TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
 
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Texas | Feature | Aviation

Marfa Army Air Field
and Fort D. A. Russell


Marfa, Texas

Brite Building in Marfa Texas The Marfa National Bank (in the Brite Building) once served as Headquarters for the Marfa Army Air Field (1942)
TE photo

Besides being used as a locale for the movie Giant, and other films, Marfa also served as a base for military aviation when they were still using biplanes. Known as Marfa Army Air Field, they built it in early 1942 and graduated their first pilots on the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Marfa almost had a pass to skate through the depression with the economic bedrock of having a Cavalry Post stationed there (the 1st Cavalry Regiment). Airplanes though, proved more effective at patrolling the border, and so Fort D. A. Russell (formerly Camp Marfa) was closed in 1933. It was reactivated for a few years by other than Cavalry units and then during WWII it housed WACs, several Chemical Battalions and a large German Prisoner of War Camp.

After the war it was deactivated permanently in 1946 and the buildings were sold or incorporated into the present-day city in 1949.

Recommended reading

Wings Over the Mexican Border:
Pioneer Military Aviation in the Big Bend

by Kenneth Baxter Ragsdale
U of Texas Press, 1984
This is an excellent history of the fledgling air corps when they flew in and out of Johnson's Ranch while they monitored the Mexican Revolution and possible incursions across the border. Planes were sometimes filled from a drum on the back of Mr. Johnson's truck. Mr. Ragsdale tells us in this book that the first "dogfight" in history took place in Mexican skies with two American mercenary pilots (working for opposite sides) shooting at one another with pistols.

If you're fortunate enough to live in Marfa, Librarian Esther Sanchez says the book is available at the Marfa Library (915-729-4631). Michelle at the Marfa Book Company says that they usually keep two copies on hand (105 S. Highland).

See Marfa, Texas
More WWII | Texas Books

 

 


Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Go to Home Page »
TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
Texas Counties
Texas Towns A-Z
Texas Ghost Towns

TEXAS REGIONS:
Central Texas North
Central Texas South
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Panhandle
Texas Hill Country
East Texas
South Texas
West Texas

Courthouses
Jails
Churches
Schoolhouses
Bridges
Theaters
Depots
Rooms with a Past
Monuments
Statues

Gas Stations
Post Offices
Museums
Water Towers
Grain Elevators
Cotton Gins
Lodges
Stores
Banks

Vintage Photos
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
Old Neon
Ghost Signs
Signs
Murals
Gargoyles
Pitted Dates
Cornerstones
Then & Now

Columns: History/Opinion
Texas History
Small Town Sagas
Black History
WWII
Texas Centennial
Ghosts
People
Animals
Food
Music
Art

Books
Cotton
Texas Railroads

Texas Trips
Texas Drives
Texas State Parks
Texas Rivers
Texas Lakes
Texas Forts
Texas Trails
Texas Maps
USA
MEXICO
HOTELS

Site Map
About Us
Privacy Statement
Disclaimer
Contributors
Staff
Contact Us

 
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved