Vincent Air Force Base
Vincent Air Force Base (1942-1962) - A United States Air Force Base first established in 1942 as Yuma Army Air Field at Yuma, Yuma County, Arizona. Renamed Vincent Air Force Base in 1949. Closed in 1962 and turned over to the U.S. Navy, became Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
Pre World War II
In 1928, Colonel Benjamin F. Fly recommended that the federal government purchase some 640 acres near Yuma for use by both military and civilian aircraft. Temporary dirt runways were installed and the field was called Fly Field presumably after Colonel Fly.
World War II
The outbreak of World War II transformed the civilian Fly Field into the Yuma Army Airfield. Construction of facilities began on 1 June 1942 and was activated on 15 Dec 1942
Yuma AAF was a single-engine flight training school that began in operation in January 1943 with AT-6 Texans aircraft. Multi-engine flight training began in 1944 with B-26 Marauders. Flight training ended on 23 Apr 1945 and gunnery training on 31 May 1945.
The base was closed on 1 Nov 1945 after the end of the war.
Post World War II
On 1 Jan 1954, Yuma County Airport was reactivated by the United States Air Force Air Defense Command (ADC) as a training facility. On 24 Aug 1954, the Yuma County Airport was renamed Yuma Air Force Base. Yuma AFB was renamed on 13 Oct 1956 as Vincent Air Force Base.
The base was named for Brig. Gen. Clinton "Casey" Vincent. Vincent was one of Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault's top airmen in the China-Burma Theater and the second youngest General Officer in USAF history, who received his star at the age of 29. Vincent was also said to be the inspiration for the main character in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates. Vincent died of a heart attack on 5 Jul 1955 at the age of 40 after his first day as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Air Defense Command (ADC).
In 1956 the Air Defense Command established a long-range Radar site on the only hilly portion of Vincent Air Force Base. Initially, the radar site was a manual operation designated as site SM-162. The site began operation as a semi-automated SAGE system site on 1 May 1961 initially feeding digital data to the Luke SAGE Direction Center DC-21 as site Z-162. With the handover of Vincent AFB to the Marines in 1962 the Air Force built a replacement radar site off base as a separate entity but it was abandoned before completion. The abandoned radar towers and equipment buildings are still visible (2022). See a separate page for the Yuma Air Force Station.
Vincent Air Force Base was transferred to the Navy on 1 Jan 1959 and the Radar Site on Vincent AFB was renamed Yuma Air Force Station. On 20 July 1962, the base became Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
Visited: 10 Apr 2022