Tubbs Island is located at the southern tip of Sonoma County, California between Vallejo and Navato, and approximately 45 miles from San Francisco. It is bordered by San Pablo Bay to the south, Midshipman Slough/Tolay Creek to the north, east, and west, and is bisected by Highway 37. The property at Tubbs Island is depicted on Sonoma County Assessor maps 68-160, 68-180, and 68-190. Reclamation District #2061 obtained parcels' 068-180-020 and 068-180-015 from the Tubbs Island Company on 23 October 1922. On 13 June 1923, Tubbs Island Company executed a Deed conveying Parcel 068-160-005 to Walter D. Reed. Although, no acquisition deed or lease and no references to an acquisition deed or lease have been located, there is documentation that on 14 February 1946, Headquarters Continental Air Forces requested that Tubbs Island be declared surplus. In addition, Headquarters Army Air Forces provided notification on 1 March 1946, that action had been taken to declare Tubbs Island as surplus.
Tubbs Island is referenced several times in the History of Santa Rosa Army Air Field (SRAAF) for rounds expended as aerial gunnery, ground gunnery, and bombs expended by dive and skip bombing. A letter dated 26 November 1945, from Headquarters Fourth Air Force to Commanding General, Continental Air Forces, Bolling Field, notes that four auxiliary facilities, including Tubbs Island, were used in connection with the SRAAF. Mr. Harrison Rued, a historian with the Redwood Empire Aviation Historical Society, stated that SRAAF used Tubbs Island for gunnery and bombing from 1942 to 1945. According to Mr. Rued, two dive bomb targets were constructed at Tubbs Island to facilitate accurate scoring of dive bombing. To further substantiate the use of a dive-bombing Range at Tubbs Island, the History of SRAAF stated that a new scoring method for dive bombing was adopted and was to be put into effect at Tubbs Island. That history also stated that preparations were completed at Tubbs Island for rocket firing and a few practice missions were run.
In addition, Chemical Warfare Training was also reportedly practiced at Tubbs Island. Pilot trainees may have been schooled in aerial chemical spray procedures utilizing airplane smoke tanks (model M-10) filled with FS (a screening of chloracetophenone in benzene and carbon tetrachloride). While Tubbs Island, Drakes Bay, and Bodega Head are listed as aerial spray locations, only Tubbs Island is listed in the deactivation reports. A Naval Radio Station was also possibly located on Tubbs Island. Mr. William Palmer, a P-38 pilot during World War II with the 78th Fighter Group, stated that there was a Naval Radio Station on Tubbs Island, but did not know of any gunnery practice. Mr. Glen Birch, a historian, also stated that there was a radio station at Tubbs Island during the Viet Nam War years. Mr. George Young, a representative from the Caretaker's Site Office at Mare Island, was able to find a 1934 drawing of a proposed Naval Radio Station at Tubbs Island, but there is no indication as to whether or not the radio station was actually built. No further documents referring to a Naval Radio Station at Tubbs Island have been located.
Although no documentation on an acquisition deed or lease conveying the land back to the original owners or to new owners has been found, there is documentation that on 14 February 1946, Headquarters Continental Air Forces requested that Tubbs Island be declared surplus. Headquarters, Army Air Forces provided notification on 1 March 1946, that action was taken to declare Tubbs Island surplus.
Source: US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Extract, War Department Inventory of Owned, Sponsored and Leased Facilities, December 1945