Sahuarita Air Force Range

The Sahuarita Air Force Range, also known as the Sahuarita Bombing & Gunnery Range, was built just east of Sahuarita, Arizona, in 1942. It was used for the training of bombardiers, aerial gunners, anti-aircraft gunners, and others during World War II and the Korean War. The abandoned Sahuarita Flight Strip is located in the southwestern corner of the range, and was used as an emergency flight strip until 1978. Before deactivation, the airspace over the range was protected by its own restricted area, R-310.[1][2][3]

History

The range was completed by April 1942, shortly after the United States joined in the war, and was called the Sahuarita Bombing & Gunnery Range. It was located approximately twenty miles southeast of Tucson and about two miles east of Sahuarita. The range itself spanned 27,045-acres and consisted of multiple large round targets made of stone. Most of the range was located east of the town, although some areas that are now part of Sahuarita's northern end were also used. The Sahuarita Flight Strip wasn't opened until 1943. Before that time, the air crewmen who used the facility were flying out of Davis-Monthan Army Airfield. The Sahuarita airfield had twelve buildings and other structures, observation towers, a 5,540-foot paved runway, utility lines, and a range for radio-controlled aircraft operations.[1][2][3]

After World War II ended, the range was closed, but in 1950 it was reopened again and renamed the Sahuarita Air Force Range. Most of those who used the range at this time were bomber crews flying out of Carswell Air Force Base in Texas. After the Korean War, the Strategic Air Command kept the airfield in service as an emergency flight strip, even though it was "dangerously close" to the targets used for training. In 1978, the range was finally closed when the federal government released the lands to the public. The land is now owned by the State of Arizona, which has leased most of it to a cattle rancher. It was noted that in 1978, 2,550 acres of the range were cleared of explosive ordnance.[1][2][3]

As of today, a school and a park occupy the site of the airfield, although most of the flight strip remains intact. There have been "only a few" bombs found on the range over the years, as well as other objects that resemble bombs, but most of the bombs dropped by the military were actually "dummies," which were filled with sand. However, officials from the Army Corps of Engineers say that there is still a chance that unexploded ordnance remains buried in the ground. Lloyd Godard, a project manager with the Corps of Engineers' Los Angeles regional office, said: "On any bombing range, there's always a chance that things could have gone under the surface... High explosives were used on one of the Sahuarita range target areas."[2][3]

Gallery

See also

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.