VICTORY FIELD. Victory Field, a World War II United States Army Air Force base at Vernon, was established on July 14, 1941, and named by Ed Ritchey, who operated a commercial flying service near Fort Worth. The base was set up for primary flight training. After the signing and ratification of the contract by the commanding general of the Gulf Coast Air Corps Training Center, the base was opened with a hangar, twenty-five aircraft, and thirty-five instructors. By October 1941 forty-eight cadets had arrived to begin training. They were housed at the Wilbarger Hotel in Vernon until the barracks were completed. At its peak Victory Field had 122 instructors, 175 aircraft, and 400 cadets for each class. Col. Bob Arnold and majors James M. Johnson and Leland C. Shubert served successively as commanding officers before the base was deactivated in October 1944 because of the glut of air force pilots. In 1950 the buildings were converted into a rest home for aged patients from Wichita Falls State Hospital. This geriatric facility, originally known as the Vernon Branch, later became known as the Vernon Center South. Later on, the complex was taken over by Vernon State Hospital, which converted it into its Drug Treatment Unit.
Wilbarger County Historical Commission, Wilbarger County (Lubbock, 1986).