War Eagle Field in Lancaster is not to be confused with another airfield by the same name in Dos Palos, 175 miles to the northwest.
War Eagle Field was the site of a contract flying school, Polaris Flight Academy, which was one of four schools operated by the Cal-Aero Flight Academy, headquartered at Glendale's Grand Central Air Terminal. The civilian schools were contracted by the US & foreign militaries to provide flight training for military cadets.
War Eagle Field opened in 1941. It initially provided training to British & Canadian cadets. In 1942, following the United States' entry into the war, it also began the training of US Army Air Forces cadets. The War Eagle Flight Academy became at the time the only civilian school in the United States to handle basic training of Army pilots.
Upon accepting the new role, construction commenced to double the size of the base.
The airfield at War Eagle Field was centered around two large hangars at the northwest end of the site. A 2,400' long ramp just south of the hangars was oriented northeast/southwest, and the two 2,400' runways extended to the east & south away from the ramp.
Every four & one-half weeks a new group of US pilots would arrive at Lancaster to commence their basic training. After completing their course here, they were sent to Army Advance Training bases where upon completion of their advance course they received their wings & commission. The Vultee BT-13 was the predominant trainer aircraft used at War Eagle Field.
There were two other auxiliary landing fields associated with War Eagle Field: Liberty Field & Victory Field. Liberty Field is located 8 miles northeast of War Eagle Field. The location of Victory Field has not been determined.
In 1944, the name of the Polaris Flight Academy was changed to Mira Loma Flight Academy.
The facility was closed in 1945 at the end of World War II.
The facilities at War Eagle apparently sat idle until 1954, when the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department & Department of Hospitals opened the Mira Loma Custody Facility at the site, for inmates with tuberculosis. The tuberculosis facility closed in 1979. In 1983, the facility re-opened due to jail overcrowding & expanded in 1986 to include female inmates.
The Mira Loma Custody Facility closed in 1993 due to County budget cuts. It was then re-opened in 1997, to house INS detainees awaiting deportation hearings.
As of 2002, it is known as Mira Loma Detention Center. Two still intact hangers are still in use, as well as other WW2-era buildings. On the roof of one of the hangars, the name "War Eagle" is still faintly perceptible.
The site of War Eagle Field is located southeast of the intersection of West Avenue I & 60th Street West. The property is labeled "High Desert Hospital" on recent road maps.