted "pioneers" established temporary headquarters at the American Legion building in Lemoore. On December 16, 1941, the barracks at the field were ready and the first class of cadets arrived. Basic training began December 20,1941.
Although the initial class of cadets graduated in February 1942, official dedication ceremonies were held over to April 26, 1942. The BT-13s were used for the training aircraft. In the fall of
1942, new enlistees were given their primary military training at Lemoore. Colonel Donald B. Phillips was the Commanding Officer from June 1942. From December 1941 to May 1944, some 8,714 cadets entered training. Of these 7,793 graduated.
In early 1944, Lemoore Field was transferred to the Fourth Air Force, and was to end its function as a basic flying school. On May 31, 1944, the advance guard of the 461st Base Unit from Hammer Field set up its headquarters at Lemoore Field and on June 1, 1944, Colonel Louis L. Roberts officially assumed command of Lemoore Field. The new mission of Lemoore Army Air Field was the administrative, medical and training processing of personnel destined for bases in the Fourth Air Force. In the ensuing year to August 31, 1945, some 43,072 personnel were processed through Lemoore.
Project 24 was another secondary effort at Lemoore. The Field was assigned the task of reconditioning P-38 fighters so they could be used for pilot training at Lemoore. The project was discontinued in May 1945, after modifying 92 P-38s.
It was reported in the Field newspaper, The Casual Observer that the Lemoore Army Air Field would be closed on September 30, 1945.
In 1954, the Navy searched the northern California-Nevada area for land on which to build a master jet air station. Lemoore was chosen because of its central location, good weather for flying, relatively inexpensive land and nearby accommodations. Construction started in 1958.
The people of Kings County welcomed the Navy, for they had fond memories of the days when the Army Air Corps came to town and built Lemoore Army Air Field during World War II, about a mile west of NAS Lemoore's front gate.
With base housing, administrative facilities and the flight training areas in operations, the Air Station was commissioned in July 8, 1961. Captain Howard M. Avery was the newly appointed commanding officer and presided over the opening ceremonies.
More than $100 million was invested to bring the Station to operational status.
Officially named Reeves Field for Rear Admiral Joseph M. Reeves, whose foresight laid the foundation for modern aircraft carrier striking forces, the airfield has two 13,500 foot offset runways with aircraft support facilities located in between.
Approximately 5,000 military and 1,000 civilian employees worked on board, with an average payroll of $120 million in 1996.
NAS Lemoore's primary mission is to support fleet carrier squadrons. The heart of this mission is the operations area. Designed to support more than twenty fleet squadrons, it serves as a master training center for carrier-based strike fighter squadrons of the United States Pacific Fleet.
Located aboard NAS Lemoore is the Headquarters of Commander, Strike Fighter Wing,
U. S. Pacific Fleet. As the title implies, the entire F/A-18 strike fighter community exercises functional command of all Navy squadrons based on the West Coast.

References: Casual Observer, September 29, 1945; Summarization History of L.A.A.F. World War II, 3 Feb. 1941-2 Sept., 1945, by George E. Kapella, 2nd Lt, Air Corps Acting Base Historical Officer, 1946; Your Future Begins at Lemoore, 1995, Marcoa Publishing, Inc.; Hanford Carnegie Museum, Inc., 1996.
Extract, January 1945 US Army Air Forces Directory of Airfields
Corps of Engineers Real Estate Map
Click for a larger image.
Links to Other Sites
Abandonded and Little-Known Airfields
Class 43B Class Book
Known Units at Lemoore AAF

 7 December 1941

 1 June 1943 (Army Station List)

 7 April 1945 (Army Station List)
Headquarters, Air Corps Basic Flying School
527th School Squadron
528th School Squadron
529th School Squadron
530th School Squadron
531st School Squadron
532nd School Squadron
Hq and Hq Sq, 87th Air Base Group (Special):
302nd Material Squadron (Special)
88th Air Base Squadron (Special)
Air Force Band
Sub Depot
Detachment, 1st Communications Squadron
Detachment, 1st Weather Squadron
Detachment, 853rd Ordnance Service Company (Aviation)
Company M, 32nd Quartermaster Regiment (Truck)
Detachment, 858th Signal Service Company (Aviation)
Army Air Forces Basic Flying School
Army Air Forces Weather Station (Type B)
Finance Detachment
Medical Detachment
Veternary Detachment
Detachment, 1st Weather Squadron, Regional
36th Army Air Forces Band
55th Sub-Depot
88th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron
99th Basic Flying Training Group
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron
527th Basic Flying Training Squadron
528th Basic Flying Training Squadron
529th Basic Flying Training Squadron
530th Basic Flying Training Squadron
531st Basic Flying Training Squadron
532nd Basic Flying Training Squadron
746th Basic Flying Training Squadron
Detachment 4, 858th Signal Service Company, Aviation
Detachment 6, 909th Quartermaster Service Company, Aviation
1014th Guard Squadron
Detachment 7, 2053rd Ordnance Service Company, Aviation
Third Echelon Repair Shop
Section, 68th Army Air Forces Base Unit (1st Weather Region)
461st Army Air Forces Base Unit (Processing In)
Women's Army Corps Squadron
767th Army Air Forces Band (Colored)

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


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Updated 9 March 2016