“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Lubbock in Lubbock County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

South Plains Army Air Field

South Plains Army Air Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin Hoch, March 28, 2011
1. South Plains Army Air Field Marker
Inscription. During World War II, nine preliminary and advanced military glider pilot training fields operated in Texas; one of the most prominent sites was located here. The U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) leased Lubbock Municipal Airport, and with help from the City of Lubbock expanded it for glider training. Opened in October 1942, the site was initially named South Plains Army Flying School, and later renamed South Plains Army Air Field (SPAAF).

The mission of SPAAF was ground and advanced flight training for glider pilots who flew the "Waco CG-4A" glider--the USAAF's primary glider during the war. During its tenure, SPAAF trained nearly 80% of America's combat glider pilots who served in major operations, such as Market Garden (invasion of the Netherlands), Varsity (invasion of Germany) and Overlord (the "D-Day" allied invasion of Normandy, France). SPAAF closed on April 1, 1945, more than a month before victory in Europe was declared. Designated surplus, the site was transferred to the War Assets Administration in December 1947. In 1949 the airfield returned to the City of Lubbock for Municipal use, and in 1950 the city built a modern air terminal.

Regional combat glider training facilities -- located in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains -- were vital components of U.S. military force projection capability during the war. In addition, the creation and maintenance of these bases contributed significantly to local economies during the war. In 1971, former glider pilots formed the National World War II Glider Pilots Association, Inc., providing the framework for the preservation of the history of the U.S. combat glider program. Today, a key element in telling this story is the Silent Wings Museum, moved to this site and opened in October 2002.
Erected 2010 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16427.)
Location. 33° 39.462′ N, 101° 49.909′ W. Marker is near Lubbock, Texas, in Lubbock County. Marker is on North Cedar Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Located directly in front of the Silent Wings Museum which is located on the western edge of the Lubbock airport. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6202 North I-27, Lubbock TX 79403, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Austin Brothers Bridge (approx. 3.9 miles away); Landwer/Manicapelli Home (approx. 4 miles away); Prairie Dog Town (approx. 4.1 miles away); Buddy Holly (approx. 4.9 miles away but has been reported missing); A Tribute to Cotton (approx. 5.1 miles away); Colonel T. S. Lubbock / Texas in the Civil War (approx. 5.1 miles away); First Methodist Church of Lubbock (approx. 5.2 miles away); Lubbock Women's Club (approx. 5.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lubbock.
Categories. Air & SpaceWar, World II
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 3, 2012, by Kevin Hoch of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This page has been viewed 354 times since then and 31 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on February 3, 2012, by Kevin Hoch of Tulsa, Oklahoma. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A photo of the marker and the surrounding area in context. • Can you help?
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