Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Ontario Air National Guard Station
(Ontario Observation Aerodrome, Ontario Army Air Field, Ontario Air National Guard Training Site)
 
 
A California Air National Guard F-86 assigned to the 196th Fghter Interceptor Squadron on the ramp at Ontario ANG Training Site.

The 1995 the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Comission closed Ontario Air National Guard Station (ANGS) and relocate the 148th Combat Communications Squadron (CCS) and the 210th Weather Flight to March ARB, California.

The former Ontario Army Airfield (OAAF) is now known as the Ontario International Airport (airport) and is located in San Bernardino County, California. Centrally located in the City of Ontario, the airport is approximately one mile south of Interstate 10, at the south end of Vineyard Avenue. The Airport is the commercial air hub for the eastern Los Angeles Basin. It is the most common arrival point for air passengers traveling to San Bernardino and Riverside, CA.

The Airport is bounded by Cucamonga Avenue on the west, the Union Pacific Railroad on the south, the Southern Pacific Railroad on the north and Haven and Archibald Avenues on the east. The California Air National Guard (CA ANG) has operated from a location in the southeast corner of the site. There are a number of commercial aviation related businesses located on Airport property, including Federal Express, United Parcel Service, General Electric Corporation, Lockheed, Harriott, Fluor, Otto's Instruments, Wells Aviation, and Beechcraft West.

In 1921, local flyers organized the Ontario Aircraft Corporation to begin flying the "Jennie" Bi-plane aircraft. In 1929, the corporation graded a small dirt landing strip near the corner of Mission Boulevard and Grove Avenue, the southwest corner of the present site. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) began construction on two concrete runways in 1941. The airport continued general aviation usage until the start of WW II.

Along with the rest of the nation, Ontario International Airport was consumed by World War II, and the need for military security probably accounts for the scarcity of photographs of the airport during the war years. But it was to accommodate the war effort that ONT was changed from the dirt field of the 30s to a modern airfield with concrete runways, an air traffic control tower and an instrument landing system.

During its tenure as an army airfield, OAAF encompassed about 845 acres. To initiate operations as the OAAF, the Army obtained control of the Ontario Municipal Airport by lease (466.2 acres), and then expanded by developing agricultural land adjacent to the airport (357.11 acres fee, 21.3 acres lease, and .26 acres easement).

In 1942, two concrete runways were constructed at ONT with funds from the Works Progress Administration. The 6,200' east/west runway and the 4,700' northeast/southwest runway formed the basic configuration that was to serve the airport for the next 39 years. The cost of the two runways in 1942 was $350,000.

In 1942, after the Army's acquisition of the property, the 311th Air Base Squadron was activated. The airfield fell under the jurisdiction of the 4th Air Force, headquartered at Hamilton Army Airfield, CA. The 69th Observation Group arrived on 1 June 1942, and the airfield became known as the Ontario Observation Aerodrome. The 69th flew the O-47 and L2A8 "Maytag Messerschmitt" observation aircraft. The two-fold mission of the 69th was to patrol the coastal areas around Los Angeles on an anti-submarine patrol, and to photograph the local harbor defenses and War Industries.

The P-38 "Lightning" was the first military aircraft to be seen with any regularity at ONT. Built by Lockheed in Burbank, the P-38s were flown at ONT by pilot trainees in the US Army Air Corps. In October 1943, when the 384th Fighter Squadron arrived to begin training. Equipped with the P-38 "Lightning" aircraft, the 384th Fighter Squadron trained in air-to-air gunnery. Tail gunners fired at long sleeves pulled by modified "Ventura" bombers of the 11th Tow Target Squadron. With the arrival of these squadrons, the airfield became a full-fledged air facility known as the OAAF. During this period, the 4th Air Force stationed the 35th, 389th, 786th, and 797th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalions at the airfield. This was due to the airfield's similarity to terrain found in southern Europe.

Training ceased at the end of hostilities of WW II. The Army declared the airfield surplus on 15 November 1945, when it went to an inactive status. On 29 October 1946, the airfield was transferred to the War Assets Administration (WAA). The City of Ontario was interested in resuming commercial airport operations and received the deed for the property on 25 March 1949. The first commercial plane, operated by Western Airlines, landed on 27 October 1949.

Military usage would continue, when in 1949 an Air National Guard Training Station was established at the airport. In April 1949, the City of Ontario granted a lease for certain airport property to the U.S. Air Force. The site was then used by the CA ANG. An Armory for the 149th Control and Warning Squadron was constructed; and later CA ANG activities had a major impact on the airport. In 1952, in response to the desire of the Air National Guard to base fighter aircraft at the airport, the city initiated the first of the three runway extensions. After two additional runway extensions, the airport had a 10,000 foot runway to service both commercial and military traffic.

The 1950's saw dynamic growth at Ontario International Airport (the airfield was designated "International" in 1946). Three major aircraft plans including Lockheed, Douglas and Northrop had facilities at ONT. The airport was enjoying the postwar prosperity spreading across the country. The second runway extension of 1,200 feet was completed in 1956 and permitted the ANG's speedy F 86 Sabrejets to land and take off at Ontario. The first extension (800') came in 1952, and the third (1,800') in 1962, each time to accommodate the faster aircraft being flown by the California Air National Guard. All three extensions were funded by the Air Guard. In 1981, a 10,200' wide-body runway was added to ONT's aviation configuration, and a Continental DC-10 was the first wide-body aircraft to touch down on the new runway. When the airport lengthened the runways in 1981 to its current lengths, the cost was $20 million.

The first modern control tower was constructed in 1953 and commercial air traffic continued to increase. The 196th Tactical Air Support Group and the 163rd Tactical Support Group were stationed here from July 1952 until 1983. In 1983, the 196th Tactical Air Support Group was transferred to March Air Force Base, Riverside, CA. Since 1984, the 148th Combat Communications Squadron was stationed here. The 148th conducted radar operations, maintenance, and training on the property. From 1967 until 1985, the Los Angeles County Department of Airports (LADA) operated and maintained the commercial operations for the City of Ontario until in 1985, the airport was formally deeded to the LADA.

 

US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (10 February 1992)
The former Ontario Army Airfield (AAF) consisted of a total of 875.49 acres; 357.11 acres fee, 518.12 acres lease, and 0.26 acres easement acquired between 1942 and 1944. A portion of Ontario AAF is currently known as ontario Air National Guard Station, and formerly as Ontario Air National Guard Training Site (NGTS).
Civilian airport operations at this site began in the early 1930's and was located in the southwest corner of the air field. The airport was then expanded in 1940-2 by the city of Ontario, and roads, taxiways and utilities were constructed during this period. The AAF began operation in 1942, when the U.S. Army obtained control of Ontario Municipal Airport and expanded it by development of agricultural land adjacent to the airport. The U.S. Army utilized the air field for training P-38 fighter pilots. Army improvements included maintenance and fueling facilities for aircraft and motor vehicles, taxiways and hardstands, subsistence, recreation, storage and operations buildings, utilities, and an ammo dump.

The AAF property and improvements were surplused on 15 November 1945 and then transferred on 29 October 1946 to the War Assets Administration for control. In 1949, the U.S. terminated all of the above-acquired leases and easements, and quitclaimed the fee title to the City of Ontario, along with improvements constructed by the U.S. Army, with the exception of 7.93 acres which was withdrawn from surplus on 7 April 1949 by the U.S. Air Force for establishment of the NGTS. The City of Ontario subsequently expanded the airport to the east to lengthen the runways and taxiways and named the airport Ontario International Airport. Over the years the City of Ontario leased portions of the airport to numerous companies for commercial and industrial purposes. Aerospace companies built, tested, overhauled and refurbished aircraft within and adjacent to the airport. In 1985, the City of Ontario deeded title of the airport property to the City of Los Angeles, Department of Airports (LADA). From 1967 to 1985, the LADA operated and maintained the airport for the City of Ontario under an agreement.
 
 
 
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (20 February 1991)

Location. Ontario, California 91761-7697. The site encompasses all of the present airport property west of Archibald Avenue and sections south of Mission Blvd. between Grove and Turner Streets.

Site History: Civilian airport operations began in late 1929 on a 30-acre parcel of land located at the southwest corner of the current airport site. In 1942, the federal government took control of the airport and adjacent agricultural land to train Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces P-38 fighter pilots. After 1945, the airport was returned to the city of ontario and rededicated to civil aviation.
 
 
 
History by Justin Ruhge
 
The former Ontario Army Airfield (OAAF) is now known as the Ontario International Airport and is located in San Bernardino County, California. Centrally located in the City of Ontario, the Airport is approximately one mile south of Interstate 10, at the south end of Vineyard Avenue. The Airport is the commercial air hub for the eastern Los Angeles Basin. It is the most common arrival point for air passengers traveling to San Bernardino and Riverside, CA. The Airport is bounded by Cucamonga Avenue on the west, the Union Pacific Railroad on the south, the Southern Pacific Railroad on the north and Haven and Archibald Avenues on the east. The California Air National Guard (CA ANG) had operated from a location in the southeast corner of the site. There are a number of commercial aviation-related businesses located on Airport property, including Federal Express, United Parcel Service, General Electric
Corporation, Lockheed, Harriott, Fluor, Otto's Instruments, Wells Aviation, and Beechcraft West.

In 1921, local flyers organized the Ontario Aircraft Corporation to begin flying the "Jennie" Bi-Plane aircraft. In 1929, the corporation graded a small dirt landing strip near the corner of Mission Boulevard and Grove Avenue, the southwest corner of the present site. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) began construction on two concrete runways in 1941. The airport continued general aviation usage until the start of WW II. Along with the rest of the nation, Ontario International Airport was consumed by World War II and the need for military security probably accounts for the scarcity of photographs of the airport during the war years. But it was to accommodate the war effort that ONT was changed from the dirt field of the 30s to a modern airfield with concrete runways, an air traffic control tower and an instrument landing system.
During its tenure as an army airfield, OAAF encompassed about 845 acres. To initiate operations as the OAAF, the Army obtained control of the Ontario Municipal Airport by lease (466.2 acres) and then expanded by developing agricultural land adjacent to the airport (357.11 acres fee, 21.3 acres lease, and .26 acres easement).
In 1942, two concrete runways were constructed at ONT with funds from the Works Progress Administration. The 6,200' east/west runway and the 4,700' northeast/southwest runway formed the basic configuration that was to serve the airport for the next 39 years. The cost of the two runways in 1942 was $350,000.
In 1942, after the Army's acquisition of the property, the 311th Air Base Squadron was activated. The Airfield fell under the jurisdiction of the 4th Air Force, headquartered at Hamilton Army Airfield, CA. The 69th Observation Group arrived on June 1, 1942, and the Airfield became known as the Ontario Observation Aerodrome. The 69th flew the O-47 and L2A8 "Maytag Messerschmitt" observation aircraft. The two-fold mission of the 69th was to patrol the coastal areas around Los Angeles on an anti-submarine patrol and to photograph the local harbor defenses and war industries.
The P-38 "Lightning" was the first military aircraft to be seen with any regularity at ONT. Built by Lockheed in Burbank, the P-38s were flown at ONT by pilot trainees in the US Army Air Corps. In October 1943, the 384th Fighter Squadron arrived to begin training equipped with the P-38 "Lightning" aircraft and were trained in air-to-air gunnery. Tail gunners fired at long sleeves pulled by modified "Ventura" bombers of the 11th Tow Target Squadron. With the arrival of these squadrons, the Airfield became a full-fledged air facility known as the OAAF. During this period, the 4th Air Force stationed the 35th, 389th, 786th, and 797th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalions at the Airfield. This was due to the Airfield's similarity to terrain found in southern Europe.
Training ceased at the end of hostilities of WW II. The Army declared the Airfield surplus on November 15, 1945, when it went to an inactive status. On October 29, 1946, the Airfield was transferred to the War Assets Administration (WAA). The City of Ontario was interested in resuming commercial airport operations and received the deed for the property on March 25, 1949. The first commercial plane, operated by Western Airlines, landed on October 27, 1949.
Military usage would continue, when in 1949 an Air National Guard Training Station was established at the Airport. In April 1949, the City of Ontario granted a lease for certain airport property to the U.S. Air Force. The site was then used by the CA ANG. An Armory for the 149th Control and Warning Squadron was constructed; and later CA ANG activities had a major impact on the Airport. In 1952, in response to the desire of the Air National Guard to base fighter aircraft at the Airport, the City initiated the first of the three runway extensions.

