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Godman Army Airfield

Godman Army Airfield can accommodate many types of civilian and military aircraft and is also the site for the the United States Air Force's 18th Weather Squadron.

Management of the Henslow's sparrow becomes a matter of protecting existing patches of habitat, which implies knowledge of the location of such patches. Although there are many grassy areas on Fort Knox, the only area previously known to be suitable habitat was near the Godman Army Airfield.

In 1938 the 12th Observation Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps was stationed at Godman Field. In 1942 the newly activated 73rd Observation Group, later to become the 10th Recce Group and Wing, was organized at Godman Field. The 7th Special Operations Squadron traces its lineage to the 27th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron which was originally constituted as the 27th Observation Squadron on 1 July 1942 and activated on 17 July 1942 at Godman Field, KY. Tasked with aerial support for training ground forces, it was redesignated as the 27th Reconnaissance Squadron [Fighter] on 2 April 1943.

Prior to World War II the Army Air Corps) reflected the biases of American society; there were few blacks in service, and segregation was the norm. The Air Corps established segregated pilot training at Tuskegee, AL. On January 15, 1944, the 477th Bombardment Group, a black unit, was formally activated, and began its training at Selfridge Field, Michigan. Afraid that black "agitators" in the Detroit area might incite trouble with the Selfridge Field airmen (race riots had broken out in the city in June 1943), the AAF moved the 477th bombardment group to Godman Field on 5 May 1944.

Godman Field was completely inadequate for the 477th -- Selfridge air field had four times more hanger space the Godman, seven times the acreage, five times the aviation gasoline capacity, more runways, and better flying weather. More to the point, Godman could not house the entire group at one time because it had inadequate apron and hanger space. At the new airfield, black officers were able to enjoy full use of the officers' club. Racial relations, however, were not as promising. While blacks used the officers' club at Godman, their white supervisors used the facilities at the segregated Fort Knox.

On March 1, 1945, the 477th moved from Godman to Indiana's Freeman Field to receive bomber training. There were two separate (but equal) officers' clubs there, one for [white] supervisors and trainers, and one for [black] trainees. Approximately sixty officers from the all-black 477th Bombardment Group at Freeman Field, were arrested on April 3, 1945, when they attempted to enter the white officers club. After the dust had settled, three officers--Roger C. Terry and Marsden A. Thompson, both of Los Angeles, and Shirley R. Clinton of Camden, N.J.--faced a court-martial, and approximately 100 men from the air group (including future Detroit Mayor Coleman Young) were jailed at Godman Field in Kentucky. The War Department stepped in and directed that all but three be freed -- 58 were released at Freeman; 101 at Godman.

In late May 1945, General Arnold replaced all White officers in the 477th with Blacks commanded by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Plans were written to send the unit, now a composite Group of B-25s and fighters located at Godman Field, Kentucky, to the Pacific to fight in the war against Japan. The 477th never had the opportunity to prove itself in combat, as the group was still at Godman Field when the Japanese surrendered to the Allies on Aug. 14, 1945.

The Kentucky Air National Guard was assigned 25 P-51 Mustangs in May 1947. The unit's aircrews rapidly attained a high level of combat readiness, and just two years later, the wing earned its first Spaatz Tropy, an award given each year to the premier Air Guard flying unit.

In the early afternoon of 7 January 1948 the control tower crew at Godman Field reported a sighting of a bright disc-shaped object to their base operations officer. Approximately one hour and twenty minutes after the sighting, when the object was still visible, four National Guard P-51 Mustang training craft led by Captain Thomas Mantell were diverted from their flight to investigate the sighting. The aircraft climbed toward the object. When the other planes turned back as they did not have the equipment required to supply oxygen which would enable them to fly higher, Mantell said he had the object in sight and was still climbing to investigate. His plane crashed, scattering wreckage and killing Mantell. Secret military "Skyhook" balloons were being launched from Clinton County AFB in southern Ohio, though this fact was classified at that time.

On October 10, 1950, during the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman placed the 123rd Fighter Group on active duty and moved the unit from Standiford Field to Godman Field at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The unit's P-51 Mustangs were ferried to the Far East, and several of the unit's pilots volunteered for combat duty over Korea.

The Joint Air/Aircraft Transportability Training, (JA/ATT), Air Detachment Exercise was conducted over a 72 hour period in July 2000 with no safety incidents. The mission included 60 Seabees, two C-130 aircraft, 6 pieces of CESE, and support from several Active Duty, DOD, Reserve, and Civilian commands. The aircraft manifests included 48 Seabees along with the Blazer and the 4KRT Forklift. The mission incorporated static and engine running on-loads and off-loads at Godman Field, Ft Knox, Red Stone Arsenal Field, Huntsville, AL, and Golden Eagle LZ at Ft Campbell.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:48:41 ZULU