Garner Army Air Field

By: Ruben E. Ochoa

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1995

Garner Army Air Field covered a 750-acre tract in the eastern corner of Uvalde, Uvalde County. The field was named after John Nance Garner and was utilized by the Army Air Force Contact Pilot School during World War II. In March 1941 Uvalde passed a city bond election to purchase 575 acres for the proposed airfield. Federal approval for construction of the base came in July 1941. At its peak 125 instructors and 250 support staff handled operations. The first cadet class began training in January 1942 after having completed a five-week orientation session at Kelly Air Field in San Antonio. The base was deactivated in June 1945. The Uvalde City Council prevailed upon the federal government to deed the facility to Uvalde for use as a municipal airport. Uvalde Independent School District purchased ten one-story buildings from the base for Southwest Texas Junior College.

In the late 1940s four hangars, a control tower, and several runways were converted to accommodate a flight-training operation under Julian Dart and use by Trans-Texas Airlines. In the 1950s a company run by Chester Nielson used one of the hangars to transform World War II aircraft into civilian aircraft. Another company operated a school for auto mechanics and body work on the site. In the 1960s Art McKinley managed an airport flying school and charter service. The Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company operated a garment factory there.

Although many of the airfield's buildings were designed for temporary use, the stucco buildings and much of the original landscaping maintained their original appearance for over thirty years. The original airfield academic building, hospital pumphouse, and swimming pool were renovated by Southwest Texas Junior College.

A Proud Heritage: A History of Uvalde County (Uvalde, Texas: El Progreso Club, 1975).

Time Periods:

  • World War II

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

Ruben E. Ochoa, “Garner Army Air Field,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 27, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995