C-47 "Ride-Along"

WWIIADT

"Airborne Experience"

We are now able to offer a new "ride-along" Airborne experience. Individuals will be allowed to go "Airborne" along with jump team members on a C47 flight.  Hear and feel what it's like to ride in a WWII vintage aircraft and watch the troops dressed in WWII uniforms and equipment "Stand Up & hook Up".

To learn more about this opportunity contact us at: operations_@_wwiiadt.org


  

 

FREDERICK ARMY AIRFIELD

 

Frederick, Oklahoma is the Headquarters and base of operations for the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team. Located in the south west of the state, Frederick is steeped in history, and this small rural community boasts many unusual claims to fame.

 

Established in 1902, because of the railroad expansion in the region, Frederick was visited by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 while on a wolf hunt. Thus began a relationship between the town and the president which was cemented when, in 1910, two brothers, Bud and Temple Abernathy aged 6 and 10 years, set out from Frederick on horseback to greet President Roosevelt in New York City, on his return from a safari in Africa. While in New York City, the two brothers purchased a Brush car and drove it home. Not content with this, in 1911, the two brothers once again set out on an adventure, riding on horseback from New York City across America to San Francisco, making the journey in 62 days. At the time this was a record for the journey. The boys were aged were 7 and 11 years.

Work began on the development of what was to become Frederick Army Airfield in 1942 as the US Army Air Force began one of the most amazing expansions in military history.  Until then, Frederick was a sleepy little town in rural Oklahoma, where wheat and cotton grew in abundance, waiving in the gentle breeze. Who would have believed that only 12 months later, over 1,400 acres of land would be covered with tar, wood, steel and concrete and a fully operational training base established.

 Frederick Army Airfield was officially activated on September 23rd, 1942 when Colonel Robert B Davenport left his post as Director of Training at the basic flying school at Enid, Oklahoma and placed in command. By this time the wheat and cotton had been cleared away, but the site was only a shadow of what it was to become, as only a handful of tar paper huts cover the red Oklahoma earth.

However, within a few months one of the newest advanced flying schools in the Central Flying Training Center would be eked out of that red earth and a facility that would train airmen as crew members on Flying Fortresses, Liberators, Marauders, Mitchells and Havocs would be developed. As the year 1942 came to and end new road and buildings were evident everywhere and the vast runway was near completion and January 15th, 1943 would see the first plane land at Frederick Army Airfield.

As work was completed on many projects around the facility and military personnel poured onto the base, in February 1943, the Allied Engineering Company completed its work and withdrew from the base. The base commander was delighted when on April 23rd, 1943 the first consignment of cadets arrived to commence their final nine weeks of training before receiving their silver wings. By this time the base had expanded in size and the facilities that any small town would require were on site, with more yet to come.

Base Chapel

Wedding at Base Chapel

Buildings were established where cadets would undertake their military training in flying instruction as well as navigation, engineering, maintenance, weather prediction, photography, radio operation and signals. Facilities also included many support services like hospital, guard house, quartermaster and even a theater for those relaxation hours.

Post Theater

Dance with local girls

Every single aspect of each cadetís care and welfare had to be created from scratch. Be it barracks for them to sleep in, the laundry to wash their clothes or the mess hall to feed their hungry appetites, Frederick Army Airfield had it on site or it was in the process of being built.

 

Post Mess Hall

Graduation of the first class of cadets took place on June 26th, 1943, when a proud commander saw the culmination of many months hard work as Officers and enlisted men marked the end of this phase of the development of this phase of the nationís training program. A phase in which Frederick Army Air Field was to play an important part. So it came as no surprise to the commander when on July 18th 1943, Frederick Army Airfield held its first ďOpen HouseĒ and some 20,000 inquisitive civilian visitors poured through the field gates to inspect the facility and left offering loud praise for this new part of the nationís defense.

 

Review of Cadets

So, Frederick Army Airfield would take its rightful place, alongside more established Army Airfields, producing the type of highly trained men that were needed on the battlefront. Its graduates would take up that challenge thrown down by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and by their Axis allies in Europe and the skill of Frederick Army Airfield would be reflected with every victory supported by its cadets.