The History of the Corsicana Air Field
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


Corsicana Airfield Index || WWII Index


In 1930 the United States Government began giving primary aviation training in civilian schools.  Air Activities, Inc. owned and operated by J. D. Reed in Houston, Texas, was selected for such training.  This school gave C. P. T. training, engaged in the sale of planes, and charter service.

Mr. Reed sold controlling interest in his school to a partnership, composed of B. L. Woolley, B. W. Woolley, E. D. Criddle, Edward F. (Doc) Booth, and J. O. Womack.  Doc Booth is a graduate of West Point, Brooks, and Kelly Field.  Mr. Womack is a commercial pilot, who operated a C. P. T. School at Marshall, Texas.  Mr. Womack is operating the C. P. T. of Air Activities, Inc. at Houston.

The new owners of the school began negotiating for a contract with the government throuth Randolph Field in August, 1940.  The negotiations consisted of agreing to meet all requirements of the government as to location, building, field, personnel, and maintenance.  B. W. Woolley, upon advice of Major Smart of Randolph Field, went to inspect other such fields, especially Cal-Aero in Ontario, California, operated by Major Mosley.  Stover Brothers, who built Cal-Aero, were engaged to build Air Activities of Texas School.

Corsicana was selected for the location after very careful consideration of many towns.  Plans were submitted to Randolph, and upon the recommendation of Randolphthe contract was signed in Dayton, Ohio, on December 13, 1940.  B. W. Woolley and E. D. Criddle were selected as Director and Assistant Director for the school.

Detailed plans and specifications were completed and actual building was begun on February 2, 1941.  Then followed forty-five days and nights of rain and mud.  Every load of lumber, steel, gravel, and cement was pushed to location by big tractors.  Two hundred fifty carpenters, painters, and laborers worked in water and mud knee deep so that the school could open on schedule March 17.  The first class of fifty-one cadets moved in on March 19.  Major O. E. Ford was assigned to the Corsicana Field as Supervisor and Commanding Officer.  With the valued assistance of Major Ford and Lieutenant Simmons eighteen flight instructors completed the instructors' course in time for the arrival of the cadets.

Mr. W. C. Calhoun became Flight Director and helped to organize the present department of flight instruction.

A fine staff of ground school instructors was organized with Mr. Eldon Holcomb as supervisor.

.... Contact Class 42-D - December 1941

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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox