Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
West Coast Air
Corps Training Center
(West Coast Training Command,
Western Flying Training Command)
Western Flying Training
Command Headquarters Building
1104 W. 8th Street in Santa Ana, California.
by Justin Ruhge
The West Coast Air Corps Training Center
was activated on July 8, 1940. The Center was located at Moffett
Field. However, the Navy wanted to expand its facilities to support
its lighter than air base so the Army had to look elsewhere for
its operations. A new site was obtained at 1104 West Eighth Street
in Santa Ana on seven acres leased from the City of Santa Ana
for $1 a year. The center was to have a new building costing
$250,000 west of the municipal bowl. The WCACTC, which eventually
became the Army Air Force West Coast Training Command (WCTC),
was the headquarters for all the eleven western states air cadet-training
facilities, including the Santa Ana Army Air Base also in Santa
Ana. Its function was to direct all of the activity in connection
with supplying pilots, navigators and bombardiers for the nation's
Air Force. Major General Ralph P. Cousins was the Commander.
With the outbreak of World War II, the command added many new
On December 7, 1941 the WCTC had six Army
flying schools and nine civilian contract schools in operation.
By the end of 1942 there were 22 Army schools and 21 civilian
contract schools. A fast pace of pilot training for the next
two years resulted in meeting and exceeding all goals so that
by the summer of 1944, many of the training schools were closed.
By the end of 1945 the WCTC had little left to administer.
On November 15, 1945 the WFTC was disestablished.
The buildings at 1104 W. Eighth St. closed their doors. The Santa
Ana headquarters had once controlled the training activities
of 148 military installations in 19 states. The WFTC had reached
its peak in early 1944 with about 200,000 trainees and officers
assigned to 42 college training detachments, 18 primary flying
schools, 11 basic schools and 16 advanced pilot schools as well
as special bombardier, gunnery, navigation, glider pilot and
transition bases. In the following month all of the headquarter
buildings were declared surplus. On November 15, 1945 the Central
Flying Command headquarters at Randolph Field, Texas, was redesignated
the Western Flying Training Command.
In January 1946 the City of Santa Ana gained permission to operate
the abandoned headquarters of the old WFTC as a temporary housing
center for WWII veterans and their families during the home shortage
period. In April, the work of remodeling the former WFTC buildings
into housing units began.
So ends the record of one of the mightiest human efforts to develop
the world's greatest air force in three years.
See The SAAAB Story by Edrick J. Miller pages 213 to 220
for a listing of all the training bases under the control of
References: The SAAAB
Story by Edrick J. Miller, 1981. The Costa Mesa Historical
Society. Santa Ana, Orange County.
US Army Corps
of Engineers Los Angeles District History (28 June 1999)
The Army leased 6.67 acres of land from
the City of Santa Ana on 10 October 1941. The lease was on an
annual renewable basis for at least 24 years. Real estate records
of the lease were not found.
The Army used the site for the West Coast
Air Training Center. The Headquarters Building, Statistical Building,
and 17 outbuildings were built on the site as permanent buildings.
The West Coast Air Corps Training Center served as administrative
headquarters for the West Coast Air Training Command which had
jurisdiction over and directed the training of airmen in eleven
western states through supervision of flying schools and cadet
The West Coast Air Training Center was closed 15 November 1945.
The lease for the 6.67 acres was terminated and all buildings
were declared surplus a month later. The City of Santa Ana acquired
title to the buildings in May 1948 and used them for civic purposes
in the development of a civic center. The Headquarters Building
was used as the Santa Ana Community Center until it was razed
Tenants of other buildings included various city and county offices
and civic organizations such as the Red Cross and the Santa Ana
Community Players. The Barracks were leased by the City to returning
war personnel. Currently, no Department of Defense facilities
remain on the property. The site continues to be used for civic
purposes and is now located amidst a civic center highly developed
with local, state, and federal buildings.
US Army Corps
of Engineers Los Angeles District History (26 February 1998)
Site Name: West
Coast Air Corps Training Center; also referred to as:
West Coast Air Corps Training Center (WCACTC)
West Coast Air Force Training Center (WCAFTC),
as of 4 April 1942
West Coast Army Air Forces Training Center
(WCAAFTC), as of 1 July 1942
Army Air Forces West Coast Training Center
(AAFWCTC), as of 11 November 1942
Also known as the Western Flying Training
Location: The West Coast Air Training
Center site is located in the Civic Center area in the City of
Santa Ana, California.
Site History: The Army leased 6.67
acres of a former walnut grove from the City of Santa Ana on
10 October 1941. On this site were constructed the Headquarters
Building, Statistical Building and seventeen outbuildings as
permanent buildings which were to comprise the West Coast Air
Training Center, formerly at Moffett Field. The West Coast Air
Training Center moved from Moffett Field into the newly erected
headquarters building at 1104 West 8th Street, Santa Ana, on
4 April 1942. During WWII, the Center directed the training of
airmen (pilots, navigators, and bombardiers) in eleven western
states through supervision of flying schools and cadet replacement
centers. The Center was active until 15 November 1945 when jurisdiction
over all stations and facilities was transferred to the Central
Flying Command and the lease for the 6.67 acres was terminated.
The City of Santa Ana acquired title to the buildings in 1948
and used them for various civic purposes - the Headquarters Building
was used as the Santa Ana Community Center - through 1973 when
they were razed. The City of Santa Ana has redeveloped the site
as part of the Civic Center.