Walterboro in Colleton County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Walterboro Army Airfield
" A network of army air fields, used for training purposes and available for grimmer duty should the need arise, is developing over the South. One of them, Anderson field... has brought the war home to Walterboro."
- The Press and Standard, 1942
Walterboro Army Air Field (WAAF) was activated on August 4, 1942 as a small, sub-base of Columbia Army Airbase. Like most modern military bases, WAAF formed its own small community. Men stationed at the base had access to a theater, chapel, hospital and fire station. The base also had numerous barracks for housing, a POW camp, camouflage school, ordnance storage and three runways.
"I was involved in some intense combat during my time as a flier... It's hard to believe that it all started right here in Walterboro."
-Major Howard J. Curran, retired, " WW II Fliers Recall Training at Air Base Here", The Press and Standard, April 12, 1984
Establishment of WAAF
" On the 13th of August, 1942, the 310th deserted the hot pyramid tents (of Columbia Army Air Base) and headed for Walterboro, S.C., some 75 miles away... We arrived at the new base... to find it not yet completed, but not too far from town... This was to be our new training base for entry into combat, for how long we did not know." -Frank B. Dean, Training: Columbia, SC," Here I Was", The GA Pilot
From daylight to dark the olive-drab, twin-engined, two tailed B-25 bombers roared down the runway and climbed into the sky while twin-radial engines, swinging propellers 13 feet across, bellowed and roared causing terrified chickens to fly in panic across the yards and milk cows to race bellowing across the pastures with their tails high in the air... Bombers 54 feet long and with a wing span of 68 feet flashed over roof tops scattering loose shingles into the yards. -Frank B. Dean, Walterboro Invasion, "Here I Was", The GA Pilot
Life on Base
Besides attending the base chapel or base theater, men serving at WAAF could join the base band, play on the base basketball and baseball teams, or even write columns on base activities for the local newspaper. There were also dances and games at the USO in downtown Walterboro. WAAF Base Chapel and Base Theater Opening Cover.
Walterboro Army Airfield closed at the end of World War II. Estimates indicate nearly 2,000 army personnel trained and served at WAAF including Tuskegee trainees, fighter and bomber groups, teachers, administrators, support technicians, and POWs. After closure, the base continued to be used by the people of Walterboro. The base hospital became the county hospital. Army buildings disappeared to be replaced by an industrial park, recreational park and high school. The airfield has remained a regional airport serving the entire Lowcountry.
( Right Pictures included:)
Fighter and Bomber Groups; Base Chapel; The Press and Standard, 1943;
(Bottom Pictures:) Ruins of Walterboro Army Air Field. Today little remains of the old air base except for concrete foundations peaking out of the undergrowth, glimpses of rusty metal in the woods and paved walks in the middle of empty fields. Photographs courtesy of Wesley Laney.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, World II.
Location. 32° 54.995′ N, 80° 38.27′ W. Marker is in Walterboro, South Carolina, in Colleton County. Marker is on Aviation Way near Lt. Col. Hiram Mann Driveway, on the right when traveling north. Located in the Airport Park off Rt Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Walterboro SC 29488, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Tuskegee Airmen (a few steps from this marker); The Tuskegee Airman of World War II (a few steps from this marker); Prisoner Of War Camp and Camouflage School (a few steps from this marker); Walterboro Army Air Field (a few steps from this marker); Anderson Field / Walterboro Army Air Field (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Walterboro Army Airfield (within shouting distance of this marker); The Beacon (within shouting distance of this marker); Bethel Presbyterian Church (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Walterboro.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 20, 2009, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,526 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 20, 2009, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.