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Throwback Thursday: Fairmont Army Air Field

It’s another #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This black and white photograph shows a couple hangars, brick buildings and concrete paving on the Fairmont Army Airfield base.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States War Department needed bases for training military personnel. 1,980 acres of land between two rural Nebraska towns, Geneva and Fairmont, was selected for an Army airfield. Within 90 days, from September to December in 1942, construction crews worked around the clock to build runways, hangars, barracks, buildings to support and train over 3,000 airmen, and the largest hospital in Nebraska. The official name for the base was the Fairmont Army Airfield.

Over the next three years, bomber and support crews went through their final preparations and training before being deployed oversees to either Europe or the Pacific. The Fairmont Army Airfield housed and trained airmen from all over the country and were welcomed with open arms by the people from the surrounding towns. The men were given home-cooked meals, taken to local church services, provided with a theater, a USO, and dances.

After Japan’s surrender in August 1945, the Airfield was deactivated. The buildings were dismantled, surplus materials were given to local schools and communities, and the land was converted back to pre-war status. Only four hangars, the water tower, runways, taxiways, and a few brick and cement structures remain. In 2003, the Airfield was chosen as a National Historic Site.

This image is published and owned by the Fairmont Public Library. In partnership with the Fillmore County Historical society, the library digitized photographs depicting the history of Fillmore County. The photographs in this collection include images of local businesses, schools, and churches.

If you’re someone who like history, especially Nebraska history, check out the Nebraska Memories archive!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in this project, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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