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WWII Patch, AAF, AAF Flexible Gunnery School, Gila Bend Army Air Field, Gila Bend, AZ Bugs Bunny

WWII Patch, AAF, AAF Flexible Gunnery School, Gila Bend Army Air Field, Gila Bend, AZ  Bugs Bunny

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WWII US Army Air Force Squadron Patch
USAAF  Flexible Gunnery School, Gila Bend Army Air Field, Gila Bend, AZ
Looney Tunes Design - Bugs Bunny on a cloud holding a machine gun
5.5 inches

Training future air crews for Combat Fighter Fighting squadrons.

During World War II, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) established numerous airfields in Arizona for training pilots and aircrews of USAAF fighters and bombers. Most of these airfields were under the command of Fourth Air Force or the Army Air Forces Training Command (AAFTC) (A predecessor of the current-day United States Air Force Air Education and Training Command). However the other USAAF support commands (Air Technical Service Command (ATSC); Air Transport Command (ATC) or Troop Carrier Command) commanded a significant number of airfields in a support roles.

The Army Air Forces opened up air fields all over the state: Kingman, Thunderbird I, Thunderbird II, Falcon, Yuma, Marana, Claiborne (Wickenburg), Williams, Luke, Ryan, Davis-Monthan, Douglas, Ajo, and Gila Bend. Arizona bases and air fields served a variety of roles in World War II. Aircraft of all type were flown in Arizona's clear skies.  B-17, B-24, B-29, B-25, P-51, P-39, P-40, P-38, RP-322, AT-6, BT-13, PT-17, AT-17, AT-9, and AT-11
were some of the planes flown in AZ.  It is still possible to find remnants of these wartime airfields. Many were converted into municipal airports, some were returned to agriculture and several were retained as United States Air Force installations and were front-line bases during the Cold War. Hundreds of the temporary buildings that were used survive today, and are being used for other purposes.

Gila Bend Army Airfield
  Army Air Forces Training Command
      * Luke Army Airfield, Glendale - West Coast Training Center, 1941 - Western Flight Training Center
          Gila Bend Army Airfield, 3 miles southeast of Gila Bend - Sub-base of Luke Army Airfield
              492d Army Air Force Base Unit
              Now: Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field
           Secondary Facilities
                * Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield #1 (15 mi (24 km) southwest of Gila Bend)
                * Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield #2 (18 mi (29 km) south-southwest of Gila Bend)
                * Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield #3 (8 mi (13 km) west-southwest of Gila Bend)

The facility was opened in July 1942 when it was part of the Gila Bend Gunnery Range. During World War II it was under the command of the 492d (Reduced) Army Air Force Base Unit, AAF West Coast Training Center.  It served as the range headquarters for a massive bombing and gunnery range, now known as the Barry M. Goldwater Range, and for maintenance of the range and range targets. It remained an active Air Force facility until approximately 1995. It was also used as an auxiliary landing field. This activity is now supported by private contractors utilizing portions of the former facility. Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field is a United States Air Force auxiliary airfield used as an emergency landing facility by Luke Air Force Base aircraft and units from other nearby bases using the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range complex. The airfield is positioned three nautical miles (6 km) south of the central business district of Gila Bend, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. Located in the Sonoran Desert of southwest Arizona, Gila Bend sets on a desert plain that slopes gently downward toward the Gila River. There is no high terrain in the immediate vicinity of the base, however, the Gila mountains rise about 3200 feet above sea level twenty miles to the northwest and the Sand Tank mountains rise to 4000 feet twenty-five miles to the southeast. Lesser mountain chains are found in other directions from the base: the Maricopas at 2800 feet to the east, the Saucedas at 2700 feet to the south and the Painted Rocks at 2600 feet to the west. The majority of the land (2.8 million acres) used for range activi-ties is arid desert with cactus and scrub brush as the only vegetation. To the north of the base, oriented east to west, are numerous irrigated fields producing a variety of crops—cotton, grain, melons, citrus fruits and grapes. Additionally, to the west of the base is the Gila Feed yard where annually 75000 beef cattle are fattened prior to processing.

Entry onto the Goldwater Range requires the possession of an access permit. Applications, rules and regulations and other information regarding the access permit, and the permits themselves, may be obtained from the Air Force at Gila Bend Auxiliary Field, the Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, BLM Field Offices in Yuma and Phoenix and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo.

Price: $150.00

Product Code: PatchAAF.0000.FlexibleGunnerySchool.GilaBendArmyAirField.Gil
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