Field paper – BOMBS AWAY!; first published on February 4th, 1943.
THE VICTORVIllE ARMY FLYING SCHOOL is a twentieth-century miracle.
A for flung and orderly community set on a stage in the arid land of the great American southwest.
The site comprises approximately 2,200 acres in the Victor Valley-an important doorway to the Mojave desert, and the
eastern tip of the once-fabled Antelope Valley.
A valley that was once an ocean floor twelve million years ago.
Above mountains gulled and pock-marked
with the evidence of man’s scramble for
wealth-ideal flying conditions had · long identified the Mojave desert as one of the giant needs in the expansion of our Army
Thus, VAFS became a major project in San Bernardino -the world’s largest county.
At a simple ceremony, July 12, 194′, formally launching initial construction – the Army Engineering Corps turned the first
shovelful of forgotten earth, and unwittingly gave the desert the first taste of man’mechanical · recklessness with its long-mysterious
A few coyotes gave out their last remorseful yap from the high mesa, and followed the brief trail of lizards and rattlers to their
narrowing countryside. Big shovels and bulldozers plowed through the flowing contour of sand and brush.
The uprooted scrub desert growth whisked the last gophers and
jackrabbits from their burrows.
VAFS wason its way. Huge excavating equipment and
trucks capable of hauling 35 yards of earth were brought into play; and by the following month, cuts and fills involving millions of yards of earth were all but complete.
Lines of poles flung their crossbeams to the sky, on which were strung miles of telephone and light wires.
Scrapers, tractors, graders, and ditch – digging machines
plowed through the soft earth. Long lines of neat foundations became visible along newly-paved streets.
Sub-structure, floors, bracing, studding, went up. Joists and rafters
were covered-wooden skeletons loomed into substantial buildings.
From the desert base, a party of surveyors
picked their way through rising and falling seas of greasewood where no roads existed -laying out gigantic ” bull’s eyes” for bombardiers
who would follow the open road of the sky to their targets.
Subsequent expansion of practice-bombing facilities were to
include scores of the huge circles.
The hard-baked bottoms of long dried lakes were converted into emergency landing fields-and later, the home of the gliders.
During the same period runways were being
poured at the rate of a quarter mile per
Operational buildings, hangars, hospitals, and chapels were built.
Since then Victorville Army Flying School
has sent hundreds of power pilots, bombardiers and glider pilots to combat duties overseas.
VAFS is teeming with life! Many think the field is here to stay. Universities and state planning board speak of the site
as a possible aerial freight depot to the Orient, in the bright future of American Aviation.
Great lines of silver birds line the ramp.
Tugs weave in and out. Planes pick their way down long runways. Behind the scenes men work and watch – and continue to
sharpen the edge of our air armada to razor
It is this working and training which we present to you in this pictorial
visit to Victorville Army Flying School.