Birth of a Base: MacDill Field 1939-1941

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Birth of a Base: MacDill Field 1939-1941. By TSgt Bruce Lipowski, USAF (Ret.). Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, 2013. Tables. Illustrations. Photographs. Notes. Appendices. Bibliography. Pp. xix, 162. $25.95 paperback ISBN: 978-1-4817-2993-2

Sergeant Lipowski spent twentyyears in the Air Force as a combat cameraman not overly interested in the history of the bases at which he served until later in his career. During his final tour of duty at MacDill AFB Fla., the base commander decided he wanted pictures of all of the MacDill commanders for a display. Lipowski helped the local historian by going to the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. There, he ran across a report written by 2Lt. John Jones, the base's first historical officer, on the establishment of MacDill Field. This book is essentially a reprint of that report plus a well-researched selection of documentation and photos of MacDill as the base was developed. In addition to the documents and photos, Lipowski also tracked down several relatives of the first commanders of the base, who provided more material for the book.

The establishment of MacDill is really a story that can serve as a primer for the vast expansion of the Army Air Forces preceding U.S. entry into World War II. It is a story repeated hundreds of times during the war as new bases were built all over the United States. It is part of the story of the tireless efforts of Hap Arnold and others to provide America with an Air Force before the country found itself in another shooting war--not to repeat the experience of 1917 when we entered a war with virtually no modern military force.

MacDill--or Southeastern Air Base, as it was originally known--was a result of the 1935 Wilcox National Defense Act that authorized seven new bases for the Air Corps (five flying bases and two depots). …