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Venice in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Venice Army Air Base
 
Replica of the Venice Army Air Base Main Entrance Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 1, 2010
1. Replica of the Venice Army Air Base Main Entrance
 
Inscription. [Left (North) Side Marker]

This structure is a replica of the Venice Army Air Base main entrance originally located at the intersection of The Rialto and San Marco. The base history began in May 1942 when surveyors from the US Army landed at the Venice Municipal Downtown Airport to find a suitable site for a training facility for rear echelon maintenance service groups. Construction began in June 1942 in the area now bounded by US 41 on the east, San Marco Drive on the north, the Gulf of Mexico on the west and Lemon Bay on the south.

The original army personnel were the 37th Service Squadron of the 27th Service group, followed by HQ & HQ Squadron, 90th Service Squadron, 826th QM Co., 1728th and 1729th Ordnance Companies, 1063rd Signal Co., and 1095 QM Co.

Within a year a full fledged training facility was operational. The first combat aircraft arrived from the 13th Fighter Squadron 53rd Fighter Group for pilot training on June 7, 1943. The 14th Fighter Squadron soon followed. Pilot training began with the P-39, followed by P-40, P-47 and finally the famous P-51 Mustang fighters.

[Right (South) Side Marker]

On January 3, 1944, the Venice Army Air Base command was transferred from Air Service Command to the Third Air Force. At the peak of training, the facility housed
 
Venice Army Air Base Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 1, 2010
2. Venice Army Air Base Marker
View of historical marker that is on the left (north) side of the gate.
 
6,000 men, with an estimated total of 20,000 men being trained at the base. A total of nine groups were trained, included the all-Chinese 14th Service Group formed at the request of Madam Chiang Kai-Shek.

With the war over, the base was closed in 1945. The property was deeded to the City of Venice in 1947, including the runways, sewage plant, hangers and much machinery and equipment.

The immediate impact of the Venice Army Air Base on the City of Venice and the area is obvious, but the long term impact is even more important. Many of the men stationed at the base returned after the war to begin their new lives and some became the civic leaders who guided Venice through the 1950s and 1960s.

 
Location. 27° 5.996′ N, 82° 27.472′ W. Marker is in Venice, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker is on Venice Avenue west of Armada Road, in the median. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 731 Venice Avenue, Venice FL 34285, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Calusa and Seminole Peoples (within shouting distance of this marker); 1926 Article From "Venice News" (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pioneer Court (approx. 0.3 miles away); Welcome to Heritage Court / Fred H. Albee, M.D. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lord - Higel House Restoration Project (approx. 0.4 miles away); Venice Apartment District (approx. 0.4 miles away); Venice (approx. 0.6 miles away); Kentucky Military Institute (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Venice.
 
Venice Army Air Base Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 1, 2010
3. Venice Army Air Base Marker
View of historical marker that is on the right (south) side of the gate.
 
 
Venice Army Air Base Markers Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 1, 2010
4. Venice Army Air Base Markers
View of historical markers looking along the east bound lanes of Venice Avenue.
 
 
Replica of the Venice Army Air Base Main Entrance Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 1, 2010
5. Replica of the Venice Army Air Base Main Entrance
View looking west, through the backside of the replica of the Venice Army Air Base Main Entrance, towards the Venice Beach which is less than a block away.
 
 
Mural Showing Venice Army Air Base Entrance Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 1, 2010
6. Mural Showing Venice Army Air Base Entrance
View of a mural, entitled "Venice Remembrances," that is located on the east side of a building near the intersection of Venice Avenue and American Legion Way. The mural faces the intracoastal waterway and is situated along a Venice walkway.
 
 
Venice Army Air Base Entrance Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 4, 2010
7. Venice Army Air Base Entrance
View of the modern day intersection where the Venice Army Air Base Entrance was originally located during World War II.
 
 
Venice Army Air Base Entrance Photo, Click for full size
By Dale K. Benington, July 4, 2010
8. Venice Army Air Base Entrance
View of the original location of the Venice Army Air Base Entrance.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on July 3, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 886 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 3, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.   7, 8. submitted on July 6, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.
 
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