The Army Air Base was opened as a military installation on June 18, 1942. It was the first base to be fully camouflaged and built on a dispersed plan, and at present is the largest base under the First Air Force. The Byrd Airport, which is the municipal airport for the city of Richmond, is included in the reservation in its original location which it occupied before construction began. The Army Air Base is situated on consecrated soil eight miles east of the historic city of Richmond. Some of the bloodiest battles of the War between the States were fought on the ground now occupied by the Base, as all of this territory was the scene of the Battle of Seven Pines.