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Location: /Squadron Patches/Army Air Force Squadrons/AAF units, Non-Numerical

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

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

Product Information
WWII US Army Air Force Squadron Patch
US AAF
USAAF  Flexible Gunnery School, Kingman Army Air Field, Kingman, AZ
Looney Tunes Design - Bugs Bunny leaning against a cactus firing a machine gun
~6.25 inches



Training future pilots for Fighter Fighting Bomb Bombing Bomber Bombardment squadrons.

History
The Kingman Airport was originally built as a World War II United States Army Air Force training field. The Kingman Army Airfield was founded at the beginning of WW II as an Aerial Gunnery Training Base. It was one of the Army Air Corps largest, training some 35,000 individuals. The airfield and Kingman played a significant role in this important era of America's history. The site for a U. S. Army Air Force gunnery school  in northwestern Arizona was chosen late in 1941 and construction began mid-1942. Military operations officially began a few months later and classes for eager students were started in early 1943.

There were peripheral training operations carried out during KAAF's short 3-year lifespan, but it's main focus was that of training flexible aerial gunners: men who physically operated the bomber's loose machine guns or power operated turrets such as the Bendix models, the Consolidateds, the Emerson, the Martin, as well as the upper and lower Sperrys.  Students by the tens of thousands streamed through Kingman and shortly after their sergeant-gunner wings were pinned on at graduation, they were sent to various combat theaters where .50 caliber bullets started spitting from hot barrels.

Kingman's Faithfull Mascot was Bugs Bunny.
With sanction from Warner Brothers, Bugs Bunny was adopted as the official base mascot. The poster of Bugs with fierce countenance, and armed to the teeth for war, was displayed in a most prominent location on the base.

On May 7,1943, the facility was officially named the Kingman Army Air Field. The base continued to grow and change during 1943. Many new squadrons were added to the base and some of the existing ones were combined. The 1120th and the 329th merged with the 328th to become the 328th Flexible Gunnery Training Group.  The 1122nd, 537th, and 538th were consolidated to form the 1123rd Flexible Gunnery Training Group. The 1121st became the 329th. The 536th and the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Groups were added to the list. Also assigned to the B17 fighting groups was the 31st altitude squadron, training for operations at high altitude.


At the end of World War Two, the War Assets Administration came to KAAF to set up Sales & Storage Depot 41. Depot 41 was to sell of the base buildings and equipment. Not only that, it would store aircraft from the Army Air Force. Some 5634 aircraft were melted down into ingots. After the Depot 41 did it’s job, the airfield was turned over to Mohave County to be used as an airport for the county.

Wartime Aircraft Gunnery School
In 1942 Kingman Army Airfield was established as a training base for Army Air Force aerial gunners. In addition to the main facility several emergency strips were built. There was one at Red Lake, about 17 miles (27 km) northeast of the base. Others were built near Topock and Yucca. Another was built at what is now Lake Havasu City Airport.

The host unit at Kingman Field was the 460th AAF Base Unit. Training units were as follows:
    * 1120th Flexible Gunnery Training
    * 1121st Flexible Gunnery Training
    * 1122d Flexible Gunnery Training
    * 1123rd Flexible Gunnery Training
    *    334th Aviation Squadron

On 7 May 1943 the facility was officially named the Kingman Army Air Field. The base continued to grow and change with many new squadrons being added to the base and some of the existing ones combined.

The 1120th and the 329th merged with the 328th to become the 328th Flexible Gunnery Training Group. The 1122nd, 537th, and 538th were consolidated to form the 1123rd Flexible Gunnery Training Group. The 1121st became the 329th. The 536th and the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Groups were added to the list. Also assigned to the B17 fighting groups was the 31st Altitude Squadron, training for operations at high altitude.

On 22 April 1944 the Kingman Army Air Field was consolidated and the host unit was redesignated as the 3018th Army Air Force Base Unit. Each of the units on the base became subdivisions of 3018th. During 1944 the 3018th was one of the top training schools in the United States.

The war ended on both fronts in 1945. With peace in the world there was no further need for a gunnery school - or for the airplanes that carried the guns. That year saw the base gradually wind down to a stop.

WASP
KINGMAN ARMY AIR BASE  -- KINGMAN, ARIZONA
WASP flew B-26's at this flexible gunnery school.


1102 WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) were stationed at 120 air bases and flew 60 million miles in every type military aircraft in the Army Air Force inventory, from the fastest fighters to the heaviest bombers. They towed targets for air-to-air gunnery and air-to-ground anti-aircraft practice, ferried aircraft, were instrument instructors for male pilots, flew weather, night tracking, simulated strafing and radar navigation missions, transported personnel and cargo and flew drones. They flew every type mission that any Army Air Force pilot flew except combat  missions.

World War II aircraft disposal
After the war the Reconstruction Finance Corporation established five large storage, sales and scrapping centers for Army Air Forces aircraft. These were located at: Albuquerque AAF, New Mexico, Altus AAF, Oklahoma, Kingman, Arizona, Ontario AAF, California and Walnut Ridge AAF, Arkansas. A sixth facility for storing, selling and scrapping Navy and Marine aircraft was located at Clinton, Oklahoma.

Estimates of the number of excess surplus airplanes ran as high as 150,000. Consideration was given to storing a substantial number of these. By the summer of 1945, at least 30 sales-storage depots and 23 sales centers were in operation. In November 1945, it was estimated a total of 117,210 aircraft would be transferred as surplus. Between 1945 and June 1947, the RFC, War Assets Corporation and the War Assets Administration (disposal function of the RFC was transferred to WAC on January 15, 1946, and to the WAA in March 1946) processed approximately 61,600 WWII aircraft, of which 34,700 were sold for flyable purposes and 26,900, primarily combat types, were sold for scrapping. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 warbirds were flown to Kingman in 1945 and 1946 for storage and sale. Some sources report the number to be over 11,000. It is reported that at least 100 of the 118 B-32 Heavy Bombers built were flown there, many straight from the assembly line.  Most of the transports and trainers could be used in the civilian fleet, and trainers were sold for $875 to $2,400. The fighters and bombers were of little peacetime use, although some were sold. Typical prices for surplus aircraft were:
    * BT-13 $450
    * P-38 $1,250
    * AT-6 $1,500
    * A-26 $2,000
    * P-51 $3,500
    * B-25 $8,250
    * B-17 $13,750
    * B-24 $13,750
    * B-32 $32,500
Many aircraft were transferred to schools for educational purposes, and to communities for memorial use for a minimal fee. A Boy Scout troop bought a B-17 for $350. General sales were conducted from these centers; however, the idea for long term storage, considering the approximate cost of $20 per month per aircraft, was soon discarded, and in June 1946, the remaining aircraft, except those at Altus, were put up for scrap bid. The tens of thousands of warbirds that had survived the enemy fighter planes and fierce anti-aircraft fire ended up at Albuquerque, Altus, Kingman, Ontario, Walnut Ridge and Clinton.


Kingman Airport and Industrial Park
With the disposal of the military aircraft completed, Kingman AAF was returned to civilian use in 1949. It was developed into a civil airport and industrial park. Today, some civilian airliners are stored there and remarketed or recycled into spare parts and into their base metals. The Kingman Army Airfield Historical Society was also established, creating a museum to preserve the field's history with artifacts, photos, and displays. It also includes recognition of all conflicts in which Americans have served. Kingman Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport located eight nautical miles (15 km) northeast of the central business district of Kingman, a city in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. It has scheduled service provided by one commercial airline, which is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. A number of aircraft withdrawn from commercial service are stored or scrapped there. Kingman Airport covers an area of 4,200 acres (1,700 ha) at an elevation of 3,449 feet (1,051 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 3/21 is 6,827 by 150 feet (2,081 x 46 m) and 17/35 is 6,725 by 75 feet (2,050 x 23 m).

Price: $150.00


Product Code: PatchAAF.0000.FlexibleGunnerySchool.KingmanArmyAirField.King
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