Bryan Army Air Field
The records suggest that nearly every man, woman and child living in the Brazos County area turned out for the dedication of the Bryan Army Air Field on June 6, 1943. An estimated crowd of 25,000 people gathered at the base, located along State Highway 21, west of the City of Bryan. With the advent of U.S. involvement in World War II, local business leaders and politicians waged their own skirmish to bring the base and its economic windfall to central Texas.
As part of the 77th Flying Training Wing of the U.S. Army Air Forces, some 5,000 pilots were trained in instrumentation flying at the facility during the war. In fact, Bryan Field was home to the Army Air Forces' Instrumentation Instructors' School under the command of aviation pioneer Col. Joseph Duckworth.
Those who supported the base's training mission included thousands of civilian workers and nearly two dozen Women Airforce Service Pilots, more commonly called "WASP." There was also a large contingent of African American soldiers providing a range of support services by day, but who were forced to live in segregated barracks at night.
Before war's end, however, three pilots of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen were certified in instrumentation flying at Bryan Field.
Click on a link below to learn more about this period of RELLIS Campus history.