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Presque Isle Army Airfield

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

In 1941, the federal government appropriated the local airport, establishing Presque Isle Army Airfield for planes bound to and from Great Britain. Activated as an Army Air Corps military airfield on 15 September, Presque Isle became a vital air transport installation and the City found itself a busy war center.

North Atlantic Transport Route 1945
Together with Dow AAF in Bangor, the mission of Presque Isle was the delivery of Lend-Lease aircraft to the United Kingdom and as an Embarkation point for overseas movement of Army Air Forces personnel and equipment.

The first troops arrived in Presque Isle to start establishing the base on 15 September 1941. At that time, no military facilities existed and the men lived in tents and trailers.

The main Army Air Force unit at Presque Isle was the 23d AAF Ferrying Wing, assigned to the Air Transport Command. The unit was activated on 12 June 1942 and conducted aircraft ferrying to Europe and other transport operations. At the height of base activity during World War II, more aircraft flights flew from Presque Isle (via Greenland, Iceland or directly from Newfoundland) to Europe than from any other American base.

In July 1944, the mission of Presque Isle AAF was changed to that of a port of debarkation and caring for casualties from the front in France.

With the end of combat in Europe, beginning in June 1945, troops scheduled for redeployment from Europe to the South Pacific began arriving for training bases in the United States. With the end of the war in August 1945, this mission was terminated.

The aerial port at Presque Isle AAF was officially closed on 18 September and the airfield was de-activated on 20 September 1945 with the end of the war. The 716th Army Air Force Base Unit was assigned to the airfield with a mission of winterizing the buildings and storing equipment with the facility placed in reserve status, and was used as a communications facility.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Aircraft

  • 42-97194 'Good Pickin'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/2/44; Kearney 24/2/44; Presque Is 11/3/44; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-O] Horham 11/3/44; with G.M. Jackman force landed B-53 Merville, Belg., 10/5/45; with Lt Henderson force landed A-70 Laon, France 20/5/45; 114m Returned to the USA...

  • 41-2410 B-17E

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Salt Lake Strategic Arms Depot (SAD) 12-Jan-41; with Jim Dubose force landed Ft Fouglas, UT 21-Nov-41; Assigned March 28-Dec-41; Langley 11-Jan-42; Jacksonville, FL 9-May-42; Presque Isle, ME 19-Mar-43; Occident 11-May-43; Mitchell 6-Jun-43;...

  • 41-24467

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Ogden 21/7/42; force landed Hill Fd, Ut 19/8/42 with Ralph Dissaro; damaged at Cheyenne airport with Warren Dean 7/9/42 when brakes failed and it struck a passenger DC-3 owned by Utd Air Lines, rep; Assigned 422BS/305BG Presque Is 19/10/42;...

  • 41-24500 Annie Freeze

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Ogden 7/8/42; force landed Billings, MT 27/4/42 with Henry Blomquist; Scott 15/10/42; Presque Is 19/2/43; Assigned 535BS/381BG [MS-Y] Ridgewell, Ex. 27/5/43 ANNIE FREEZE; ...

  • 41-24525 What's Cookin' Doc?

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 422BS/305BG [JJ-O] Presque Is 22/9/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/9/42; transferred 547BS/384BG [SO-Y] Grafton Underwood 14/10/43; Missing in Action Ludwigshafen 7/1/44 with Walter Ernest Garner, Co-pilot: Philip Bern, Bombardier: James Daigle,...

  • 41-24532

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 422BS/305BG Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; transferred 414BS/97BG Polebrook 4/11/42; Maison Blanche 13/11/42; Tafaraoui. 22/11/42; Biskra 25/12/42; Missing in Action Bizerte 26/12/42 with Claude Lawrence. A/c damaged by...

  • 41-24533 Boom Town

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    The ship was 'Boom Town', 41-24533 a B-17 which got its name back in the ...

  • 41-24553 Cherry

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24553 'Cherry' was assigned to Syracuse 16-Sep-42;Presque Isle 19-Oct-42; Grafton Underwood 25-Oct-42; Missing in Action, 6-Dec-42 on a mission to bomb the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive factory at Lille, France. Shot down by Uffz Schnell (3...

  • 41-24564 PATCHES

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 365BS/305BG [XK-W] Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 25/10/42; Missing in Action Schweinfurt 17/8/43 with Doug Mutschler, Co-pilot: Ed Carter, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Carlton Boberg (3 Killed in Action), Navigator: Bill Bagwell...

  • 41-24572

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 364BS/305BG Presque Is 19/10/42; Grafton Underwood 22/10/42; transferred 414BS/97BG Polebrook 4/11/42; Maison Blanche 13/11/42; Tafaraoui 22/11/42; Biskra 25/12/42; Chateau-du-Rhumel 8/2/43; 346BS/99BG Depienne 24/11/43; {20m}; depot 3/44;...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2018 08:49:49 Lucy May Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Connected aircraft records that have "Presque Is" in their biography fields.

Full link for this record's biography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presque_Isle_Air_Force_Base

Date Contributor Update
26 March 2018 20:09:01 TennyBelle Changes to known as
Sources

added to the nickname

Date Contributor Update
26 March 2018 19:50:24 TennyBelle Created entry with name, known as, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date, closure date and history
Sources

Presque Isle Airport history/wikipage

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