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CALL FIELD

CALL FIELD. Call Field, one of thirty-two United States Army Air Corps training camps established in 1918, was five miles southwest of Wichita Falls in Wichita County. It operated from 1917 until 1919. In 1916 the army announced its intention of establishing a series of camps to train prospective pilots. Frank Kell of Wichita Falls organized an effort to attract the army to the city. By August 17, 1917, Kell and others successfully raised $35,000 and had a commitment from the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad to extend tracks to the proposed site of the camp. On August 27 construction began. In November, when 85 percent of the work was completed, Maj. J. B. Brooks arrived to inspect the facilities. On November 10 he was named commander. On November 20 the first six army pilots arrived, and the field had 600 pilots by late December. On January 15 the army gave final approval of Call Field. The field was named for Loren H. Call, a native of Washington, D.C., who was killed in a plane crash near Texas City on July 9, 1913.

The training camp had forty-six buildings, which included twelve hangars that housed four to eight planes each, a hospital, and six barracks that held 175 men each. In May four additional hangars and a row of lofts to hold carrier pigeons were built. During its operation 3,000 officers, cadets, and enlisted men were stationed at Call Field, and 500 officers received their wings there. Two squadrons left the training facility for overseas duty. Thirty-four men lost their lives during training exercises, the smallest number of fatalities of any training center. After the war the training center closed. The last military personnel left on October 1, 1919.

In 1919 and 1920 Ernest Hall, a former instructor at Call Field, operated a flying school at the facility. The Wichita Polo Club briefly used a portion of the land for its polo field. In 1937 the Wichita Falls Junior Chamber of Commerce and American Legion erected a small marker near the gates of the old field in memory of the thirty-four men who were killed during training. For a number of years the site was the scene of memorial services by the Call Field Veterans Association. The name is perpetuated by a street named Call Field Road.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Louise Kelly, Wichita County Beginnings (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982).

David Minor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David Minor, "CALL FIELD," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qcc01), accessed August 27, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.