In 1936, the City of Oroville acquired
188 acres of grazing land for use as a municipal airport. During
1941, the city and the Works Project Administration (WPA) extended
the runways and increased the total airport land area to 428
In 1942, the War Department leased the Oroville Municipal Airport
and renamed it Oroville Army Air Field (AAF). That same year
the Army purchased an additional 381.98 acres of land for expansion
of the field and construction of a cantonement area. Once operational,
it served as a fighter group training installation from spring
of 1943 through early summer 1944. Two fighter groups rotated
through Oroville AAF: the 357th Fighter Group (fighter group
of famed pilots Chuck Yeager and Bud Anderson) and the 369th
Fighter Group. Aircraft present at the field were identified
as the Bell P-39Q Airacobra, North American P-51B/C/D Mustangs,
and possibly the North American A-36 Apache, the ground attack
version of the P-51.
Layout plans of the former Oroville AAF
dated 1944 indicate a Bomb Storage Area west of the two runways
and a skeet range between the southern extents of the runways.
Fueling pit boxes were located along former Taxiways A (running
parallel to runway 12/30) and C (connecting the southernmost
ends of runways 1/19 and 12/30). A 1947 Inventory Report of Buildings
and Structures states that bombs were stored in earth revetments.
In 1945 Oroville AAF was listed as temporarily inactive
under assignment to Air Technical Service Command and was later
classified as surplus. In 1946 the War Assets Administration
(WAA) assumed custody of the site and on 21 May 1947, the WAA
terminated the U.S. Armys lease with the City of Oroville
and quitclaimed the fee owned property to that municipality.
Oroville Army Air
Field in 1943 (National Archives)
Oroville Gap Filler
The 0.25-acre site is located at the Oroville
Municipal Airport, approximately 4 miles southwest of the City
of Oroville in Butte County, CA. On 14 October 1955, the Air
Force acquired 0.25 fee acre from the City of Oroville with the
intent of installing an unmanned gap filler station. No improvements
were ever made to the site by the Air Force and on 6 January
1965 the parcel was conveyed back to the City of Oroville.