California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
A United States Army Museum Activity
Preserving California's Military Heritage
Historic California Posts, Stations and Airfields
Stockton Field
(Sharpe General Depot Field Annex, Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex, Stockton Armory, Stockton Combined Support Maintenance Shop, Stockton Army Aviation Support Facility)
 

In the months preceding World War II, the U.S. Army entered into the first of many lease agreements with the City of Stockton (on 15 August 1940) to construct and operate an Army training facility and airfield at Stockton Municipal Airport.

Stockton Field was initially garrisoned by the 68th Air Base Group (Special) under the Air Corps Advance Flying School. Between 1940 and 1945, Stockton Field served as a training installation under the West Coast Training Center (later Western Flying Training Command) headquartered at Santa Ana Army Air Base. In May 1944, all of the facility was consolidated into the 3033rd Army Air Forces Base Unit. Given the airfield's proximity to logistical facilities under the Army Air Forces and Army Service Forces, the Site soon became a logistical hub for the U.S. Army in general and the Army Air Forces in particular. This resulted in an increased number of transport aircraft passing through Stockton Field. On 2 March 1945, the final class of aviation cadets completed their training, and Stockton Field was transferred from the control of the Western Flying Training Command to the Air Transport Command. With this transfer, the 3033rd AAFBU was redesignated as the 591st AAFBU.

In October 1946, Stockton Field was declared surplus to the needs of the government. As 1,044.18 acres were in the process of being transferred to the War Assets Administration for disposal, 71.36 acres, consisting of a major portion of the former cantonment area including housing, storage facilities, and a sewage disposal plant, were leased to U.S. Army's Stockton General Depot located to the south in nearby Lathrop.

The City of Stockton and the County of San Joaquin resumed operating the former Stockton Municipal Airport on 16 December 1946 under a joint (interim) license. On the 1,044.18 acres of leased land (950 acres of which comprise the airport now under license) there were approximately 175 buildings, including 50 airport-related structures which were included in the above described license. The buildings were primarily the Quartermaster 700-series and 800-series type construction with concrete foundations, wood floor, composition roof, and wood lap siding.

On 29 January 1947, the 71.36-acres of former Stockton Field retained by the U.S. Army was officially named the "Stockton General Depot Field Annex," then renamed "Sharpe General Depot Field Annex" in 1948, when Stockton General Depot was redesignated as Sharpe General Depot. The U.S. Army, with the exception of the Sharpe General Depot Field Annex, left Stockton Field by 31 January 1948; the same date that the City of Stockton and the County of San Joaquin jointly assumed administration over the airport (Stockton Record 1964).

Sharpe General Depot Field Annex was formed from two parcels of land adjacent to the southwest portion of the current Stockton Metropolitan Airport. Sharpe General Depot Field Annex was operated by the U.S. Army as a separate, self-contained military post under Sharpe General Depot. With the rapid expansion of depot operations and facilities that occurred with the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, Sharpe General Depot Field Annex's name was changed to Sharpe General Depot Troop Field Annex to reflect its support mission. During this period, the Site was used primarily for family housing, recreational, and other support facilities for Sharpe General Depot. One of the tenants was the 164th Field Artillery Battalion, California Army National Guard, who occupied a small part of the Sharpe General Depot Troop Field Annex until the new National Guard Armory was built on State-owned land south of the Site in 1952.

On 8 July 1957, the City of Stockton transferred half of its interest in the Stockton Municipal Airport by Grant Deed, and San Joaquin County assumed administration over the airport (subject to certain reservations, restrictions and conditions according to the "Agreement" with the United States of America dated 23 December 1948 (Appendix A).
The end of the Korean War caused more mission changes at Sharpe General Depot and the Sharpe General Depot Troop Field Annex. In 1958, the Sharpe General Depot received a Fourth Echelon Air Maintenance Support mission on U.S. Army aircraft within the Sixth U.S. Army Area. The Site then served as home to the Sixth U.S. Army Aircraft Field Maintenance Activity operated by Detachment 3, 6932nd Service Unit. This unit provided maintenance support to U.S. Army rotary and fixed wing liaison aircraft in the Sixth U.S. Army area and Buildings 1000, 1001, and 1003. The Site also was the home of the 30th Engineer Group (Topographic) and the 521st Engineer Company (Topographic, Aviation).
During 1959 and 1960, construction of a new airstrip, hangar and shop at Sharpe Army Deport curtailed the military's use of Stockton Airport. In June 1961, the Aircraft Field Maintenance Activity was transferred to Fort Ord, California. By July 1962, the Army Material Command was established with several sub-commands, including the Supply and Maintenance Command. This brought about another name change when Sharpe General Deport became Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex.

On 11 July 1964, Stockton Municipal Airport was officially renamed the Stockton Metropolitan Airport, reflecting its changing role as a civil airport. Thirty new family housing units were also built in 1964 at Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex, resulting in the closure of family housing units at the Site.

In the last months of 1965, support to Army Aviation expanded again as a result of the U.S. Army's role in Southeast Asia. As the Vietnam War continued, so did Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex's mission. In April 1966, the first units of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 56th Quartermaster Depot began to arrive at the Site, followed by units of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 58th Field Depot in July.

By 1966, the Headquarters Commandant of Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex had the responsibility to command troops assigned to Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex. This included the supervision of all attached and tenant units, Special Services, Annex Services, Education Center, Officer Open Mess and Non-commissioned Officers Club, including support for Reserve, National Guard and Transient Units.

In January 1967, an Army Clothing Sales Store was transferred from Sacramento Army Depot and reopened in Building T-88 at the Site. A Branch Exchange of the Presidio of San Francisco was also established in Building T-137. On-post housing at Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex was limited, causing 44 sets of "inadequate quarters" to be established at the Site, whereby old barracks buildings were converted into "apartment-type quarters" with two apartments upstairs and two downstairs. To further accommodate the increase in soldiers now stationed at Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex, the Site now provided many additional services such as laundry, dry cleaning, and medical facilities.

In the early 1970s, the need for soldiers garrisoning Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex also decreased as military positions were converted to Civil Service positions. Due to the shift in staffing, Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex determined that it no longer needed the Field Annex site and began the process of disposing of the Sharpe Army Depot Field Annex.

harpe Army Depot Field Annex was vacated in 1973, ending the U.S. Army's presence on the field with all of the land and buildings reverting back to the County. The only military presence that has remained on Stockton Metropolitan Airport is the California Army National Guard's Armory, Field and Combined Support Maintenance Shop, and the Army Aviation Support Facility located just south of the Site.

Posted 1 January 2009


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