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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Vancouver in Clark County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941)

 
 
The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
1. The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) Marker
Inscription. Although the U.S. Army allowed civilian aircraft to land at Vancouver Barracks beginning in 1905, military aircraft began operating here in 1921, when the U.S. Army Air Service established a landing field for an aviation forest patrol. The patrol was a cooperative forest fire spotting effort by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Forest Service. Two years later, the 321st Observation Squadron arrived at Vancouver Barracks, with three biplanes initially stationed at the field.

The 321st was a reserve training unit which participated in war games and reconnaissance operations, and even mobilized for emergency crop dusting in Oregon when apple orchards were faced with infestation.

Improvements in the form of hangars and the grading of the grass field occurred from 1924-1926, under the supervision of famed aviator Lt. Oakley Kelly. In September, 1925, the field was dedicated as Pearson Field, in honor of Lt. Alexander Pearson, Jr., an Army aviator who had been killed in 1924.

The 321st continued training operations into the 1930s, and was called to active duty in December, 1941, after which military flight operations were curtailed at Pearson Field.
 
Erected by Vancouver National Historic Reserve.
 
Location. 45° 37.45′ 
The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
2. The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) Marker
N, 122° 39.437′ W. Marker is in Vancouver, Washington, in Clark County. Marker is on E. 5th Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at the Pearson Air Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1115 E 5th St.,, Vancouver WA 98661, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Howard C. French / Alexander Pearson (a few steps from this marker); The Chkalov Transpolar Flight (a few steps from this marker); The Soviet Transpolar Flight of 1937 (a few steps from this marker); Carlton Foster Bond (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Aviation History in Vancouver (within shouting distance of this marker); First Japanese on the North American Continent (approx. 0.2 miles away); Whose Anchor? (approx. 0.2 miles away); U. S. Grant Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vancouver.
 
More about this marker. The background picture is, "A lineup of the 321st Observation Squadron’s Curtiss JN-4 “Jennies,” taken at Pearson Field in the early 1920s." The photo is provided for the marker courtesy of Pearson Air Museum.
 
Also see . . .
1. Pearson Field: Washington's Pioneer Airport. "Vancouver’s Pearson Field is one of the nation’s oldest operating airfields."
The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
3. The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) Marker
Pearson field was named for Lt. Alexander Pearson, Jr., who was raised in Eugene, Oregon and was a graduate of the University of Oregon. Pearson was one of the most famous Army Air Service pilots of the 1920s, held several speed and distance records, and was the first pilot to fly into the Grand Canyon. Pearson was killed on September 3, 1924, while testing a new aircraft in preparation for a race. Courtesy of Pearson Air Museum.
(Submitted on June 19, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

2. Pearson Field, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. "...a historically significant center of aviation in the Pacific Northwest." (Submitted on June 19, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

3. Pearson Field. "The first airplane flight was in 1911 at what was then known as the 'polo grounds' of Vancouver Barracks." (Submitted on June 19, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Air & SpaceMilitary
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 19, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,266 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 19, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
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