After two additional runway extensions, the Airport had a 10,000 foot runway to service both commercial and military traffic.
The 1950s saw dynamic growth at Ontario International Airport (the airfield was designated "International" in 1946). Three major aircraft plants including Lockheed, Douglas and Northrop had facilities at ONT. The airport was enjoying the postwar prosperity spreading across the country. The second runway extension of 1,200 feet was completed in 1956 and permitted the ANG's speedy F-86 Sabrejets to land and take off at Ontario. The first extension (800') came in 1952, and the third (1,800') in 1962, each time to accommodate the faster aircraft being flown by the California Air National Guard. The Air Guard funded all three extensions. In 1981, a 10,200' wide-body runway was added to ONT's aviation configuration, and a Continental DC-10 was the first wide-body aircraft to touch down on the new runway. When the Airport lengthened the runways in 1981 to its current lengths, the cost was $20 million.
The first modern control tower was constructed in 1953 and commercial air traffic continued to increase. The 196th Tactical Air Support Group and the 163rd Tactical Support Group were stationed here from July 1952 until 1983. In 1983, the 196th Tactical Air Support Group was transferred to March Air Force Base, Riverside, CA. Since 1984, the 148th Combat Communications Squadron was stationed here. The 148th conducted Radar operations, maintenance, and training on the property. From 1967 until 1985, the Los Angeles County Department of Airports (LADA) operated and maintained the commercial operations for the City of Ontario until in 1985 the Airport was formally deeded to the LADA.
In 1995 the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission closed Ontario Air National Guard Station (ANGS) and relocated the 148th Combat Communications Squadron (CCS) and the 210th Weather Flight to March AFB, California.
Units known to be located at Ontario AAF: 443rd Army Air Forces Base Unit, 11th Tow Target Squadron, 69th Reconnaissance Group: 1 June-November 1942, 329th Fighter Group: Arrived February 27, 1944. Disbanded on March 31, 1944, 364th Fighter Group: October 11-December 7, 1943, 35th, 389th, 786th, and 797th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalions.
 
Extract, US Army Air Forces Directory of Airfields (January 1945)
 
 
 
 
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles History (10 August 1991)
 
The former Ontario Air National Guard Training Site (ANGS) consisted of 30.62 acres leased to the U.S. Air Force by the City of Ontario and 7.93 acres fee claimed by the U.S. Air Force and leased to the California Air National Guard (CANG).This ANG site was established in 1949 and was expanded between 1949 and 1966. This small area was a portion of the former Ontario Army Air Field.
 
The ANGS was first operated in 1949 by the 149th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, and subsequently by the 163rd Fighter Interceptor Group (196th Fighter Interceptor Squadron). The former ANGS property was used as an operations area in support of the CANG's air training mission; jet and propeller aircraft were taxied, parked and maintained in this area. The inprovements at the former ANGS property include an aircraft hangar, apron, wash rack, munitions loading ramp, engine test cell, electrical component repair shop pads and fueling facility.
 
The CANG used the adjacent Ontario International Airport's runways and taxiways for aircraft takeoff and landing urrler a lease agreement. '!he Air Force funded and constructed the inprovements at the former ANGS, but did not use them because the role of the Air Force was managerial support.

In 1985, the City of Ontario conveyed the entire airport to the City o Los Angeles, Deparmrent of Airports (LADA). This ANGS was included in that conveyance. by supplemental agreement dated 11 May 1988, 27.41 acres were deleted from the lease between the Air Force and the City of Los Angeles, reducing the size of the ANGS. The Air Force still leases 3.21 acres from LADA and still owns 7.93 acres fee.This area is currently used by the CANG, 148th Combat Conmmications Squadron.
 
 
Site Map, Ontario Air National Guard Station


Known Units at Ontario AAF

443d Army Air Forces Base Unit (Combat Crew Training Station-Fighter)
11th Tow Target Squadron
69th Reconnaissance Group: 1 June-November 1942
329th Fighter Group: Arrived 27 February 1944. Disbanded on 31 Mar 1944.
364th Fighter Group: 11 October-7 December 1943
35th, 389th, 786th, and 797th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalions