The War Years

The War Years (HMMST)

Location: Tampa, FL 33602 Hillsborough County
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Country: United States of America
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N 27° 56.722', W 82° 27.521'

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WWII Makes the Army Air Forces and MacDill Grow Up Fast

As MacDill Field's first runways were being completed in 1941, only 8,500 men were enlisted in the Army Air Corps. But by the end of World War II in 1945, over 2.5 million Americans had joined the newly renamed Army Air Forces. The demands of war pushed MacDill to quickly become the largest air base in the southeastern United States. The base was responsible for combat training of pilots and crews for the B-17, B-18, B-26, B-29, and B-50 bombers.

German POWs Held at MacDill Field
During the last year of World War II, MacDill was home to about 500 Nazi prisoners of war. The prisoners worked in the kitchen, in the laundry room, and as automotive mechanics. Throughout the war, over 10.000 German POWs were quietly housed in 27 different military facilities in the state of Florida.

One a Day in Tampa Bay!
The Martin B-26 Marauder was the first American bomber in the Pacific and one of the most celebrated Allied aircraft. It was small, fast, and carried a large payload of bombs. Because the B-26 demanded skillful piloting, MacDill experienced an unusually large number of take-off crashes, thus earning the plane nicknames such as "The Widowmaker" and "One a Day in Tampa Bay." Despite its reputation, the B-26 actually had the lowest combat loss ratio of any WWII aircraft.

Hollywood Shoots at MacDill
During the war, scenes for two motion pictures were shot at MacDill. Spencer Tracy's, "A Guy Named Joe," and Jimmy Stewart's, "Strategic Air Command," both took advantage of Florida's year-round good weather and MacDill's photogenic military aircraft.

WACs Unit at MacDill in '43
A large contingent of the newly created Women's Air Corps was stationed at MacDill. The WACs were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.

Lisbon Avenue, Vera Avenue, Southeast Air Base
MacDill Avenue, Dale Mabry Highway, MacDill AFB

Tampa's Other World War II Airfields
1942: Drew Field → Today: Tampa International Airport
1942: Hillsborough Army Air Field → Today: Busch Gardens
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 11:29am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17R E 356497 N 3092006
Decimal Degrees27.94536667, -82.45868333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 27° 56.722', W 82° 27.521'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds27° 56' 43.32" N, 82° 27' 31.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)813, 727, 305, 863
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 122-156 N Ashley Dr, Tampa FL 33602, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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