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Bradley Field World War II Activities, 1942-1945
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On January 23, 1941, Governor Robert A. Hurley sent a proposal to the Connecticut General Assembly requesting the state buy land to lease to the United States Army for an air base. The U.S. Army had earlier indicated to state officials that it wished to have a base for fighter planes in or near Connecticut as part of the nation's defensive grid though the attack on Pearl Harbor had not yet occurred. In response, the state acquired 1,700 acres most of which was then a tobacco plantation. The tract was purchased and then leased to the federal government for $1.00 a year for twenty-five years. The field, which at the time was named the Windsor Locks Army Air Base, became ready for airmen and troops early in the summer of 1941.


The air base was later officially renamed "Army Air Base, Bradley Field, Connecticut," on January 20, 1942, but more familiarly called Bradley Field in honor of Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant Eugene M. Bradley. Lt. Bradley's P-40 fighter plane crashed after he went into a routine dive during training and failed to come out on August 21, 1941. Bradley hailed from Pushmataha County (according to multiple sources either Antlers or Dela) in Oklahoma, and arrived at the air base three days before his fatal accident. He was the first of many pilots to die in training accidents at the field.


This collection of 217 black and white photographs was presented to the State of Connecticut by the public relations officer from Bradley Field at the end of the war and is a representative survey of the aspects of military life and training on the base from 1942 to 1945. All the photos are numbered, identified, and stamped "Official U.S. Army Air Corps photo" on back. Activities represented include, among others, the Sixth War Loan drive, an open house for the public, redeployment, multiple training exercises, the training of Chinese fighter pilots, day-to-day life, and medal presentations to servicemen or the families of those missing in action.


Acknowledgements


David Vrooman, a MLS student at Southern Connecticut State University, completed the scanning and metadata for this digital collection.



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